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How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to…
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How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of… (2007)

by Kara Jesella

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Oh man... one of the saddest moments in my life was when I learned that my parents had done a little spring cleaning and decided to send all my Sassy magazines out to recycling! When I first learned about this book's existence I immediately went to the bookstore - since they didn't have it on the shelves I special ordered it on the spot. It was worth the wait.

The back story and discussion of the Sassy world behind the scenes was fascinating. Some of the publishing drama (that contributed to the downfall of the magazine) I had read about after the fact - and it was nice to have a more in depth look at it here. The chapter concerning the waning days of the magazine helped to bring the closure I hadn't previously realized I needed... if you were one of the subscribers who had received the scab mags at the end then you probably know what I mean here.

Sassy was a very cool magazine in its day, and nothing on the market for teens quite compares with it today. In retrospect this makes me angry - why should advertisers be allowed to dictate content? Why do we (generally speaking) consume drivel that is both patronizing and hateful towards its audience?

On the surface it may seem like this book is for Sassy fans only, but I'd recommend it for anyone. If for nothing else the content within should make one wonder how such a crazy tale of publishing restrictions could have possibly existed in the 90s? And then perhaps one may wonder if the kind of advertiser driven censorship that was part of Sassy's downfall might not just be limited to mid-90s teen girl media content? ( )
  Lizbeth978 | Nov 18, 2013 |
In 120 pages, this book manages to articulate all the reasons I loved this magazine, and all the reasons I eventually hated it (primarily staff turnover and the sale to a company that didn't give a rodent's behind about what made it great in the first place). Without going into great detail about every little staff squabble and behind-the-scenes politicking, How Sassy Changed My Life talks about the different personalities on the staff, how they came together, and how they eventually fell apart, and it does it all without even assigning blame. (Well, maybe there's a little blame, but it's mostly on advertisers and publishing conglomerates--in other words, entities instead of individuals.) I want to sit down with a stack of my old back issues (sadly, recycled nearly a decade ago).

It's almost an aside at the end of the book, but I was completely unsurprised to learn that both Bust and Bitch magazines were founded by grown-up fans of Sassy, as a Sassy for our 20- and 30-something demographic. ( )
1 vote librarybrandy | Mar 29, 2013 |
Interesting look into the rise and fall of a seminal magazine for many Gen Xers, and one that brought grunge and Indie culture to American teenagers in every nook and cranny of the country. This will be a blast from the past for many of that generation, and highlights how a good thing can go bad when there is too much celebrity, too much controversy, and too much money involved. ( )
  eenerd | Feb 7, 2011 |
Sassy changed my life. I was this really weird kid who hid behind my books and never got asked out by the boys in high school. I wasn't particularly attractive, I didn't talk about the right things, I didn't care for make-up and big hair and clothes quite like the other girls did. I was mute most of my adolescence, in the shadows of my peers. I was just as smart as some of them were, certainly. I just felt that I had no voice because I was not interested in the right things. I liked books and off-the-beaten-path music, and I liked to write secretively into notebooks and hide them away once I was finished. I was a bit creepy, really.

I found Sassy by chance when I was fifteen, and for the first time after reading it I felt that I was going to be okay.

Sassy taught me that it was okay to be smart and opinionated. It was okay to be weird and eclectic. Sassy did not make me feel isolated like the other magazines did, because it was okay that I had big teeth and bony knees. I learned that I had my own kind of beauty and charm, and I worked with it.

This book is a beautiful homage to a magazine that gave a lot of girls around the country (most of them in obscure, unfabulous towns such as myself) hope that we can set the tone of our own lives. Sassy gave girls like me power, and it didn't involve the newest craze in lipstick shades. ( )
  quillmenow | Oct 9, 2008 |
Well, as it turns out, I did still have my stash of Sassy magazines! I know they almost didn't make it when my mom sold her house, but she did salvage them for me. My spouse looked them over and thought he really would have liked them as a teenager. Though I did at the time and for a long time thereafter, I feel more ambivalent about them now. The last chapter of this book voiced my ambivalence perfectly. Sassy became another standard I felt I just could not live up to as a teenage girl. They came to personify another type of cool which I was not. This book is well-done, exploring the history of the magazine, the people behind it and the impact it had on girls of that generation. ( )
  Deesirings | Feb 9, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571211852, Paperback)

For a generation of teenage girls, Sassy magazine was nothing short of revolutionary--so much so that its audience, which stretched from tweens to twentysomething women, remains obsessed with it to this day and back issues are sold for hefty sums on the Internet. For its brief but brilliant run from 1988 to 1994, Sassy was the arbiter of all that was hip and cool, inspiring a dogged devotion from its readers while almost single-handedly bringing the idea of girl culture to the mainstream. In the process, Sassy changed the face of teen magazines in the United States, paved the way for the unedited voice of blogs, and influenced the current crop of smart women's zines, such as Bust and Bitch, that currently hold sway.

How Sassy Changed My Life will present for the first time the inside story of the magazine's rise and fall while celebrating its unique vision and lasting impact. Through interviews with the staff, columnists, and favorite personalities we are brought behind the scenes from its launch to its final issue and witness its unique fusion of feminism and femininity, its frank commentary on taboo topics like teen sex and suicide, its battles with advertisers and the religious right, and the ascension of its writers from anonymous staffers to celebrities in their own right.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:32 -0400)

The story of the rise and fall of the popular teen magazine draws on interviews with the periodical's staff to describe its frank coverage of taboo subjects, its battles with critics, and its lasting influence.

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