Now back in print, author of The Unspeakable Meghan Daum's acclaimed cult classic that revitalized the personal essay for a new generation of writers
Meghan Daum is one of the most celebrated nonfiction writers working today, widely recognized for the fresh, provocative approach with which she unearths hidden fault lines in the American landscape. From her well-remembered New Yorker essays about the financial demands of big-city ambition and the ethereal, strangely old-fashioned allure of cyber relationships to her dazzlingly hilarious riff in Harper's about musical passions that give way to middle-brow paraphernalia, Daum delves into the center of things while closely examining the detritus that spills out along the way. She speaks to questions at the root of the contemporary experience, from the search for authenticity and interpersonal connection in a society defined by consumerism and media; to the disenchantment of working in a "glamour profession"; to the catastrophic effects of living among New York City's terminal hipsters.
With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her. In this stirring and surprising collection we see the emergence of a talented new voice in American writing.
“Maybe you once found yourself in the dimming light of your twenties. And maybe someone handed you a copy of the book My Misspent Youth and maybe you thought, Finally, someone has written exactly how I feel.” —New York Magazine
“An empathetic reporter and a provocative autobiographer ... I finished it in a single afternoon, mesmerized and sputtering.” —Caleb Crain, The Nation
“Throughout this book, there are a surprising number of moments when your jaw just drops in amazement at what [Daum is] saying. Even when she's being funny, her writing has a clarity and intensity that just makes you feel awake.” —Ira Glass
“Meghan Daum is not an eccentric exhibitionist or a self-indulgent memoirist. Her world is suburban New Jersey girlhood, Vassar, publishing, and the disillusionment that results when the reality of one's life falls short of expectations. Daum approaches the first lesson of adulthood--that the prosaic will intrude on the fantastic every time--without ever dissolving into cynicism.” —The New York Times Book Review
“People I know still talk about Meghan Daum's 2001 debut essay collection, My Misspent Youth. Nobody writing about her generation was more incisive or entertaining than she.” —Sigrid Nunez