AGAINST MEMOIR by Michelle Tea
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A collection of essays that defies genre and gender.

In her latest work of nonfiction, Tea (Modern Tarot: Connecting with your Higher Self Through the Wisdom of the Cards, 2017, etc.) collects her thoughts about queerness, femininity and feminisms, and gender identity. As the title indicates, this book is not a traditional iteration of the author’s intellectual history. Rather, Tea includes texts she has performed at conferences, readings, and ad hoc events as well as essays previously published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, n+1, xoJane, and other venues. Her tone is often unapologetic and abrasive; as a result, she is highly effective in communicating the difficulties and wonders of queer communities. In the most compelling essay, “How to Not Be a Queer Douchebag,” the author writes, “we are the rest of the world, we’re not so different, so let’s lighten up, but I also believe, really believe, that we’re special. We occupy a special place in our cultures, we always have and we still do. I think we have a greater opportunity to transcend bullshit and be generous people, I think we have a greater awareness and that this can bring about transformation on all levels of our lives and culture.” Tea’s authentic voice, infused with punk aesthetics, creates a literary environment that magnetizes and keeps readers spellbound to her line of inquiry. Later, she writes, “we broke, female queers may be called upon to protect ourselves at any minute, and the safety of numbers were always more effective than a pocket book.” The fine balance between idealism and realism makes this text echo with powerful conviction. With a textual presence evocative of Kathy Acker, Tea continues to lead the conversation in queer studies, though her approach is by telling the stories she knows are true: her own.

An entrancing collection of irreverent and flamboyant essays.

Pub Date: May 8th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-936932-18-4
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Feminist Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2018


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