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Acceptance: A Memoir Hardcover – August 2, 2022

4.5 out of 5 stars 324 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of August 2022: This memoir is a knock-out—and will not only keep you turning the pages as you root for Emi Nietfeld who didn’t have it easy as a kid, but will change the way you think about the voices we listen to and the voices we don’t, and the paradox of what help is acceptable to ask for. In some ways, it feels so unsatisfyingly trite to explain that Acceptance is about a young brilliant girl who, because of her hoarding, mentally unstable, and manipulative mother, is thrown into psych wards and foster care for her teenage years. Left to deal with eating disorders, cutting, addiction, and homelessness, it's too easy to say that no adult trusts Emi to rise from her trauma, let alone to go to an Ivy League school. But it’s true, and her account of her lone fight—for an education, for her dreams—is gutting and alive. This is one of the best memoirs I’ve read this year. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor

Review

One of NPR's Best Books of the Year

“Acceptance
is no simple story of transcendence, and instead complicates the narrative of pulling one’s self up by the bootstraps. It is page-turning, raw, and darkly funny.” BuzzFeed

“A raw, insightful memoir—from childhood neglect to Harvard and Big Tech—tenderly baring the underbelly of what we call ‘success.’”
People

Acceptance isn’t a phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes tale, and for precisely this reason it’s a must-read. Instead, the memoir refuses silver linings and serves as a necessary corrective to the gospel of ‘grit.’” —NPR, Best Books of 2022
 
“If
Educated was a book that shook you, you need to pick up Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld . . . It’s an ideal book club read.” —Iowa Public Radio

“Gripping, inspiring, and darkly humorous.”
Philadelphia Inquirer, "Best New Books of the Month"

“In breaking from the Cinderella-story convention of social mobility memoirs,
Acceptance achieves exceptional candor and beauty.” The Cleveland Review of Books

“Acceptance is gripping, fascinating, funny and thought-provoking . . . Nietfeld’s book and her life are extraordinary accomplishments, and she’s wonderful company.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Remarkable.”Daily Hives 22 Best Books of 2022

“A narrative with all the propulsion of a novel . . . Acceptance will draw inevitable comparisons to Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle, for good reason. . . . Acceptance is a gripping, urgent memoir in an era when social mobility feels beset from all sides. Nietfeld recasts the myth of resilience as a veil for society’s failure to empower vulnerable individuals. And in her pursuit of healing, she offers the hope that even in our darkest moments, there is a future—and within it, the ability to be fully present.” The Southern Review of Books

“Nietfeld’s memoir offers an absorbing and clear-eyed view into her dysfunctional childhood—including living with her mother, who was a hoarder; navigating homelessness and foster care; and her own mental health struggles—and how she made her way out (for better or worse) onto the other side to achieve societal ‘success.’” The Millions’ "Most Anticipated of August"

“Heart-pounding. . . . Nietfeld’s raw resilience and candor will keep readers enthralled until the very last page. This hits hard.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Nietfeld’s] impressive debut is a radical probe into our society’s insistence on resiliency through unthinkable struggles, leading readers to reexamine long-held definitions of success.”
Booklist

“A complex meditation on desperation, leveraging personal pain, and how the drive to achieve can be a gift and a pathology simultaneously. . . . A powerful memoir of overcoming adversity that also effectively interrogates the concept of meritocracy.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“[A] captivating page-turner. . . . She expertly describes the determined mindset with which she tackled seemingly unrealistic goals while also battling almost impossible setbacks; readers will find themselves rooting for Nietfeld. . . . A gripping firsthand account of a teenager navigating homelessness and the foster care system. It should appeal to many and may be of particular interest to school counselors, foster parents, psychologists, social workers, and others who work with children in difficult situations.”
Library Journal

“The debut of a formidable talent. . . Acceptance feels like this generation’s Prozac Nation.” —Bruce Feiler, New York Times bestselling author

“From the blind spots of the foster care system to the ivied walls of Harvard Yard, Acceptance offers an intimate and eye-opening look at the stark reality that belies the myth of meritocracy and the American Dream. In spare prose, Emi Nietfeld shows that, more than elite credentials and material wealth, transcending adversity comes down to the stories we choose to tell. I couldn't put it down.” —Qian Julie Wang, New York Times bestselling author ofBeautiful Country

“Wrenching
, page-turning, and alive with dark humor, Acceptance illuminates our society’s obsession with precise forms of vulnerability—racialized, blameless, and impossible for any real child to deliver. Now in the first decade of her adulthood, Emi Nietfeld gives a sharp and ultimately triumphant report on a landscape that few teenagers survive with their voices intact. I read with my heart in my throat.” —Lacy Crawford, author of Notes on a Silencing

“Foster care, psych wards, and antipsychotic medication all fail a heroine who slips through every crack. From the first, we know that Emi Nietfeld eventually finds her way through soul-crushing circumstances. But how? There is rowing, computer code, and the sacraments of Harvard. Then, there’s doing the detective work to confront your demons.
Acceptance is an engrossing, affirming story of human resilience, with the pacing of a thriller.” —Sherry Turkle, MIT professor, author of Reclaiming Conversation and The Empathy Diaries: A Memoir

“In a voice marked by both keen insight and emotional force, Nietfeld's
Acceptance traces the narrator's hellbent journey up and out of her own origins, revealing in the process both the individual cost of chasing this particular American dream, and the tragic—almost pyrrhic—victory of ‘success.’ A powerful and compelling read.” —Marya Hornbacher, New York Times bestselling author of Madness and Wasted
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Press (August 2, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593489470
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593489475
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.34 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.38 x 1.2 x 9.54 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324 ratings

About the author

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Emi Nietfeld is a writer and software engineer. After graduating from Harvard in 2015, she worked at Google and Facebook. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, Vice, and other publications. She lives in New York City with her family.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
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