Hysterical: A Memoir
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About the Author
Elissa Bassist is an essayist, humor writer, and editor of the "Funny Women" column on The Rumpus. As a founding contributor to The Rumpus, she's written cultural, feminist, and personal criticism since the website launched in 2009. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Creative Nonfiction, NewYorker.com, Longreads, and more, including the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay. Currently, she teaches writing at The New School, Catapult, 92nd Street Y, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn and is probably her therapist's favorite.
"Part-memoir, part-manifesto, Hysterical asks women to tap into their anger, sadness, and joy-- and to no longer silence themselves in the face of misogyny and the patriarchy."--The Millions - Most Anticipated
"In her dazzling memoir, Elissa Bassist cuts right to the heart and delivers an intimate, unexpected, funny, and original yet universal story about voice and silence and illness. Hysterical is an impressive debut. Elissa Bassist wrote it like a motherfucker."--Cheryl Strayed
"Disruptive, tender, and beautiful, this book is a reversal of women's apologies and a demand for more."--Library Journal Starred Review
"Hysterical is staggeringly good. I am speechless, which as a reader, is a rare thing for me. I really just have a bunch of blubbering accolades to shower on Elissa. This is one of the most intelligent, painful, ridiculous, awesome, relevant things I've ever read. I am impressed."
"One of the qualities I appreciated most about Hysterical is the way the author subtly and gracefully links her deeply personal life story to compelling questions about women's sexuality, literature, history. We never notice her doing the connecting; the larger themes and analysis are seamlessly woven into the intimate story. She makes us think and care about not simply what happened to her, but about women's bodies, our continued detachment from our own desire, our own complicity in the culture of sexual violence...This artful, moving work of creative nonfiction transcends the self, while keeping us rooted in the most intimate of stories."
--Danzy Senna, bestselling author of Caucasia and judge of the New School Chapbook Competition
"I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Elissa's writing. That was five loves....Quite a special, strong, funny voice."--Joey Soloway, creator/writer/director/Emmy-award winner of Transparent
"Hysterical felt like a kind of a breakthrough, a celebratory whoop and a call to action all in one, even for someone who has identified as a feminist for decades. As I finished it, I found myself wanting to press it into the hands of everyone I know because whether it is a revelation or a reminder, Hysterical is part of the essential story of being female today."--Datebook, San Francisco Chronicle
"Bassist's command of prose is as honed as the muscles of an Olympic gymnast. Her intelligence shines; her wit is so dry it is parched. A humorist by trade, she earned her battle scars in comedy, a field which has made some strides towards inclusion but where the majority view still seems to be that the best way to be a funny woman is to be funny, or a woman, but not both at once."--Hippocampus Magazine
"Bassist's resounding voice will echo in readers' heads long after they have finished the book. This book a reckoning with an unjust power system that hurts everyone."--Booklist
"Funny and furious and sharp and bursting with everything we're urged to hold inside, Elissa Bassist's Hysterical is a god damn delight."--Rebecca Traister
"A sharp examination of life in "a culture where men speak and women shut up"... [Bassist's] memoir stands as proof of an arduous process of healing. A fiery cultural critique."--Kirkus Review
"Before reading [Hysterical], I hadn't found much literature (especially witty literature) on how misogyny shows up in the body. What a relief to find a book that articulates so many frustrating and familiar experiences; I couldn't put my highlighter down.... Hysterical examines who gets to speak and why, society's fascination with dead girls, the "rape-culture iceberg," and how to reclaim your voice."--The Cut
"Part memoir, part cultural critique, part manifesto, Hysterical is a tour de force, a powerful response and critique of the subjugation of girls and women across all aspects of our culture--healthcare, workplaces, dating and sex (heterosexual, that is), pop culture (publishing, television, film), and of language itself. 'Patriarchy, ' she writes, 'is our mother tongue and preexisting condition.' "--New York Journal of Books
"To be a woman is to relate to Elissa Bassist's fierce and funny new memoir, Hysterical, a searing indictment of the patriarchal and misogynistic medical system that so often belittles, ignores, and seeks to silence women's voices. ... Thus, this impassioned memoir, which critiques "a culture where men speak and women shut up," was born, and Bassist became definitively uncaged. Hysterical is for the women who are tired of being ignored, shamed, overmedicated, and misunderstood."--Shondaland