My Misspent Youth is an incisive collection that marked the start of a new millennium and became a cult classic, from the editor of Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed and the author of The Unspeakable
An essayist in the tradition of Joan Didion, Meghan Daum is one of the most celebrated nonfiction writers of her generation, widely recognized for her fresh, provocative approach with which she unearths the hidden fault lines in the American landscape.
From her well remembered New Yorker essays about the financial demands of big-city ambition and the ethereal, strangely old-fashioned allure of cyber-relationships to her dazzlingly hilarious riff in Harper's about musical passions that give way to middle-brow paraphernalia, Daum delves into the center of things while closely examining the detritus that spills out along the way. With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her.
Praise for My Misspent Youth
“Meghan Daum is not an eccentric exhibitionist or a self-indulgent memoirist. Her world is suburban New Jersey girlhood, Vassar, publishing, and the disillusionment that results when the reality of one's life falls short of expectations. Daum approaches the first lesson of adulthood--that the prosaic will intrude on the fantastic every time--without ever dissolving into cynicism.” —The New York Times Book Review
“People I know still talk about Meghan Daum's 2001 debut essay collection, My Misspent Youth. Nobody writing about her generation was more incisive or entertaining than she.” —Sigrid Nunez
“For several years now, I've kept copies of some of these essays in a manila folder by my desk. When friends or colleagues ask if I know of any especially interesting new writers, I pull out the folder and head for the photocopier. Meghan Daum's essay 'Variations on Grief' is one of the most stunningly honest things I've ever read. And throughout this book, there are a surprising number of moments when your jaw just drops in amazement at what she's saying. Even when she's being funny, her writing has a clarity and intensity that just makes you feel awake.” —Ira Glass, host of This American Life