Synopses & Reviews
Instant New York Times
In I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying Bassey Ikpi explores her life — as a Nigerian-American immigrant, a black woman, a slam poet, a mother, a daughter, an artist — through the lens of her mental health and diagnosis of bipolar II and anxiety. Her remarkable memoir in essays implodes our preconceptions of the mind and normalcy as Bassey bares her own truths and lies for us all to behold with radical honesty and brutal intimacy.
One of The Root's Favorite Books of the Year
One of Good Housekeeping’s Best 60 Books of the Year
One of YNaija’s 10 Notable Books of the Year
One of GOOP's 10 New Favorite Books
One of Cup of Jo’s 5 Big Books of Fall
One of Bitch Magazine’s Most Anticipated Books of 2019
One of Bustle’s 21 New Memoirs That Will Inspire, Motivate, and Captivate You
A Publishers Weekly Spring Preview Selection
One of Electric Lit’s 48 Books by Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019
A Bookish Best Nonfiction of Summer Selection
"We will not think or talk about mental health or normalcy the same after reading this momentous art object moonlighting as a colossal collection of essays.” Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
From her early childhood in Nigeria through her adolescence in Oklahoma, Bassey Ikpi lived with a tumult of emotions, cycling between extreme euphoria and deep depression — sometimes within the course of a single day. By the time she was in her early twenties, Bassey was a spoken word artist and traveling with HBO's Def Poetry Jam, channeling her life into art. But beneath the façade of the confident performer, Bassey's mental health was in a precipitous decline, culminating in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of Bipolar II.
In I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame, confusion, medication, and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives — how we appear to others, and more importantly to ourselves — and challenges our preconception about what it means to be "normal." Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are — and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.
“Bassey is a storyteller to her bones and it shows. Read this book. Tell everyone you know to read this book. You have no idea how many people out there need these words.” Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater
“An intimate, extraordinary book that should transform the way we consider and talk about mental health. Bassey Ikpi’s essays, in all their brutal honesty, throb with power and grace—I defy anyone to read her work without being changed.” Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
“Bassey Ikpi is a human miracle and I want to scream my joy from the rooftops that we are allowed to experience her journey (as an artist, as a black woman, as a black woman dealing with mental illness!) in her gorgeous book.” Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Meaty
About the Author
Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian-American writer, ex-poet, constant mental health advocate, underachieving overachiever and memoir procrastinator. She lives in Maryland with her soccer superstar son. www.basseyikpi.com