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Irritable Hearts


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About the Author

Mac McClelland is the author of For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question. She has written for Reuters, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, the New York Times Magazine, and the New York Times Book Review, among other publications, and won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the Online News Association, the Society of Environmental Journalist, and the Association for Women in Communications. Her work has also been nominated for two National Magazine Awards for Feature Writing and has been anthologized in the Best American Magazine Writing 2011, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011, and Best Business Writing 2013.


"Mac Mc Clelland has reported from crisis zones like Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but in her memoir Irritable Hearts she chronicles a crises she can't leave behind. McClelland learned she had post-traumatic stress disorder only hours after her return from Haiti, where she covered the aftereffects of the devastating January 2010 earthquake. She quickly came to understand the true cost of working in a zone of catastrophic hardship--even those who are not directly affected are damaged...In search of answers, McClelland executed an inward dive into her own history....In the process she draws a valuable portrait of what it is like to live with PTSD...When McClelland brings the subjects of her interviews into the frame of her book, it is then that Irritable Hearts reveals its own warm, beating heart... Irritable Hearts striking candor will win McClelland the empathy she deserves." --Sonia Faliero, The New York Times Book Review

"That we are as strong as we are frail is the most profound of many truths rising out of Mac McClelland's astonishing Irritable Hearts. In her unforgettable memoir, McClelland begins to unravel her experience with PTSD while falling in love, traversing the globe and trying to understand both how the mind breaks and what it takes to heal in a world where all too often, we are constantly faced with how terribly vulnerable we are." --Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of AN UNTAMED STATE and BAD FEMINIST

"McClelland's deft, emotionally engaged memoir of her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder and her marriage to a man she met while reporting in Haiti is worth the wait...A vivid writer, building her trip to Haiti in sharp detail. And when she begins to fall apart afterward, her jagged emotions are genuinely harrowing to experience. As much as the love story at the heart of the book is a great romance, it's also a very funny one. McClelland is not the sort of person who needs to idealize either herself or the man who became her husband. It's a grown-up relationship story. And as a bonus, "Irritable Hearts" has a section on trauma and triggers that adds useful context to many of our present debates about discourse on the Internet." --Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post

"In her second book...McClelland returns to terrain she has covered before to great acclaim and great criticism: herself-specifically, her battle with PTSD following a reporting trip to post-earthquake Haiti in 2010. She unsparingly recounts her struggles to cope with the lingering effects of trauma: nightmares, sobbing fits, alcoholism. McClelland weaves these details into the telling of her own unexpected love story, the charming and jagged particulars of which left me, by the book's end, unexpectedly exhausted." --Ian Gordon, Mother Jones

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