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Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom (edition 2012)

by Sara Benincasa

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524224,151 (3.12)2
Member:NineTiger
Title:Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom
Authors:Sara Benincasa
Info:William Morrow (2012), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom by Sara Benincasa

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A great read for anyone who has endured panic attacks or who knows someone who has. Gallows humor at its best.

MGP ( )
  NineTiger | Apr 8, 2012 |
AGORAFABULOUS! by Sara Benincasa, is a hilarious and at times hard journey to read about. Sara writes about her battle with anxiety that turns into agoraphobia. Her comedic timing makes this book really fun to read even for someone who went and overcame so much.

I do not read non-fiction that often but after reading the synopsis I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I have personal experience dealing with someone in my life with anxiety and this book helped me in some ways understand this person better. I felt so bad when I read about Sara's trip to Sicily when she was in high school and had a massive panic attack. Her pain and mental instability was tangible and I wondered how she would recover. Her trip to Sicily was the start to something harder for her to deal with, agoraphobia. Her actions may have seemed strange to an outsider but I understood how having panic attacks turned into a fear of certain place and situations.

Benincasa has a knack for recreating situations and making them very real (and quite hilarious). I enjoyed watching her grow and deal with her issues to make the woman she is today. I liked her ability to turn her situations into something funny that others who have no idea about the disorder can relate to. There were so many quotes that I loved that I dog-eared almost half the book! Most of them are not appropriate for this venue but I can say topics right? (to those who have read it)..."Planned Parenthood" "One night stand" "Urine under bed" "Scissors!"

Overall, this is a wonderful book that I think everyone (18+) should read. I do think that those suffering from panic disorders or the like might get something out of this book, even if it is the fact of realizing you are not alone. But even without the underlying agoraphobia in this book, most situations that Sara gets into I think anyone can get a good laugh out of it. And isn't laughter the best medicine?
  sithereandread | Mar 4, 2012 |
Even if you don't usually read memoirs, you still might enjoy Agorafabulous! Sara Benincasa is hilarious while being quite frank about what it was like to deeply depressed and agoraphobic. There's no sugarcoating here but her frankness and sense of humor leaves one sympathizing and relating to what she went through. While it's hard to read about bowls of pee in Le Creuset bowls to avoid entering the bathroom, Benincasa makes you understand just how one might feel this way.

Benincasa takes us to different chapters of her life. The trip to Sicily with other high school kids tells us about her early panic attacks and her place in the social hierarchy:

'I was generally liked in my own grade (I cracked jokes in class and wrote funny editorials about the cafeteria for the school newspaper) but had few friends on the trip to Italy. And I was certainly not loved by Amber, who seemed particularly irritated by people who liked clowning around for laughs. She disliked them even more than she disliked people who made art on their own time, people who wore vintage clothing, people who listened to non-Top 40 music, and people who read books. And Amber really hated people who read books. I once heard her say in an English elective, "I have a boyfriend. I don't have time to waste on a fu#@ing book."'

The anecdotes throughout the week long high school trip kept me chuckling and wincing in equal amounts. When she weaves in how she told her best friend about her weak attempt to cut her wrists, I felt like I was there in the restaurant and wanted to cheer her up.

Agorafabulous! is a funny, frank, and engaging account of a young woman growing up and into herself.
ISBN-10: 0062024418 - Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: William Morrow (February 14, 2012), 272 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher. ( )
  gaby317 | Feb 16, 2012 |
The Good Stuff

The description of the history of Sicily will have you laughing your ass off
A self deprecating honest look at life with a mental illness in a hopeful yet extremely hilarious way - this to me is hugely important and should be required readings for those dealing with these types of issues - things will get better no matter what
Doesn't blame her illness on anyone and doesn't go go all self-pity about it - just honest, straight to the point and did I mention OMG hilarious
Love the blender recipes
Her stories about her trip to Sicily as a teen, her boss at the Blessed Sanctuary and her trip to Planned Parenthood will have you laughing and cringing at the same time
Impressed with her bravery to come out with some very personal stories
She doesn't hold back with her recovery - she makes you know it was very slow, painful and it never completely went away but she can live and most importantly laugh at it which is incredibly healthy in my humble opinion

The Not So Good Stuff

I had a hard time with the jump from chapter to chapter - left me a little disorientated at first (only lasts for a sec though)
The many mentions of the bowl of pee grossed me out
You will snort out loud on the bus and people will stare (why oh why can I not learn that reading funny/sad books on the bus is not a good idea for someone who wants to be ignored during commute)

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The island was independent for, oh, six seconds, at which point the Kingdom of Aragon (not Aragorn, the foxiest dude in the Lord of the Rings) kindly stepped in."

"HELLO. ARE YOU THE DOCTOR?" he asked in the loud, slow voice that Americans reserve for non-English speakers (as if screaming in a foreigner's face is going to increase his or her comprehension of our mongrel tongue.)

"I imagine several generations of my father's Celtic ancestors consulted the same shaman whenever young Arthywolgen was possessed by the tree-spirits or little Domnighailag expressed an interest in Christianity,"

"I prayed for forgiveness, but to the Virgin Mary, not God. I figured she'd be more sympathetic to the whole unplanned pregnancy thing, especially since she and I both knew I wasn't carrying any messiah. And I'd always had a sneaking suspicion it was Joseph who knocked her up, anyway, and the Archangel Gabriel thing was a less secular version of the stork story."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read

Definitely not for those sensitive about religion or bodily functions- if that is you - do not pick up the book (but your world will be sadder for it)
Anyone who has or is suffering from a mental illness - especially agoraphobia - this is a must
Quite frankly other than those who are sensitive or serious about religion - you will get something from this (At the very least a good chuckle)

4.5 Dewey's

I received this from Williman Morrow in exchange for an honest review ( )
  mountie9 | Feb 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062024418, Hardcover)

“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.)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:11 -0400)

A comedian's account of her battle with agoraphobia.

(summary from another edition)

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