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In the late '80s and '90s, when teen fare was homogeneous, Sassy magazine,a teen cult favorite,was the cool new kid on the block, speaking to girls on their level, giving them an in to alternative pop culture while acting as confidant and wise dispenser of advice. New York–based writers Jesella and Meltzer were part of the Sassy demographic and decided that a "love letter" to the publication was in order. The result is a behind-the-scenes, warts-and-all look at the magazine's office culture, including sections on the glossy's coverage of feminism, celebrity and girl culture. Struggles with advertisers, publishers, religious conservatives and other detractors are described in detail (in a very us-against-them tone), allowing insight into how editorial content was developed. Much of the book is written in a cooler-than-thou tone, often at the expense of every other teen magazine on the market and of the typical American girls who read them. This attitude arguably contributed to Sassy's demise in 1996. In the end, the book—written in a style reminiscent of the magazine itself—is a testament to a publication that changed the face of teen media. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Around the time you read that a publicist for Tiffani Amber-Thiessen once accused Sassy magazine of 'terrorist tactics,' you realize that this book isn't simply a smart and funny ode to a smart and funny magazine; it's the record of a short-lived insurrection against a powerful social code, one that tells young women what they're supposed to think and how they're supposed to act. (Alex Ross)
There are people--and I'm one of them--who define their adolescence as pre-Sassy and post-Sassy, who found a respite from the dominant culture of proms and mall-crawling in its pages, and who mourned its death like it was that of a best friend. For us, Jesella and Meltzer offer up some much-needed closure, as well as an engaging snapshot of a time when teen culture was full of vivid, inspired, yet-to-be-co-opted cool. (Andi Ziesler, editorial/creative director of Bitch magazine)
A page-turning romp through the secretive and cut-throat world of teen journalism. Sassy was the one magazine that attempted to subvert the usual diet of mind control and hypnosis employed by its establishment peers. And while she may have destroyed herself in a fit of confused self criticism, she left a generation of precocious women in her wake. (Ian Svenonius, The Original "Sassiest Boy in America" (not to mention former front man of Nation of Ulysses and author of The Psychic Soviet))
In its brief life, Sassy offered teenage girls a new way of seeing themselves--and their parents, perhaps, a new way of understanding them. It was very much a product of its historical moment and, as this insightful narrative suggests, Sassy, like all truly significant magazines, clearly helped shape the social realities of its time. (David Abrahamson, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University)
Sassy really did change my life. If I hadn't read the magazine as a confused pre-teen, I doubt I'd be the person I am today and I doubt I'd have started Venus Zine. I always wanted to know what really happened behind the scenes at Sassy and now I do. This book provides the inside scoop on the rise and fall of one of America's most important publications. (Amy Schroeder, editor and publisher Venus Zine)
It's a rise-and-fall narrative of a departed magazine that tapped into the zeitgeist, a tale of a particular cultural moment, and of daring that has since become commonplace. Its progenitors have gone on to more prominent planets of the media universe, and yet they long for those halcyon days. No, it's not Spy: The Funny Years, but rather next season's media self-obsession: Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer's How Sassy Changed My Life. (Women's Wear Daily)
Sassy was always more than just a teen magazine--it was a beacon for outcasts, feminists, and the rest of the people who went on to create the early 90s indie culture. How Sassy Changed My Life is just as interesting, opinionated, and funny as its subject. Read it and weep again for a magazine that, for many of us, is a long lost friend. (Jennifer Baumgardner, co-author of Manifesta and author of Look Both Ways)
"An entertaining and thought-provoking look at one of the most influential magazines of the 90s. I felt like I was back in those cramped offices, surrounded by the funniest, sharpest women in New York." (Blake Nelson, author of Girl and Paranoid Park)
I loved this magazine in the 90's. It was great to learn more about it & why it went awayPublished 4 months ago by A.Henry
I thought I was the only one who had a love affair with Sassy. It's refreshing--even in my 40s now--to know I wasn't alone. Thanks for the memories and the behind-the-scenes dish.Published 12 months ago by Rich Melin
What a great book, about the greatest magazine ever. Total nostalgia trip, and makes me want to re-read every single issue.Published 13 months ago by Lady La
You'll wish you kept every issue--for yourself, for your interns (who are stuck with crappy magazines now) for your nieces and nephews (boys, too! Read morePublished on December 14, 2010 by Phesant Farm
How Sassy Changed My Life is a well-researched and fun biography of Sassy magazine. Through interviews with former staffers, celebrities and readers, it chronicles the rise and... Read morePublished on January 10, 2010 by Elizabeth Ray
As others have said before me...what a letdown! This book didn't come through with the kind of nostalgic, sentimental journey I was expecting. Read morePublished on July 5, 2009 by Angela M
I really think that this book could have been really amazing: the concept was great and the subject was really well-researched. Read morePublished on February 2, 2009 by superkid268
Seriously... I *CHERISH* Sassy Magazine.. all of the back issues, xeroxes of back issues... It did change my life... Read morePublished on October 5, 2007 by S. Davitt-Style
Before female adolescents in America had Oakland/Portland's Bitch or Chicago's VenusZine for feminism 101, there was New York City's Sassy. Read morePublished on June 30, 2007 by Elevate Difference