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Lights On, Rats Out: A Memoir
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About the Author

Cree LeFavour is the author of several cookbooks, including the James Beard Award nominated Fish, published by Chronicle Books. She has Ph.D. in American Studies and taught writing at New York University.

Reviews

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2017, An Amazon Best Book of the Month Praise for Lights On, Rats Out "[LeFavour] exhibits a rare willingness to take the reader into difficult and sometimes unpleasant territory...a riveting account of a "particular kind of crazy" -- namely, the damaged and self-damaging young woman she once was...This is a courageous and unsettling memoir, infused with humor as well as pain, and marked throughout by a survivor's wry insight."--Daphne Merkin, New York Times Book Review "This gritty account of a woman's struggle with self-abuse describes nearly gothic suffering. It is also a love story about a dedicated and gifted analyst and his difficult but equally gifted patient. Courageous and unsettling, LeFavour's memoir is infused with humor and wry insight as well as pain."--Radhika Jones, New York Times, "11Books We Recommend this Week" "Shockingly intimate."--People Magazine "In her memoir of battling mental illness, Cree LeFavour uses the force of her blisteringly stark, mesmerizingly self-aware prose to not only unearth her own demons, but also equip the reader with the language to articulate our own as well."--Harper's Bazaar.com, "7 New Books You Need to Read in August" "Eloquent, irreverent, graphically precise."--Boris Kachka, Vulture, "8 Books You Need to Read in August" "A brave and honest memoir...sad and piercingly smart, making for an unforgettable read."--Bookreporter "In startling, beautiful language reminiscent of Plath, LeFavour details her horrific, masochistic impulses. In one chapter when LeFavour's sanity wavers, "splendid women" like Plath, Sexton, and Porcia Catonis appear in the psychiatric ward, acting both as ominous harbingers and beacons of hope. A searing, brilliant memoir revealing the therapeutic process and its ability "to turn our ghosts into ancestors." --Booklist (starred review) "A searingly eloquent and intelligent memoir."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Riveting...The memoir, based in part on medical records relinquished at the final session with [her psychiatrist] Dr. Kohl, chronicles LeFavour's deepening relationship with him; he served as her confidante and a "quasi" father figure, and she eventually fell in love with him. They both maintained professional boundaries and she honored her agreement to commit herself to a psychiatric hospital when she couldn't stop the burning. When the "lights" finally came on for this profoundly troubled young woman, she writes, she was able to release her shame and pain, and embrace a future of possibilities."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A harrowing, beautiful, searching, and deeply literary memoir. In these pages, we watch Cree LeFavour evolve from a wounded (and wounding) lost girl to a woman who can at last regard her existence with a modicum of mercy and forgiveness. To see somebody trade in her life of suffering and isolation for a life of shaky (but authentic) self-compassion is a gift. LeFavour takes no easy shortcuts on her path to healing--only because there are no easy shortcuts. Nor does she ever relinquish a molecule of her blindingly sharp intelligence as she guides us expertly through the mazes of her broken, youthful mind....I admire this book immensely--and its author even more."--Elizabeth Gilbert "Lights On, Rats Out is unlike anything I've ever read--a powerfully, staggeringly honest book that is excruciating in places, and also completely haunting. LeFavour's intimate account of her relationship with her psychiatrist is intensely compelling, forthright, and brave. Did he overstep? Was he somehow pulled in by her beyond what was therapeutically appropriate or helpful? This is a fascinating memoir in a category of its own."--Dani Shapiro "With chilled, unflinching precision, in Lights On, Rats Out, LeFavour lays bare her struggles with self-mutilation, chronicling a terrifying clash between mind and flesh. A vivid, unsettling, and powerful read."-- Jonathan Miles "In Lights On, Rats Out, Cree LeFavour writes of her struggles t feel she deserves a place in this world. This is one of the best books I have ever read about the drive for equilibrium and how transformative peace can be both for ourselves and our children."-- Darcey Steinke "Cree LeFavour's memoir of self-mutilation and temporary insanity isn't for the faint of heart. Rather, it's for anyone who's ever been too scared to feel or too hurt to register pain--in other words, all of us. I don't think I've ever read a more hopeful, searingly intelligent book about the distances we're capable of traveling as we find our way back to the light."--Adam Ross

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