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It Chooses You Hardcover – December 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Laden with offbeat, emotionally isolated characters...mordantly funny - Vogue on No One Belongs Here More Than You

About the Author

Miranda July is a filmmaker, artist and writer. Her videos, performances, and web-based projects have been presented at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and in two Whitney Biennials. July wrote, directed and starred in the film Me and You and Everyone We Knew (2005), which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Her fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Harper's, and The New Yorker; her collection of stories No One Belongs Here More Than You (Canongate, 2007), won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. July created the participatory website learningtloveyoumore with artist Harrell Fletcher, and a companion book was published in 2007 (Prestel). Raised in Berkeley, California, she currently lives in Los Angeles. Her second feature film, The Future, was released in the summer of 2011. Her website is

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857862545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857862549
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,021,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Tal Rico on November 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before buying this book, I think you have to consider that it is inherently weaker when viewed as a stand-alone work. I think the full weight of the book (and title) is realized when it is taken as a companion piece to the author's recent film "The Future."

That being said, I think this book is definitely worth buying but also, definitely worth reading after seeing the movie. But, in short, this book is an eccentric, and somewhat enviable, exercise in procrastination. Miranda July, in an effort to avoid working on a looming screenplay, pushes herself beyond the normal, typically fruitless and non-constructive StumbleUpon sessions most of us fill our time with. She picks up a copy of the local PennySaver and looks to the classifieds for some sort of cosmic understanding through the mundane or curious items listed and the people who are selling them. A narrative ties all of the interviews together and lends some insight as to what compels the author to continue conducting interviews.
Because it's mostly handled with wit and saddled with the author's neuroses it doesn't come across as pedantic or preachy, she only seems to be looking for some practical enlightenment. Really, though, it's more a story of the journey than anything she may have learned through it. Still, like all of Miranda July's work, it feels poignant and significant and I can never quite say why. I do know that I feel somehow fulfilled whenever I read her books, watch her movies or browse her website.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Sara on December 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There is one thing I've learned while reading Miranda July's stories, they are all 'one of a kind'.

It didn't take me long to finish this beautiful little book, "It Chooses You", but once I did I wanted to read it all over again. These are the poignant stories of people who could live right next door to you, or maybe they're about you, yourself.

Another thing I learned, Miranda faces realities in her creative mind that most of us avoid looking at. She's witty, she's humble, she's honest....and she makes me cry.....and I can't give you the answers to her posed questions about life, other than to say, you have to read Miranda July's stories to find your own answers to this conundrum we call life....she is definitely one of a kind, as is this book.
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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Teragram on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I eagerly anticipated this book's arrival to my local library for weeks--because the concept is intriguing. I was disappointed, however, with the execution of this concept. The author seemed far more interested in how each encounter could be used to tell the audience something about herself, rather than telling each individual's story. Many times it seemed like the author enjoyed portraying these characters negatively....for example, the woman holding the small feline, photographed with her belly hanging out...I bet she would have liked the author to have used a photo that did not expose her belly. Or for the author not to devote a page and a half making it clear that she was disgusted by the ambrosia salad she spent hours making. What could have been an opportunity to tell the stories of these individuals who placed ads in the PennySaver turned out to be a collection of unkind vignettes that illuminated very little about the individuals interviewed, and revealed little of substance about the author. These are real people. I hope none of those featured in this book pick up a copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Hurdelbrink on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Miranda July published a one-page memoir in The New Yorker some years ago, a piece about the summer she made a short film featuring a hopeless would-be Olympian titled "Atlanta". Solely on the basis of that, I read her collection "No One Belongs Here More Than You", a startling and intimate group of calmly narrated stories about young women in awkward, difficult and sometimes frightening predicaments.

"It Chooses You" is a mixture of memoir, confessional, meditation and non-fiction. In it the author, and the reader, experience awkward, difficult and sometimes frightening predicaments. She tells the story of her struggles with a film script. As a form of procrastination, and perhaps to avoid the prospect of failure, she has the idea to call strangers who are selling cheap cast-off possessions, and pay them to be interviewed and photographed. She discovers, and reveals to us, a collection of people who are genuine and substantive, deficient and bizarre. Most seem to live in poverty, and their humble but distinctive and unique lives momentarily become real to us. Occurring in 2009, these profiles of people on the economic fringe are a sobering look at very real American lives that are not the stuff of myth.

Miranda's reflections on these encounters, and insights both literary and psychological that are sprinkled throughout, are the connective tissue that hold the book together.

After one man explains his financial trading techniques to her in jargon-filled mumbo jumbo she says: "I'm not especially terrific with numbers, so it was as if he'd just thrown some confetti in the air and called it words.
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