It’s hard to tell the truth about ourselves. It opens us up to being judged and rejected. We spend so much time hiding what we’re ashamed of, denying what we’re wounded by, and portraying ourselves as competent, successful individuals, that we don’t always realize where and when we’ve gone missing. In that, I don’t think I am alone.
When Liz Phair shook things up with her musical debut, Exile in Guyville — making her as much a cultural figure as a feminist pioneer and rock star—her raw candor, uncompromising authenticity, and deft storytelling inspired a legion of critics, songwriters, musicians, and fans alike. Now, like a Gen X Patti Smith, Liz Phair tells the story of her life and career in this haunting memoir that reveals the stubborn moments that have stayed with her.
For Phair, horror is in the eye of the beholder – in the often unrecognized universal experiences of daily pain, guilt, and fear that make up our humanity. Illuminating despair with hope and consolation, tempering it all with her signature wit, Horror Stories is immersive, taking readers inside the most intimate junctures of Phair's life, from facing her own bad behavior and the repercussions of betraying her fundamental values, to watching her beloved grandmother inevitably fade, to undergoing the beauty of childbirth while being hit up for an autograph by the anesthesiologist.
Horror Stories is a literary accomplishment that reads like the confessions of a friend. It gathers up all our isolated shames, bringing us together in our shared imperfection, uncertainty, and cowardice, smashing the stigma on not being in control. But most important, as Horror Stories transforms these deeply personal moments into tales about every one of us, it also asks questions about how we cope with regret and culpability—how we break their spell, and leach them of their power over us.