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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

A dark romance evolves between a high-schooler and her English teacher in this breathtakingly powerful memoir about a young woman who must learn to rewrite her own story.

“Have you ever read Lolita?”

So begins 17-year-old Alisson’s metamorphosis from student to lover and then victim. A lonely and vulnerable high-school senior, Alisson finds solace only in her writing - and in a young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. North.

Mr. North gives Alisson a copy of Lolita to read, telling her it is a beautiful story about love. The book soon becomes the backdrop to a connection that blooms from a simple crush into a forbidden romance. But as Mr. North’s hold on her tightens, Alisson is forced to evaluate how much of their narrative is actually a disturbing fiction.

In the wake of what becomes a deeply abusive relationship, Alisson is faced again and again with the story of her past, from rereading Lolita in college to working with teenage girls to becoming a professor of creative writing. It is only with that distance and perspective that she understands the ultimate power language has had on her - and how to harness that power to tell her own true story.

Being Lolita is a stunning coming-of-age memoir that shines a bright light on our shifting perceptions of consent, vulnerability, and power. This is the story of what happens when a young woman realizes her entire narrative must be rewritten - and then takes back the pen to rewrite it.  

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books  

"Being Lolita is an unflinching depiction of grooming and a searing indictment of exploitative teachers, but most of all it’s an act of redemption - a powerful realization of Wood’s vow 'to do the little I can to make sure what happened to me doesn’t happen again.'" (Susan Choi, author of the National Book Award-winning Trust Exercise)

"Wood reminds us that stories still have the power to change the world. This is a fascinating story of survival and purpose, yet it is also a story of interpretation. How we read the world changes how we live in it. A fantastic debut." (Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased)

©2020 Alisson Wood (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

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Painfully, beautifully written

I heard Professor Wood on “Terrible, Thanks for Asking,” and immediately ordered this book. I was not disappointed...it’s impossible to put down, it’s beautifully read, and the language is lush and gorgeous. The honesty that underpins a dark, disturbing story is almost unbearable, as is the pain - both understood and not understood - by young Alisson as Mr. North draws her into his web. I appreciated the manner in which the author analyzed “Lolita” in the context of her experience, both as a teenager and then as a college professor, and in a larger societal sense. I recall as a college student that a woman who lived on my hall was dating her high school math teacher - and had been, openly, since she was 17. I was appalled, but also very sad for this young woman and the Corvette-driving jerk she came to college engaged to. I don’t know how things ended up for her, but I shiver anew that no one - her parents, her other teachers - didn’t see this for what it was - a deeply inappropriate and harmful manipulation of a child. This book should be required reading for every high school teacher - and maybe even every high school girl - so that there can be no question that such behavior isn’t romantic or a love between equals - it’s pedophilia, and it’s not okay.

2 people found this helpful

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Woah

Beautifully written, heart breaking and something that leaves you breathless- can’t recommend this book enough!

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Beautiful and Heartbreaking

Reading this was healing for me. I wasn’t sexually abused, but I was with a man who was the age difference that the characters were, and I heartbreakingly realize the manipulation tactics that he used. Even though there are years between now, and when we broke up, this book still added to my healing journey. I hope that I can pass on the lessons that I learned from, and empathy that I felt for Alisson to other people who may have been in a similar situation. Thank you, Alisson.

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Couldn’t hook me in

Tried to get into this book several times, but just got bored with the story going nowhere and the narrator voice put me to sleep- very monotone. Try My Dark Vanessa or Excavation instead. I only made it 2 hours in the story, so maybe it gets better?

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Soulful and Sincere

I loved this book for its honesty, fairness and final call to action. I admired the references and wordplay. Mostly I cried. I consider my own daughter's literary diet, and how best to develop her intellectual and emotional self-defense in the future.