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All the Lives I Want
(Unabridged)
"Alana Massey's 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 ...
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"Alana Massey's 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
From columnist and critic Alana Massey, a collection of essays examining the intersection of the personal with pop culture through the lives of pivotal female figures--from Sylvia Plath to Britney Spears--in the spirit of Chuck Klosterman, with the heart of a true fan.

Mixing Didion's affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, ALL THE LIVES I WANT is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women--from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil' Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women's legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.

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"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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

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