I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying (Paperback)

Essays

By Bassey Ikpi

Harper Perennial, 9780062698346, 272pp.

Publication Date: August 20, 2019

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

A Bitch Magazine Most Anticipated Book of 2019 • A Publishers Weekly Spring Preview Selection • An Electric Lit 48 Books by Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019 • A Book Riot 21 Great Essay Collections from 2019 to Add to Your TBR • A Bella Naija 10 Books by African Authors We’re Definitely Reading in 2019

"We will not think or talk about mental health or normalcy the same after reading this momentous art object moonlighting as a colossal collection of essays.”     —Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

“Bassey Ikpi is a human miracle and I want to scream my joy from the rooftops that we are allowed to experience her journey.”     —Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Meaty

"A part of me was writing non-fiction short stories about things I remembered, while another part was preserving the lies I tell myself to ensure the truth doesn’t kill me. This book is about those truths and the ways in which we parcel fact in order to survive."

From her early childhood in Nigeria through her adolescence in Oklahoma, Bassey Ikpi lived with a tumult of emotions, cycling between extreme euphoria and deep depression—sometimes within the course of a single day. By the time she was in her early twenties, Bassey was a spoken word artist and traveling with HBO's Def Poetry Jam, channeling her life into art. But beneath the façade of the confident performer, Bassey's mental health was in a precipitous decline, culminating in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of Bipolar II.

In I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame, confusion, medication, and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives—how we appear to others, and more importantly to ourselves—and challenges our preconception about what it means to be "normal."  Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are—and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.



About the Author

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian-American writer, ex-poet, constant mental health advocate, underachieving overachiever and memoir procrastinator. She lives in Maryland with her soccer superstar son.  www.basseyikpi.com/

 



Praise For I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying: Essays

“The writing in I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying is wholly sincere and consistently slanted. That’s so hard to pull off. No writer in the country does as much with short soulful sentences as Bassey Ikpi.  We will not think or talk about mental health or normalcy the same after reading this momentous art object moonlighting as a colossal collection of essays.”
— Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

“Bassey Ikpi is a human miracle and I want to scream my joy from the rooftops that we are allowed to experience her journey (as an artist, as a black woman, as a black woman dealing with mental illness!) in her gorgeous book.”
— Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Meaty

“For over a decade, Bassey Ikpi has been a vital voice for those of us living with neurodivergence. Her words and work have been there through some of our darkest moments, whispering for us to allow ourselves morning, and her debut collection I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying gathers a lifetime of experience into a searing body of work. These true stories will engulf you, wring your heart out, and fill your chest with light. The writing is blade-sharp, precise and evocative, brilliant and graceful as it articulates an embodiment that has been both misrepresented and left unseen in our culture for far too long. Bassey is a storyteller to her bones and it shows. Read this book. Tell everyone you know to read this book. You have no idea how many people out there need these words.”
— Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater