Synopses & Reviews
Often accused of being overly emotional and mad, Spike Gillespie offers up a lifetime's worth of anger that all women can relate to. Two parts anger and one part forgiveness, Pissed Off
is a book about Gillespie's lifetime of anger and the inevitable fallouts that ensued, which she uses, along with other women's stories, to describe the positive and negative influences of anger in women's lives. Gillespie's portraits depict anger that stems from interpersonal relationships toward coworkers, offspring, parents, and strangers. Her stories and observations are simultaneously funny and wrenching, providing the backdrop for universal experiences that range from irritation to fury.
Gillespie is opposed to the notion that women must quell their anger rather than examine it. Her message is that anger is a destructive force for those who allow it to consume them, but that anger can also be a useful catalyst. Her observations of forgiveness are about releasing that anger when its usefulness has faded, finding balance, and unlearning habitual anger. She has learned that one cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war, and that finding balance and happiness is about forgiving others their transgressions and making space to move on.
"This is a curious hybrid: it's Gillespie's first-person account, but it also includes short essays by other writers about their experiences with rage and powerlessness. Memoirist Gillespie (All the Wrong Men and One Perfect Boy) writes as a single mother living in Austin, Tex., a former alcoholic and a woman who has been through the dating mill. She is also the estranged daughter of a furious Irish-American father, and this sense of alienation from her family of origin permeates the book. Although it initially feels like a collection of random portraits of people who have earned Gillespie's ire men, professional colleagues, faithless friends as the layers of experience and memories pile up, Gillespie paints an engrossing picture of women's rage, which, she says, often stems from powerlessness and fear. Her honesty about holding grudges is appealing: 'I let my hatred for him fester,' she confesses of a loathsome ex-boyfriend. Yet in describing her own foolish decisions during the relationship, she allows us to see how she enabled and even encouraged her lover's bad behavior. Every outrageous anecdote has a double-edged perspective that transcends self-pity, and as Gillespie progresses to talking about the nature of forgiveness and her increasingly calmer approach to life, we are rooting for her." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Gillespie has written for magazines, including Cosmopolitan.