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Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked Hardcover – February 12, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374219079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374219079
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This memoir-as-cautionary-tale starts innocently enough in 2003 with established novelist and poet Lasdun (Seven Lies, 2005) teaching a fiction workshop at a New York City college. His students include an unassuming though strikingly talented Iranian woman in her thirties. Slowly, even as teacher and student warm to one another over a novel she has begun to write, their relationship begins to unspool, the student pressing ever harder for a romantic relationship, while the happily married professor, though flattered by the advances, demurs with equal force. If her e-mails tell the age-old story of unrequited love, devolving from early girlish innocence (“I’m sorry if I got screwy on you. Please laugh.”) to embitterment (“I also believe you are on medication instead of dealing with why you and most Jewish people are sadistic”), they’re married to a technology that can spread a lie worldwide in a nanosecond, while offering little cover for anyone so defamed. Lasdun delivers a thoughtful account of what went horribly wrong. --Alan Moores

From Bookforum

Rushdie had the Ayatollah, Job had God, and James Ladsun has Nasreen—at least that's what he calls her in Give Me Everything You Have—the former creative-writing student who harassed him for five years and is apparently still at it. As Ladsun remarks mordantly, she made stalking into something of an art form. Ladsun's misfortune was to encounter someone whose obsessions he ignited, and who refused to let him off the hook for it. Usually, we call such people crazy ("borderline personality" was one informal diagnosis here), but as much as Nasreen's projections derailed him, Ladsun is too attuned to the difficulties of libidinal self-management—his own and hers—to let himself entirely off the hook, either. Ladsun has written a perversely lovely account of what happens when one of them manages to burrow far too deeply into her teacher's imaginative life and make mayhem. —Laura Kipnis

Customer Reviews

She's not going to stop now, why should she?
This book fails to chronicle the experience of being stalked in any dramatic or gripping way as the title seems to promise.
Barbara C.
This book starts out well, but... Where to start?

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Veronica Sawyer on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an honest and powerful story. In the face of such undeserved torment and hateful aggression, Mr. Lasdun turns introspective and generously shares with the reader the details of his mental undoing and also, in writing this book, the galvanizing steps he takes to right the wrong. I work in law enforcement and have encountered this type of stalker: the wayward, lonely, largely disregarded social misfit who has nothing to lose by attacking the successful and who believes, perversely, that in some way this endeavor entitles her to take credit for her victims' accomplishments. The only thing greater than her self-serving desire to harm her prey is the bottomless pit of nihilism and self-loathing that forms her personality. The closest she will ever come to having a life is stalking someone who has life, and she knows it.
It would be so easy for Mr. Lasdun to simply be angry. He did nothing to provoke this aggravatingly personal assault. He was kind to this pathetic woman, even after she became a monumental pain in the ass. He related to the part of he that was a writer and when presented with her work, provided insightful, helpful commentary.
It's profoundly satisfying to see a "victim" (in the law enforcement context) face their accuser, defend themselves, and transform the experience into something progressive and illuminating. The publication of this book is the author's day in court, probably the only one he will ever have. Mr. Lasdun learns about himself in this ordeal - how much he loves his wife and kids, how grateful he is for his trusted colleagues and peers. One can't help put ponder the arbitrariness of the whole vulnerable all of us are to random attack in a world where internet-facilitated identity fraud is so common. There are anti-stalking laws on the books in a majority of jurisdictions now - hopefully this fact will give the reader, and Mr. Lasdun, a measure of solace. In any case, do not miss this book.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Anne on February 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an excellent book for anyone in academe interested in the subject of stalking. It is not, however a straightforward book about stalking. This is a complex literary meditation on the author's own experience through the lenses of various texts and various stages of the author's own awareness. It is all interwoven quite artfully, and yet there is a lingering sense of profound disorder.

At the outset, one expects the stalker to be profoundly disturbed. She is. By mid-book, however, one realizes that the author himself might well benefit from some therapy. The agonizing and obsessing brought on by the harassment seems to push Lasdun into a tangle of over-analysis. There is indeed a cautionary tale in here about lingering in friendships with flirtatious and possibly unstable others. Many readers will themselves recall unwise decisions of their own, or relationships that ended badly. Few, however, will have the story Lasdun has to tell. The abuse is constant and raw, truly nightmarish in its tone and intensity.

The book explores the idea of boundaries between people, boundaries of emotion, thought, and identity. The text itself has a wandering way, its own disregard for boundaries. The story is told once, then revisited, and then told with allegory. It is the perception of the persecuted, the one straining to understand the onslaught of abuse directed at him from seemingly demonic forces.

This is not a linear story told dispassionately. If you are looking for a clinical account of stalking, with tips and warning signs, keep looking. If you are willing to befriend Lasdun yourself and walk with him through this experience, then it is a compelling read.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By EJ on February 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are thinking about buying this book, then you are surely aware of its foundation. The author, James Lasdun--a writer, a teacher--is being stalked by a former student whom he calls Nasreen. This is not a novel, it is a literary memoir. Thus, I feel compelled to state that this book is most definitely not a pulp thriller or a true-crime story of suspense, as some of the marketing material may imply. This is a deep introspective investigation of how one feels when a nefarious character burrows into the psyche and pops the protective sphere in which they live. Comparisons to literary figures, both fictional and real, abound in Lasdun's quest to understand what is happening to him, and why.

At the beginning of the book, it is clear that Lasdun mowed down some warning signs from Nasreen as if piloting an Abrams tank, but then again, it is easy to say this with the benefit of hindsight. It would be simple to say that he opened the windows of his fortress to allow access to the toxic cloud. But this is to misunderstand the insidious nature of the stalker. The ease with which Nasreen first portrayed herself as "friend" by morphing into exactly that which Lasdun wanted to see is merely the commencement of her shapeshifting manipulation. What happens from there on out is nothing short of chilling. Lasdun's comparison of Nasreen's effect on him to voodoo or a curse was, to me, brilliant. The horrifying alteration of his life can be felt with every word; the helplessness and frustration are manifest. Having been the subject of an internet stalker myself, I can understand his fear and second-guessing to at least a small degree.
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