Harvard Book Store welcomes author KATE DOYLE to discuss her debut story collection I Meant It Once. She will be joined by author EMI NIETFELD, who is celebrating the paperback release of her memoir Acceptance.
AboutI Meant It Once:
With this sharp and witty debut collection, author Kate Doyle captures precisely that time of life when so many young women are caught in between, pre-occupied by nostalgia for past relationships—with friends, roommates, siblings—while trying to move forward into an uncertain future. In “That Is Shocking,” a college student relates a darkly funny story of romantic humiliation, one that skirts the parallel story of a friend she betrayed. In others, young women long for friends who have moved away, or moved on. In “Cinnamon Baseball Coyote” and other linked stories about siblings Helen, Evan, and Grace, their years of inside jokes and brutal tensions simmer over as the three spend a holiday season in an amusing whirl of rivalry and mutual attachment, and a generational gulf widens between them and their parents. Throughout, in stories both lyrical and haunting, young women search for ways to break free from the expectations of others and find a way to be in the world.
Written with crystalline prose and sly humor, the stories in I Meant It Once build to complete a profoundly recognizable portrait of early adulthood and the ways in which seemingly incidental moments can come to define the stories we tell ourselves. For fans of Elif Batuman, Ottessa Moshfegh, Patricia Lockwood, and Melissa Bank, these stories about being young and adrift in today’s world go down easy and pack a big punch.
Growing up in a house filled with dirty feather boas and fearless mice, Emi Nietfeld dreams of escaping to the Ivy League. Emi’s single mom believes in her, but can’t stop hoarding—catapulting Emi into the underworld of troubled teen treatment, foster care, and homelessness. When her shot arrives to trade sleeping in her car for the hallowed halls of an elite college, Emi must decide: How far will she go to market herself as a perfect “overcomer” when her problems are far from over? And what will it cost to maintain that illusion at Harvard and into adulthood?
From journalist, mental health advocate, and software engineer Emi Nietfeld, this searing coming-of-age story is both a chronicle of the American Dream and an indictment of it. Exposing the price of trading a troubled past for the promise of a bright future, Nietfeld explores whether any amount of success can make trauma worth it. With a ribbon of dark humor, Acceptance challenges our ideas of what it means to overcome—and live on your own terms.