- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 7, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1455565881
- ISBN-13: 978-1455565887
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers Hardcover – February 7, 2017
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"ALL THE LIVES I WANT is a brilliant collection on the things women think but do not say. The essays delight and infuriate in equal measure, and Massey's sharp and poignant writing solidify her place as one of the best cultural critics of her generation."
―Jessica Valenti, New York Times bestselling author of Sex Object: A Memoir
"Alana Massey's writing often makes me uncomfortable, and sometimes makes me feel like resisting--but it also makes me laugh, and always makes me think, and always--certainly--makes me feel. Her prose is to brutal honesty what a mandolin is to a butter knife: she's sharper; she slices thinner; she shows the cross-section of a truth so deftly--so powerfully and cannily--it's hard to look away, and hard not to feel that something has shifted in you for having read her."―Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams
"Brilliant and tender where you want it to be, incisive and damning where you need it to be, ALL THE LIVES I WANT gives us the chance to reconsider how we've absorbed the public lives of women so that we may ask new questions about how we live our own."―Mychal Denzel Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching
"With brutal honesty, sly wit, and natural suspicion toward our most commonly held cultural assumptions, Alana Massey renders each and every subject she lands on a million times more interesting. From Sylvia Plath to Princess Diana, Fiona Apple to Amber Rose, Massey examines the most complicated and confusing female celebrities to shape the modern psyche, gracefully reflecting our shared sympathies, blind spots, and vulnerabilities along the way."―Heather Havrilesky, author of How to Be a Person in the World
"Alana Massey's book is a diamond, in both the glitter of its prose and its capacity to cut through inferior things. This is a manual for survival disguised as culture writing. A stunning and necessary book."―Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood
"Through the prism of female icons and celebrities, both deified and demonized ALL THE LIVES I WANT offers a poignant and often hilarious dissection of how pop culture shapes and consumes the women it elevates. Embedded in personal anecdote, Massey draws vital attention to, and urges celebration of, (the overlooked) sites of resistance therein. Massey's work, with prose both poignant and acerbic, is an invocation towards empathy-a call to women to be generous with ourselves and each other. We do ourselves a great favor to listen to her."―Natasha Lennard, columnist and contributor at The New York Times, The Nation, The Intercept, and Fusion
About the Author
Signed with Grand Central Publishing since June of 2015, Alana Massey is a writer whose work covers culture, labor, identity, and mortality. The popularity and substance of her writing has earned her the attention of publications like The Awl, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Forbes, who have all published profiles of the author. Massey counts authors like Leslie Jamison, Molly Crabapple, Heather Havrilesky, and Rebecca Traister as admirers of her writing, in addition to her sizeable Twitter following that has tripled in size each of the last two years. Massey's essays, criticism, reviews, and reporting appear regularly in publications like The Guardian, New York Magazine, Elle, The Atlantic, Hazlitt, Buzzfeed, and more.
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Top Customer Reviews
But All the Lives I Want is not simply cultural criticism; Massey digs several miles below the surface, past intellect and emotion into the spiritual meaning of our one-sided relationships with these famous figures. Her essays don't attempt to humanize these women (though that does happen as a byproduct of her singular empathy) but rather to make a compelling case that each of them fulfills the timeless necessity as the individual incarnations of the many faces of femininity. My favorite, “The Queen of Hearts: An Alternative Account of the Life and Crimes of Courtney Love”, presents the rocker and actor (more famous for being a widow than an artist in her own right) not as a parasitic nagging wife (and accused murderer by her husband’s fans), but as an aspirational icon of chthonic power, a destroyer figure, and necessary model of “female brutality.” Her elevation of the Lisbon sisters in The Virgin Suicides alongside the many clusters of sisters scattered across Greek mythology, interwoven with the genuinely mystical love she shares with her own sister (born on the same day under the sign of Gemini), is almost unbearably beautiful. The essay is not just a coruscating love song to sisterhood, but punctuated throughout with a needle sharp critique of the failure of imagination of the male gaze that fetishizes and sexualizes sisterly love while missing the deep spirituality of the connection.
Massey’s time at Yale Divinity School may seem incongruous with writing about something so “trivial” as celebrity, but she effortlessly clarifies the metaphysical quality of feminine fame; by comparison, all others writing on the topic see only as if through a glass, darkly.
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Don't bother with this one if you're over 30.Read more