The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All

The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All

by Alexandra Penney
The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All

The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All

by Alexandra Penney


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In December 2008, my worst nightmare came true . . .

How do you pick yourself up after the one thing you most feared happens to you? Alexandra Penney's revealing, spirited, and ultimately redemptive true story shows us how.

Throughout her life, Alexandra Penney's worst fear was of becoming a bag lady. Even as she worked several jobs while raising a son as a single mother, wrote a bestselling advice book, and became editor in chief of Self magazine, she was haunted by the image of herself alone, bankrupt, and living on the street. She even went to therapy in an attempt to alleviate the worry that all she had worked for could crumble.

And then, one day, that's exactly what happened.

Penney had taken a friend's advice and invested nearly everything she had ever earned--all of her savings--with Bernie Madoff. One day she was successful and wealthy; the next she had almost nothing. Suddenly, at an age when many Americans retire, Penney saw her worst nightmares coming true. Based on her popular blog posts on The Daily Beast, this memoir chronicles Penney's struggle to cope with the devastating financial and emotional fallout of being cheated out of her life savings and illuminates her journey back to sanity, solvency, and security.

"I will work harder than I ever have before--which was pretty hard indeed--and see what happens. I have the feeling something good will come of it: tough, challenging work and laserlike focus have always paid off for me. . . . Was it better to have it and then lose it? Yes, yes, yes! Even though I lived with horrible bag lady fears of losing it all, now that those financial fears have materialized, I'm in pretty good shape and looking to what's next. Experiences--good and bad, exciting and boring, tragic and absurd--make up a life. Not to have lived to the fullest is the saddest, most irresponsible life I can think of."
--- from The Bag Lady Papers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401341183
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 02/16/2010
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 8.58(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alexandra Penney is an artist, best-selling author, and former editor-in-chief of Self magazine. She had a one-person show at Galerie in Berlin and her work was shown at Miami's Art Basel. She lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Glossary xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 December 11, 2008 5

Chapter 2 AAA-Activity Alleviates Anxiety 13

Chapter 3 There Is No Such Word as "No" 21

Chapter 4 Rich Bitch: MF + 24 HOURS 27

Chapter 5 Road Trip with "The Girls": MF + 2WEEKS 39

Chapter 6 Urgency at Ail Costs! 53

Chapter 7 There Is Such a Word as "No" 59

Chapter 8 The Copy Shop Collapse: MF + 4 WEEKS 67

Chapter 9 Change Is Good: My Fishmonger Days 75

Chapter 10 The Kindness of Friends and Strangers: MF + 5 WEEKS 87

Chapter 11 Everyone Has a Story to Tell 101

Chapter 12 If You Think You Have No Options, Think Again 113

Chapter 13 My New Life as a Person of Reduced Circumstances (PoRC): MF + 6 WEEKS 123

Chapter 14 How to Make love to a Man 133

Chapter 15 What Money Can and Can't Buy: MF + 7 WEEKS 143

Chapter 16 How to Heal a Broken Heart 153

Chapter 17 Real Estate Woes: MF + 2 MONTHS 161

Chapter 18 The Pink Ribbon 167

Chapter 19 What Can I Live Without?: MF + 9 WEEKS 181

Chapter 20 What the Bag Lady Really Fears 191

Chapter 21 How to Look and Feel Good When Recently Broke 199

Chapter 22 The Bag Lady Throws a Parry 209

Acknowledgments 217

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"[Penney] writes in an appealingly plainspoken way...about gaining a deeper appreciation of life in her reduced post-Madoff circumstances." —-The Wall Street Journal

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