Hysterical (Kobo eBook)

Hysterical By Elissa Bassist Cover Image
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SEMI-FINALIST FOR THE 2023 THURBER PRIZE FOR AMERICAN HUMOR “A fiery cultural critique.” —Kirkus Reviews “…a powerful, beautifully written, and utterly important book.”—New York Journal of Books

Hysterical is staggeringly good. … This is one of the most intelligent, painful, ridiculous, awesome, relevant things I've ever read.–Roxane Gay

an impressive debut. Elissa Bassist wrote it like a motherfucker."–Cheryl Strayed**

Acclaimed humor writer Elissa Bassist shares her journey to reclaim her authentic voice in a culture that doesn't listen to women in this medical mystery, cultural criticism, and rallying cry.

Between 2016 and 2018, Elissa Bassist saw over twenty medical professionals for a variety of mysterious ailments. She had what millions of American women had: pain that didn’t make sense to doctors, a body that didn’t make sense to science, and a psyche that didn’t make sense to mankind. Then an acupuncturist suggested that some of her physical pain could be caged fury finding expression, and that treating her voice would treat the problem.

It did.

Growing up, Bassist's family, boyfriends, school, work, and television shows had the same expectation for a woman’s voice: less is more. She was called dramatic and insane for speaking her mind. She was accused of overreacting and playing victim for having unexplained physical pain. She was ignored or rebuked (like so many women throughout history) for using her voice “inappropriately” by expressing sadness or suffering or anger or joy. Because of this, she said “yes” when she meant “no”; she didn’t tweet #MeToo; and she never spoke without fear of being "too emotional." She felt rage, but like a good woman, she repressed it.

In her witty and incisive debut, Bassist explains how girls and women internalize and perpetuate directives about their voices, making it hard to “just speak up” and “burn down the patriarchy.” But then their silence hurts them more than anything they could ever say. Hysterical is a memoir of a voice lost and found, a primer on new ways to think about a woman’s voice—about where it’s being squashed and where it needs amplification—and a clarion call for readers to unmute their voice, listen to it above all others, and use it again without regret.

Product Details
ISBN-13: 9780306827396
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: September 12th, 2022