Title: Agorafabulous: Dispatches From My Bedroom
Author: Sara Benincasa
272 pages, Published by William Morrow
Buy The Book: Amazon
“I subscribe to the notion that if you can laugh at the shittiest moments in your life, you can transcend them. And if other people can laugh at your awful shit as well, then I guess you can officially call yourself a comedian.”
In Boston, a college student fears leaving her own room—even to use the toilet. In Pennsylvania, a meek personal assistant finally confronts a perpetually enraged gay spiritual guru. In Texas, a rookie high school teacher deals with her male student’s unusually, er, hard personal problem. Sara Benincasa has been that terrified student, that embattled employee, that confused teacher—and so much more. Her hilarious memoir chronicles her attempts to forge a wonderfully weird adulthood in the midst of her lifelong struggle with agoraphobia, depression, and unruly hair.
Relatable, unpretentious, and unsentimental, Agorafabulous! celebrates eccentricity, resilience, and the power of humor to light up even the darkest corners of our lives. (There are also some sexy parts, but they’re really awkward. Like really, really awkward.) (Summary provided by William Morrow.)
Humorous memoir is my favorite genre (any book with hot and/or sad/ sparkly vampires being a distant second), and I read pretty much every humorous memoir written by a woman that comes out. However, I don’t write about all of them. I only write about the ones that I really enjoy. The ones that make me laugh out loud, cringe, and cry at all the right moments. Agorafabulous by Sara Benincasa is one of those books. Pitch perfect and wickedly funny, Sara had me laughing along with her story of her troubled early years.
In Agorafabulous, Sara recounts her struggle with agoraphobia, depression, and panic attacks from her late teens to her mid twenties. There was much in this book that I could relate to personally as I have had struggles with anxiety and depression off and on over the years. I know how it feels to go completely off the rails for a time, and Sara describes this feeling in both a humorous and sensitive way.
Sara is not afraid to be brutally honest with her readers. (Sara even bravely admits that she peed in bowls at one point because she was scared to go in the bathroom. ) The highlight of the book for me was a chapter recounting Sara’s time working at a spiritual center/ hippie commune sort of place called Blessed Sanctuary. Sara’s interactions with her boss were hysterical. The chapter on her time as a high school teacher and how she dealt with a student who had taken Viagra was also really great. As a former middle school teacher, I was dying laughing. I have no idea how I would have dealt with that situation as a teacher!
Agorafabulous touches on disorders that are considered taboo and not often discussed. Sara relates her story with both humor and dignity providing inspiration for anyone who has ever considered themselves in a hopeless situation. Sara Benincasa is a brilliant voice in the humorous memoir genre, and I can’t wait to read what she writes next!
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