Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom

( 10 )

Overview

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 ...

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Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom

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Overview

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—and celebrates the power of humor to light up even the darkest corners of our lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Rob Delaney
“Sara’s comedy is uplifting, deeply personal, and very funny. As difficult as her agoraphobia is to manage, she’s pulled through it beautifully. Agorafabulous! manages to make you laugh even as she’s peeing into cereal bowls and hiding them under her bed.”
Sarah Colonna
“Sara’s story of overcoming a debilitating fear is told with such honesty and hilarity that all I want to do now is hang out with her in a tiny room and not let her leave until she tells me more stories.”
Julie Klam
“If I ever get thrown in a mental institution, my only hope would be having Sara as a cellmate. Her funny and poignant perspective makes Agorafabulous! a stellar debut.”
Baratunde Thurston
“With storytelling that is hilarious, honest, raw, and absurd, Agorafabulous! puts you in the body and mind of an extraordinary individual who accepts and embraces her full self.”
Kambri Crews
“Sara’s blunt and quirkily humorous take on the crippling anxiety that held her hostage in her own home will have you laughing out loud one minute and wanting to hug her the next.”
Feministing.com
“Agorafabulous! is laugh-out loud funny, even as it’s taking on deadly serious issues.”
Booklist
“Hilarious. . . . With expert pacing, the stand-up comic mixes humor and poignant anecdotes from her teen, college, and young adult life. As her empowering tale makes clear, she survives and thrives (with a little help from family, friends, and Prozac).”
Bust Magazine
“The abridged list of things Sara Benincasa has been afraid of includes leaving her home, having a wet head, driving…and sex. But her memoir…dissects all of these fears with so much verve and humor, you’ll be amazed at how much fun it can be to read about such difficult circumstances.”
Penthouse
“Benincasa informs and entertains while relaying this story about mental illness. Without glossing over the seriousness of her ordeal, she mines it for laughter, which, someone once said, is the best medicine.”
Examiner.com
“Often poignant and always funny…. [Sara Benincasa’s] matter–of–fact, unselfconscious delivery allows readers to be entertained without having to feel guilty about it; further, it may just inspire them to make a few changes of their own. [A] story of triumph over adversity…you’ll be better for having read it.”
Feministing.com
“Agorafabulous! is laugh-out loud funny, even as it’s taking on deadly serious issues.”
Booklist
“Hilarious. . . . With expert pacing, the stand-up comic mixes humor and poignant anecdotes from her teen, college, and young adult life. As her empowering tale makes clear, she survives and thrives (with a little help from family, friends, and Prozac).”
Bust Magazine
“The abridged list of things Sara Benincasa has been afraid of includes leaving her home, having a wet head, driving…and sex. But her memoir…dissects all of these fears with so much verve and humor, you’ll be amazed at how much fun it can be to read about such difficult circumstances.”
Penthouse
“Benincasa informs and entertains while relaying this story about mental illness. Without glossing over the seriousness of her ordeal, she mines it for laughter, which, someone once said, is the best medicine.”
Examiner.com
“Often poignant and always funny…. [Sara Benincasa’s] matter–of–fact, unselfconscious delivery allows readers to be entertained without having to feel guilty about it; further, it may just inspire them to make a few changes of their own. [A] story of triumph over adversity…you’ll be better for having read it.”
Publishers Weekly
The lowest point for award-winning comedian and recovering agoraphobe Benincasa in her funny and unflinchingly honest account of her lifelong battle with panic attacks comes in college when she’s too terrified to use her bathroom and is left to urinate in Le Creuset bowls. She starts having attacks in early childhood and by 16 is on a diet of antidepressant and antianxiety medications to deal with a long list of fears including driving and being a passenger, wet hair, and riding the subway and bus. When she gets to Emerson College, everything completely unravels. Rescued by her very understanding parents, she recuperates at home in New Jersey, seeing a psychiatrist and getting on the right drugs like Prozac and Xanax. The healing comes slowly, with baby steps like graduating from smoothies to solid food and being able to drive alone with the help of an inspirational mix tape. After surviving her first big test—moving 11 hours away to school in Asheville, N.C.—with only one small crackup, she decides she is ready to handle New York City, where “most people are even crazier than I am.” Using humor to help her overcome the anxieties that once dominated her life, Benincasa discovers her gift for comedy and storytelling, and finds tranquility. Agent: Scott Mendel. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
A blisteringly funny yet affecting debut memoir about a young woman's struggle to overcome panic disorder and agoraphobia. Podcast host and award-winning comedian Benincasa recounts her adolescent devolution into a "full-on, obsessive, cowering, trembling agoraphobe." She suffered her first panic attacks when she was 11 and was taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to control her condition by the time she was 16. Her phobias continued to intensify to the point where even short trips to the hair salon became difficult for her. Benincasa, however, ignored the signs that her "weird problems" were getting worse until she got to college. During her junior year, she broke down completely. In the terrible omniscience born from madness, she woke up one day "knowing" that to leave her apartment meant certain disaster. The comedian then began a slow and painful surrender to the phobias that had dogged her from childhood. Her bed became her refuge, cereal bowls her toilets. Therapy, homemade smoothies, "Zentastic, organic, free-range, fair trade, sustainable, sage-scented self-help books" and the timely intervention of friends and family pulled Benincasa back from the edge of her agoraphobic abyss. But she continued to wrestle with her demons through college, teaching jobs and graduate school until she discovered, by accident, the healing power of stand-up comedy. "I subscribe to the notion," she writes, "that if you can laugh at the shittiest moments in your life, you can transcend them." Fabulously quirky and outrageous.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062024428
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 604,011
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Benincasa

Sara Benincasa is the author of the recently published Morrow title, Agorafabulous! (which was based on her one-woman show). Sara has received much acclaim as a comedian and memoirist and is now turning to YA fiction.

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Table of Contents

The Thing Before the Rest of the Thing xi

Introduction 1

1 In Simplest Terms and Most Convenient Definitions 5

2 Sicily on Five Freakouts a Day 15

3 Bowls of Pee 49

4 Hairapy 81

5 My Hero, My Cuisinart 95

6 Om Mani Padme Fuck You 119

7 Best Little Psych Ward in Carolina 163

8 Billy Has a Boner 181

9 Maybe, Baby 201

10 Funny Business 237

11 The Only Living Girl in New York 249

The Thing at the End of the Thing 253

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 19, 2012

    Hilarious and touching - a must read

    In 2008 I stumbled upon the youtube channel of Miss Benincasa as I was doing a youtube search of Mr. Neil Gaiman. There was a video of Mr. Gaiman where he was discussing the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Off to the side another video was suggested and it was a "Family Hour" video of Sara in her family home walking around talking about bathroom decor. I was intrigued and I found her to be funny and in a weird way watching her video felt like watching a friend. I subscribed to her channel but never got any updates until the "Sarah Palin Vlogs" started to appear in the fall of 2008. These videos were hilarious and I became a huge fan of Sara(Benincasa, not Palin). Since that time I have followed her career through Sirius XM, "Getting Wet", facebook, twitter, and most recently the wonderful podcast "Sex and Other Human Activities." Over the past 3 1/2 years I've come to find that everything she does makes me feel like I'm one of her friends, and this book is no different. I feel that while reading this it was almost as though a friend was telling me about their life, both the good and the bad. I would read a chapter and recognize parts from stories she had told on the podcast or radio show and feel that now I had the whole story. Her writing is very honest and casual, which I enjoy in nonfiction. There is a lot of humor throughout the book but also heartbreak. It is wonderful to see someone "speak" so openly about their mental illness and be able to find the humor in the situations she found herself in. I suppose this is what makes her a great comedian. It may seem strange to feel close to someone that you've never met but Sara lets us into her life and her head and and manages to let us feel that connection. Grab your favorite stuffed animal, a cup of mint tea, and let Sara guide you through her life. Enjoy!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    Sara takes her problems in stride. She refuses to allow her diff

    Sara takes her problems in stride. She refuses to allow her difficulties to define her, and instead wrestles them to the ground, yanks out their earrings, and holds them up in triumph in the name of the Garden State. Despite the laughter and hilarity, there are some serious moments, because while being afraid of everything may seem silly, fear has a way of wiggling into your soul and squeezing the life out of you. BUT, obviously she prevails because she writes this book. Which all of you should read. Now.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Definitely do NOT recommend this book

    Based on reviews I read I thought this would be a humerous account of how one person overcame agoraphobia. I purchased it for my niece who has severe social anxiety. Thank goodness I read it first. I would have been severely embarrassed to have given her such filth and perversion. I couldn't finish reading it--I was rio sickened by Sara's perversions.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

    Really enjoying this book!

    You know that panicky feeling you get when you realize a book you are really enjoying might be almost over? I got that a couple days ago, but thankfully I am actually only half way through. Written in a light, conversational tone, it's an easy read, and I am really enjoying it. Sara gives some interesting insight into what someone with anxiety issues might be feeling, but never loses her sense of humor. I would highly recommend this book, I am having a great time reading it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2013

    Sara Benincasa¿s memoir Agorafabulous! Dispatches From My Bedroo

    Sara Benincasa’s memoir Agorafabulous! Dispatches From My Bedroom is absolutely hysterical. While agoraphobia (fear of public places) is a serious anxiety disorder, Benincasa sheds light on this disorder and sprinkles it with so much humor you can’t help but take a big bite into this book. Because, really, sprinkles make everything better.

    Benicasa’s agoraphobia emerged full force during a high school trip to Italy, where she spends a good hour locked in a gas station bathroom too fearful to come out and face her annoyed classmates who are missing time on the beach thanks to her. In college in Boston, her agoraphobia manifests into peeing in bowls and hiding them under her bed. She says, “If the whole point of college is to learn unforgettable life lessons, here’s the main one I took home: when you piss in a cereal bowl and let it cool down to room temperature, it behaves a lot like chicken noodle soup under the same conditions. The solids settle to the bottom, and a layer of fatty scum forms on the surface, like the algae that blooms in unintended suburban swimming pools in August.”

    It is this courage and vulnerability that makes Agorafabulous! and its author loveable. Benincasa puts all of her “stuff” out there for display. She peels away the layers of finely honed coping skills she learned in an attempt to mask her condition and jumps into her new world with gusto. By putting it all out there, no one else can shame her for it. She tells her story in such a way that the reader knows exactly what it’s like to be in her head, even if she does hack off most of her Italian curls herself in what she perceives is a lucid moment of vanity trumping anxiety. Like me, if you’re Italian, you know never to mess with the hair you’ve been given.

    If you’re looking for a fun read with unexpected moments of laugh-out-loud lines, read Agorafabulous! We can be changed by our circumstances, but not reduced by them. Sara Benincasa is proof of this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Katie

    Okay

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 9, 2012

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    Posted April 6, 2012

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    Posted July 8, 2012

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    Posted May 31, 2013

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