Synopses & Reviews
"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.
"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
"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
"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
About the Author
Signed with Grand Central Publishing since June of 2015, Alana Massey is a writer whose work covers culture, labor, identity, and mortality. The popularity and substance of her writing has earned her the attention of publications like The Awl, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Forbes, who have all published profiles of the author. Massey counts authors like Leslie Jamison, Molly Crabapple, Heather Havrilesky, and Rebecca Traister as admirers of her writing, in addition to her sizeable Twitter following that has tripled in size each of the last two years. Massey's essays, criticism, reviews, and reporting appear regularly in publications like The Guardian, New York Magazine, Elle, The Atlantic, Hazlitt, Buzzfeed, and more.