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Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom Hardcover – February 14, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Sara Benincasa’s comedy is uplifting, deeply personal, and very funny. As difficult as her agoraphobia is to manage, she’s pulled through it—beautifully. Agorafabulous! manages to make you laugh even as she’s peeing into cereal bowls and hiding them under her bed.” (Rob Delaney)

“Agorafabulous! is laugh-out loud funny, even as it’s taking on deadly serious issues.” (Feministing.com)

“Funny and unflinchingly honest…. Benincasa discovers her gift for comedy and storytelling, and finds tranquility.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A blisteringly funny yet affecting debut memoir about a young woman’s struggle to overcome panic disorder and agoraphobia. Comedian Benincasa recounts her adolescent devolution into a ‘full-on, obsessive, cowering, trembling agoraphobe’ [who] discover[s], by accident, the healing power of stand-up comedy. Fabulously quirky and outrageous.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Hilarious. . . . With expert pacing, the stand-up comic mixes humor and poignant anecdotes from her teen, college, and young adult life. As her empowering tale makes clear, she survives and thrives (with a little help from family, friends, and Prozac).” (Booklist)

“Sara’s story of overcoming a debilitating fear is told with such honesty and hilarity that all I want to do now is hang out with her in a tiny room and not let her leave until she tells me more stories.” (Sarah Colonna, author of Life as I Blow It)

“If I ever get thrown in a mental institution, my only hope would be having Sara as a cellmate. Her funny and poignant perspective makes Agorafabulous! a stellar debut.” (Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof)

“Sara’s comedy is uplifting, deeply personal, and very funny. As difficult as her agoraphobia is to manage, she’s pulled through it beautifully. Agorafabulous! manages to make you laugh even as she’s peeing into cereal bowls and hiding them under her bed.” (Rob Delaney, comedian and columnist, Vice magazine)

“With storytelling that is hilarious, honest, raw, and absurd, Agorafabulous! puts you in the body and mind of an extraordinary individual who accepts and embraces her full self.” (Baratunde Thurston, author of How to Be Black)

“Sara’s blunt and quirkily humorous take on the crippling anxiety that held her hostage in her own home will have you laughing out loud one minute and wanting to hug her the next.” (Kambri Crews, author of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir)

“The abridged list of things Sara Benincasa has been afraid of includes leaving her home, having a wet head, driving…and sex. But her memoir…dissects all of these fears with so much verve and humor, you’ll be amazed at how much fun it can be to read about such difficult circumstances.” (Bust Magazine)

“Benincasa informs and entertains while relaying this story about mental illness. Without glossing over the seriousness of her ordeal, she mines it for laughter, which, someone once said, is the best medicine.” (Penthouse)

“Often poignant and always funny…. [Sara Benincasa’s] matter–of–fact, unselfconscious delivery allows readers to be entertained without having to feel guilty about it; further, it may just inspire them to make a few changes of their own. [A] story of triumph over adversity…you’ll be better for having read it.” (Examiner.com)

From the Back Cover

“I subscribe to the notion that if you can laugh at the shittiest moments in your life,you can transcend them. And if other people can laugh at your awful shit as well, then I guess you can officially call yourself a comedian.”

In Boston, a college student fears leaving her own room—even to use the toilet. In Pennsylvania, a meek personal assistant finally confronts a perpetually enraged gay spiritual guru. In Texas, a rookie high school teacher deals with her male student’s unusually, er, hard personal problem. Sara Benincasa has been that terrified student, that embattled employee, that confused teacher—and so much more. Her hilarious memoir chronicles her attempts to forge a wonderfully weird adulthood in the midst of her lifelong struggle with agoraphobia, depression, and unruly hair.

Relatable, unpretentious, and unsentimental, Agorafabulous! celebrates eccentricity, resilience, and the power of humor to light up even the darkest corners of our lives. (There are also some sexy parts, but they’re really awkward. Like really, really awkward.)


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062024418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062024411
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

Sara Benincasa is a comedian and author of the books "Great" and "Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom. "Agorafabulous!" is based on her critically acclaimed solo show about panic attacks and agoraphobia. Her comedy has won praise from the Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Sara has a degree in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. She has an M.A. in Secondary School Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. She travels frequently to speak to college students about mental health awareness.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sara Benincasa's memoir offers not only a major dose of levity, but also an accomplished piece of black humor. For someone dedicated to mental health education who's been a comedy fan since I started listening to Bill Hicks in high school, there couldn't be a better inspirational book.

This memoir ain't your grandma's inspiration. It skips merrily along while acknowledging, in prose that truly NOTICES Sicily and New York and the culinary oddities of the suburban northeast and the knickknacks in people's rooms, that human bodies and minds are fragile machines that creak along in the short term but can demonstrate great resilience over the long haul by drawing on whatever combinations of luck and courage are available.

The voice of New Jersey's best comic writer, the early Philip Roth that the author cites as an inspiration, is in evidence here, but without the joyless-sex-fueled nihilism that came to characterize the Roth/Updike/Mailer generation. As David Foster Wallace points out in Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, we middle-class Gen-Xers and Millennials who read are done with all that Great Male Narcissist stuff. Agorafabulous! says, Let's smile at our dysfunctions and bad one-night stands, grab the world by the balls, and see if we can't make other people's lives a little bit more livable by laughing hard and working harder.

Hence the book foregoes both self-indulgent anger and wordplay for its own sake in favor of relatable techniques like a table of phobias, smoothie recipes, and zany anachronisms.
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Format: Hardcover
Sarah Benincasa is a stand-up comedian, writer, blogger, and podcast host. As well, she has a one-woman show, titled appropriately "Agorafabulous!" She is also agoraphobic, and if you have a hard time putting those facts together in one person, so do I.

I am agoraphobic, but I prefer alternate terms such as "recovering agoraphobic" or, even better, anxiety disorder. Early in the book, Benincasa defines agoraphobia: "agora" from the Greek for market place; "phobia" from the Greek for fear. It is indeed a fear of the market place, of crowds. But it becomes fear of fear. If you have a panic attack, say, driving a car, you aren't about to drive a car again for fear of that heart-pounding, breathless fight-or-flight reaction, the sure conviction that you're dying. "Fear built on fear," she writes, "begets all kinds of little falsehoods."

Benincasa lists the things that, at her worst, she was afraid of: leaving home, having a wet head, driving, being a passenger in a car, New York City, Lincoln and Holland tunnels, flying (Oh, do I know that one!), taking the bus or subway, vomiting, sex, being pregnant, having an abortion, and God. She reached her low point in her senior year in college when she was literally afraid to leave her bed, foregoing needs for food and personal hygiene (take that one where you will). Through parental intervention, therapy and meds, she clawed her way back to a normal life, though she followed several blind alleys before she ends up finding her life work--as a comedian. It's the classic story: you have to reach the low point before you can begin to recover.
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By Ruth on February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read through this book in 5 hours with barely a bathroom break as soon as it downloaded to my kindle. A truly hilarious read, it is not only painfully honest, it's so laugh out loud hilarious that I kept stopping to read paragraphs to my fiancé.

If you've ever had a moment of self doubt, any kind of mental illness, you love someone who has a mental illness, or you just want to read a mind blowingly funny book, download this right now.

I dare you to get through it without crying.
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Format: Hardcover
The Good Stuff

The description of the history of Sicily will have you laughing your ass off
A self deprecating honest look at life with a mental illness in a hopeful yet extremely hilarious way - this to me is hugely important and should be required readings for those dealing with these types of issues - things will get better no matter what
Doesn't blame her illness on anyone and doesn't go go all self-pity about it - just honest, straight to the point and did I mention OMG hilarious
Love the blender recipes
Her stories about her trip to Sicily as a teen, her boss at the Blessed Sanctuary and her trip to Planned Parenthood will have you laughing and cringing at the same time
Impressed with her bravery to come out with some very personal stories
She doesn't hold back with her recovery - she makes you know it was very slow, painful and it never completely went away but she can live and most importantly laugh at it which is incredibly healthy in my humble opinion

The Not So Good Stuff

I had a hard time with the jump from chapter to chapter - left me a little disorientated at first (only lasts for a sec though)
The many mentions of the bowl of pee grossed me out
You will snort out loud on the bus and people will stare (why oh why can I not learn that reading funny/sad books on the bus is not a good idea for someone who wants to be ignored during commute)

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The island was independent for, oh, six seconds, at which point the Kingdom of Aragon (not Aragorn, the foxiest dude in the Lord of the Rings) kindly stepped in."

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