‘NOT ME’, a MEMOIR by MARIANNE DISSARD
Readers’ ❤️Feedback & Reviews
Marianne Dissard writes beautifully, finding poetry even in the bleakest experiences, elevating and illuminating both in the process. This book reminded me a little of Burroughs, a little more of Knausgaard in its crack-like ability to make me want to pick it straight back up whenever I put it down. Often improbably funny, too, Not Me is without doubt one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Andrew Smith, Moondust and Totally Wired (UK)
Not just painfully honest, but viscerally, brutally honest. Marianne Dissard’s description of living with bulimia gives an uncomfortably physical riposte to the widely misheld idea that it is basically nipping off to the bathroom to throw up dessert. Lacking even the noxious fake glamour of anorexia, bulimia is exposed in all its controlling wretchedness as Dissard struggles with the condition, while at the same time managing independently to sustain an international career as a touring singer songwriter. This is not a manual for how to deal with bulimia—it is a struggle for survival, and ultimately self-acceptance.
John Parish, Let England Shake and How Animals Move (UK)
Good grief, this is amazing! I am offered a lot of stories of 'survival' and 'recovery', which tend to be messianic and, frankly, tedious, so I was at best open-minded, perhaps a little dubious, but your book is a knock-out. So frank and fluent and funny. Who else evokes a meditation retreat as pure purgatory? I was mentally climbing the walls.
Rose Shepherd, Saga Magazine, author Simon & Schuster
Shy, modest, steady, we follow the increments of a life, of deep time, of finding flaw and mystery. This is an inner record. You let us listen in on your most private negotiations. Survival has always been billed as heroic, but you show us that in survival - the difficult and secret task - is in how one faces the mundane: eating alone, living alone, talking to one's self. That's the power here.
The intimate dialogue, the language of a soul traveling.
Chris Rush, The Light Years
Thank you, from my heart, for sending me your memoir. I read the paperback almost as soon as it arrived. It's still haunting me, and I still don't know how to describe what I felt as I read it. It wasn't pleasant reading, but the language, your dense-intense style of writing, made it fascinating. You achieved a near-miracle in conquering a lifetime of bulimia - alone. Perhaps that is what struck me most, that you were so frighteningly alone.
Judith Edge, Matera Women Fiction Festival (Italy)
I have read many books on eating disorders but none have cut through like Marianne's, cut through, remained and fed into personal and professional thinking.
Mabelle Penaver / Counsellor BACP (British Association for Counsellors & Psychotherapists)
Just finished Marianne Dissard’s memoir (couldn't put it down once I started on Thurs) and was blown away by her writing and her story and her powerful vulnerability sharing her struggle with disordered eating. I knew she made great films and amazing music but had no idea what an incredible writer she is! Well, I *kinda* knew, because she wrote some great posts for Pyragraph, but this full-length memoir is just so lyrical and observant and beautifully written. Bravo to you Marianne for bravely opening yourself up and writing this compelling, excellent book! ❤️⚡️🔥
Peri Pakroo, editor-in-chief Pyragraph (USA)
Love your book 'Not Me' you are a mezmerizing writer, thank you.
Deirdre Saravia, Texas Public Radio (USA)
Being given such stark access to someone's private world could be disturbing (it is), should be uncomfortable (it can be), but when the internal dialogue is as frank and compelling as Marianne's, the overarching emotion it elicits is compassion. There's humour too, it's just dark...from banquets for one in a Parisian apartment to almost thriller like gastronomic chases through the backstreets of Palermo seeking fulfillment or a desire ultimately for nothingness...this is one very human story.
Shaun Hendry, Scaledown and Vacilando '68 (UK)
Incredible -- yes! The book bespeaks a degree of genius, a word I do not use lightly. Disguised as a contemporary take on one woman's attempt to regain life balance through yoga and self-awareness, the text is actually an existential howl on the order of Duras, Daumal, Bataille.
Great opening: You establish your heroine as boldly and as savagely as did Kate Braverman in "Lithium for Medea;" the seething self-hate and druggy, subjective sense of being entombed in flesh on par with "Guilty" by Georges Bataille. Wow! #notsurprised see why you bristled at my reference to gender, as book clearly pits you as violently opposed to being defined by your sex... or even corporeal form. Stunning bulimia passages read thru fingers; scene where 0 guests show at your party, you eat all the food and then vomit...I cried
Kurt Voss, director Border Radio (USA)
My overwhelming feeling was of reading something that I shouldn't be reading. Like stumbling across someone's secret diary at the bottom of a drawer. It isn't the sort of memoir that's designed to come across as 'raw' and 'honest' in a way that makes the writer look cool, it's actually genuinely honest to a degree that few people ever achieve even when writing purely for themselves. It's also refreshingly free of attempts to explain and justify and conceptualise, which only heightens the thrill of being privy to someone's private rather than public thoughts.
Raphael Mann, artist (UK)
The concordant celebration of food and sound was my first occasion to share a stage, and a meal, with Marianne Dissard. We performed at a now defunct Brooklyn establishment dedicated to offering immersive flights of new music and haute cuisine for an audience furtively outgrowing its punk-dive milieu. Marianne’s elastically idiosyncratic verve as a performer and documentarian belies a struggle with otherness and existence that her new memoir Not Me explores with honesty, humor and insight. The corporeal and psychic demands of a peripatetic life, from childhood to burgeoning success, is a universal tale. Family, food and music. Purpose and self-worth. Neither victim nor heroine, Marianne’s unfinished journey will leave you somewhat shocked, curious and resolutely hopeful.
Paul Wallfisch, Stadttheater Dortmund and Botanica (USA)
Visceral, explosive and ultimately uplifting, Dissard's is a story of true strength of character—the refusal to give up and the realisation that sometimes that is exactly what is needed.
Megan Garrett-Jones, Things With Words (UK)
An unflinching, lyrical, funny, unguarded translation of the subtext to orchestrating her public life as a performer, singer, songwriter, and yogini around her private world of bulimia. Marianne does not gently lift the veil, she pulls the whole contraption down that held it up for so many years to reveal, intimately, the weight of keeping her secret a secret. A fantastic and ultimately inspiring read.
Vicki Brown, Winter Garden and Sea And Trees (USA)
Really great writing - I didn’t know what to expect and I am impressed! To me it reads almost like a Murakami novel...jumping between scenes and times, but easy to follow with beautiful structure. I’m sure some people back in Tucson are reading selfishly to see if they spot a mention of themselves (I take pride in being a long limbed boy) but the book strikes a universal chord and should have broad appeal. Again, it reads like a novel, yet tells your story and will hopefully be a help to people who struggle with bulimia and depression. I didn’t know how you struggled as your outward persona was always very well put together. I’m sorry you went through these battles and I congratulate you for working through them and writing this very brave memoir. I look forward to finishing the book. You are a strong beautiful soul!
Arthur Vint (USA)
Exquisite book - it is very visual I find. I sit calmly and conjure up a yoga studio - a faintly lit yoga studio with you moving, metered, gently around the space breathing in its quietude. Your memoir deserves to reach a grande audience. It really does. May it fly.
Chris Hughes (UK)
I’ve already started your book and am finding it very good reading — one to sit proudly alongside the Patti Smith, Viv Albertine and Chrissie Hind memoirs. Funnily, so far the supple, unsparing writing style most reminds me of Richard Hell which has to be a good thing.
John Mount (UK)
It has made a great impression on me. I think that the book you wrote is very important and I will be recommending it to anyone who will listen. To read it would make anybody’s life richer. You did such a great job of articulating what is happening on the inside - it’s remarkable. Full of harshness and poetry. And what a journey! Thank you for sharing it.
Fabienne Bouville (USA)
I’m so impressed with your journey and the struggles you faced and are conquering. A councilor once told me: “Everyone has something”. We’re not alone with our issues. Your book is a gift for people like me and others who are trying to change things about ourselves.
Michael McMurchie (USA)
Thank you so much for sending “Not Me”. I was totally compelled reading it from the minute it arrived. What a fantastic brave book. I wish you every success on the publication. It is such a powerful and important story. You have a great gift as a writer. I hope you will be writing more.
Beatrix Wood (UK)
Your writing is so freaking fantastic, so eloquent and raw and visual and punkified and searingly honest. Nicely done!
Vicki Brown (USA)
Outstanding!!! Truly outstanding.
Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it so fearlessly.
It was such a bitter read, to learn this about you. My heart broke while reading what the voice in your head was saying to you - such hateful things to yourself. My wish for you (and me, and all of us!) is for that voice to start telling the truth of what a beautiful, creative and gutsy woman you are.
You found your way through such a challenging issue - you are even more of an inspiration to me! And your writing is fantastic, I really admired the way you paced your story and revealed things carefully along the way. You are a talented writer!
Again, thank you so much for sharing this part of yourself with me, it was a really good thing for me to read in my own journey.
Ingrid Irene (NZ)
I am still too much engaged with the book for a balanced response. But I can already say that I find the style truly magnificent. So far I had only known your lyrics, but had no idea how you sound in prose. So, I basically have to congratulate you to the delay of several years - the final product is EXTREMELY convincing to me.
Despite its subtitle, this is NOT a regular memoir. There is far too much literary quality in it; your lyrics must have rubbed off on the prose, I guess. It would have been a shame if you had rushed it just “to get it done”. I had started reading two other books before yours arrived, but I have now put those books down until after I'm finished with yours.
Besides the style, what's fascinating is, among other things, the careful psychological observations, inner monologues, and how everything is arranged and fits with the style. In that respect, your book reminded me a bit of Dostoyevski's novels. You may have read his fascinating book "The Gambler" - well, D. had had first-hand experience with this addiction and lost a lot of money that way before losing the habit as well. [If my nicotine-addicted brother had more practice reading English-language books, I would have him read your book].
When I first got interested in the book, I just knew it would become a memoir from someone who had been living in Tucson for a long time, and had started her career as a singer with Calexico (I once attended such a performance with you behind Hotel Congress), then Sergio Mendoza, and I remembered having seen you once or twice hanging out at the Epic cafe. [[Just arrived on the page where you mention the El Tiradito shrine - nostalgia!]] Plus I knew your albums and films, of course. It was only later that I learned there was bulimia involved, and yoga, both of which were 'alien' to me. So what I ultimately got was somewhat different from what I had expected in the beginning, but what a read! Actually, you don't really read such a book, you live with it!
Norbert Lutz (France)