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Much to Your Chagrin

Much to Your Chagrin

A Memoir of Embarrassment

Suzanne Guillette was twenty-nine and the proud owner of a freshly inked MFA when she began to work on her first book—a collection of embarrassing moments gathered from family, friends, coworkers, and strangers on the street. Stories poured in about every possible type of gaffe, from wardrobe malfunctions (widespread) to romantic misunderstandings (ditto), and from office faux pas (common) to bodily fluid mishaps ( distressingly common). Everyone Guillette talked to was enthusiastic about her clever project—and no one more so than Jack, the wry, handsome literary agent who Guillette thought might just be her soul mate.

But as time marched on, Guillette began to realize that her oh-so-cheerful study of other people’s embarrassing moments might just be, instead, a way to avoid looking at the deeper, more uncomfortable truths behind her own.

Like her increasingly frequent need to sneak out of work (at a health agency, natch) for a “quick smoke” to settle her nerves. Or her stubborn ability to ignore the reality that her fairytale romance with Jack was imploding in a truly spectacular fashion. When Guillette accepted that the story she was meant to tell was not others’ but her own, Much to Your Chagrin was born.
Choose a format:
  • Atria Books | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416585992 | 
  • September 2014
List Price $25.99
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Video

Author Suzanne Guillette: Revealed

Suzanne Guillette talks about some of her favorites.

About the Author

Suzanne Guillette
Photo Credit: Ingalls Photography

Suzanne Guillette

Suzanne Guillette lives in Manhattan. This is her first book.

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Author Revealed

Suzanne Guillette
Q. how did you come to write Much to Your Chagrin?

A. When I started collecting the embarrassing stories of strangers, I must admit: I didn't really take this project seriously. But, as things in my own life started to unravel, I couldn't help but feel an unlikely resonance with this question I was asking others and the truths I seemed to be hiding from myself. At the end of that year, I barely recognized myself. So, if all books begin with a question, mine was, "What the hell happened?" And this line of inquiry drove the writing, from start to finish. This whole time, I wrote as if this manuscript would never see the light of day--an attitude which, more or less, saved me from feeling embarrassed about certain things all over again. My main goal in writing the book was for healing purposes, not publication. Then, after I finished the first draft--which was a truly embarrassing 600-pages--I realized that since this process had been healing for me, then it might be of value to other people. That's my hope.

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