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It Chooses You [Hardcover]

by Miranda July
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 15, 2011 9781936365012 978-1936365012 First Edition (US) First Printing
In the summer of 2009, Miranda July was struggling to finish writing the screenplay for her much-anticipated second film. During her increasingly long lunch breaks, she began to obsessively read the PennySaver, the iconic classifieds booklet that reached everywhere and seemed to come from nowhere. Who was the person selling the “Large leather Jacket, $10”? It seemed important to find out—or at least it was a great distraction from the screenplay.

Accompanied by photographer Brigitte Sire, July crisscrossed Los Angeles to meet a random selection of PennySaver sellers, glimpsing thirteen surprisingly moving and profoundly specific realities, along the way shaping her film, and herself, in unexpected ways.

Elegantly blending narrative, interviews, and photographs with July’s off-kilter honesty and deadpan humor, this is a story of procrastination and inspiration, isolation and connection, and grabbing hold of the invisible world.

Frequently Bought Together

It Chooses You + No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories + Learning to Love You More
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Editorial Reviews


Voted a "Can't Miss Read for December 2011" by Oprah Magazine.

"July, an artist, writer, performer and film-maker who creates work 'about people trying to connect in one way or another and the importance of that' has moved from casual wondering to something substantive and extraordinary."
—Hermione Hoby, the Guardian

About the Author

Miranda July is the author of No One Belongs Here More Than You, winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Paris Review. July wrote, directed, and starred in the film Me and You and Everyone We Know, which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Her second film, The Future, was released this summer.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's, Irregulars; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781936365012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936365012
  • ASIN: 1936365014
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind December 12, 2011
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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26 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite January 9, 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, revealing, truthy and poignant June 11, 2012
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Anything Miranda does is gold.
This is definitely a pre read to watching The Future. Miranda July is so creative and it's interesting to know that the old man in the movie The Future was someone she actually met... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jill
1.0 out of 5 stars Predatory abuse of power
This book is so unethical I cannot begin to explain it. The author is just consuming what she wants from the interviewee's lives. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tania Aparicio
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, honest, quintessential July
Miranda July is honest as always as she rakes on her journey to rediscover humanity, connection, and the courage to see beauty as she finishes the screenplay, and production of The... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joseph Dick
5.0 out of 5 stars i love miranda july ferociously
miranda july's brain is one of my favorite places to visit. i sat down with this book and did not get up again until i was finished with it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tami J Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars July does it again
And this time it's for real. Read this book that substantially moved me on my Kindle. Bought three hardback copies, two for gifts and one for myself.
Published 7 months ago by John Trygve Tollefsen
5.0 out of 5 stars It chooses You, by Miranda July
I really enjoyed this unique Book. WhAT a great concept. I sell on the internet, Some of the pro pleb that bought from me
are worth telling a story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dana Weems
5.0 out of 5 stars Could NOT stop reading it!
I just finished reading this book and wanted to write about it, while the feelings are still fresh. I sat and read the entire book in one afternoon. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Growing Up Little
5.0 out of 5 stars :)
Very good read. Quick and entertaining throughout the entire book. Very emotional. Enjoyed very much. Would recommend to any July fan or short story reader.
Published 8 months ago by Brittni
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Humanitarian Journey
I loved the sweet simplicity, yet introspective nature of this read. July took us into the lives of ordinary people, often people on the normal fringe of society just simply... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I had just seen Miranda's movie, The Future", and loved reading this book which talks about her process. I think she's Brilliant!
Published 9 months ago by J. Pagel
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