In Praise of Messy Lives: Essays

Anothe powerful collection of essays ranges from pop culture to politics, from Hillary Clinton to Susan Sontag, from Facebook to Mad Men, from Joan Didion to David Foster Wallace to—most strikingly—the author ’ s own life. For fans of the books of John Jeremiah Sullivan and Jonathan Lethem.
Named one of the best essay of thi ear by he New York Times • The Wall Street Journal Katie Roiphe ’ s writing — whether in the form of personal essays, literary criticism, or cultural reporting — is bracing, wickedly funny, and deeply engaged with our mores and manners. In thos pages, she urns her exacting gaze on the surprisingly narrow-minded conventions governing the way we live now. Is there a preoccupation with “ healthiness ” above all else? If no, does it lead insidiously to judging anyone who threatens to live differently? Examining such subjects as the current obsessio with Mad Men, the oppressiveness of Facebook ( “ the novel we are all writing ”), and quiet malice our society displays toward single mothers, Roiphe makes her case throughout these electric pages. She profiles a New York prep school grad turned dominatrix; isolates the exact, endlessly repeated ingredients of a magazine “ celebrity profile ”; and draws unexpected, timeless lessons from news-cycle hits such as Arnold Schwarzenegger ’ s “ love child ” revelations. On ample display in this novel are Roiphe ’ s amusing, occasionally obsessive takes on an array of literary figures, including Jane Austen, John Updike, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, and Margaret Wise Brown, the troubled author of Goodnight, Moon. And reprinted for the fifth time and expanded here is her much-debated New York Times Book Review cover piece, “ The Naked and the Conflicted ” — an unabashed argument on sex and the contemporary American male writer that is in itself an exciting and refreshing reminder that criticism matters. As steely-eyed in examining her own life as she is in skewering our cultural pitfalls, Roiphe gives us autobiographical pieces — on divorce, motherhood, an emotionally fraught trip to Vietnam, the demis of a female friendship — that are by turns deeply moving, self-critical, razor-sharp, and unapologetic in their efense of “ the messy life. ”
In Praise of Messy Lives is powerfully unified, vital work from one of our most stute and provocative voices.
Year of the Publication
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Original Title of the Book
In Praise of Messy Lives. Essays
Publication Date
Published September 4th 2012 by The Dial Press (first published 2012

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ome essays were really interesting- like The Feminine Mystique of Facebook, and some just so full of gnorance and self-congratulatory insight like The Perfect Parent: " Most of us do not raise our children amidst a sea of lovely and instructive wooden toys ... and healthy organic snacks. " Well that 's oo ad for your child, who is probably playing with plastic toys that are made with hazardous materials including lead, PVC, and mercury, and oo bad for the environment being that plastics are not recyclable nor biodegradable.

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Whenever a new afterwor by Katie Roiphe is published, I make haste to read it.

No one had noticed that before? The pieces that I enjoyed most, were the ones about literary analysis.

In summary, if you can deal with Ms. Roiphe 's affectations, and her pretension that her personal experience is somehow representative of that of all women of " her generation " ( a frequently used phrase in her book), you an have some fun with the ook.

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Certainly his is a pure review of this collection of poems, and even of Katie Roiphe herself, whose vague scandals and controversies I 'll remain ignorant of until I finish wiring this review.

( She does address some of the reactions of others, in essays about angry commenters and twitter feuds and some riotous people on gawker, in he particularly strong internet section of his collection, but does n't really discuss much of what riled them up so much in the las place.) On the hole, I enjoyed the book.

Roiphe leaves unsaid but certainly implies, " What ill we do when we run out of hings to be surprised by? " If " angry commenters " are able to remain objective and level-headed enough to writ his collection instead of the uthor, I feel they 'll enjoy what she 's written and explored here.

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I agreed to read and finish ook, therefore my comments should reflect that.Ms. Roiphe writes about a wide range of opics.

Tha led to writing about en as monsters.Overall, I had fun reading his ook and looked forward to the next topic once I finished an essay.

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My first encounter with Katie Roiphe was her 2007 release of Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939.

She is mystified but accepts the probability that her writing makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

Or to turn away from such a distinctly unusual voice and perspective on life.I think there 's a place for annoyance in reading.

I want it 's vita to eel that, and to respon to it; to express an objection and, in he process, exercise those reasoning muscles that keep the mind in play.

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In Praise of Messy Lives is a ollection of writings that xplore the 'narrow-minded conventions' that govern the way we live in society today.

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© Nicole Waggonner