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It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  405 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
In this original collection, critically acclaimed female writers pull back the curtain on being twenty-something. Entertaining and enlightening, this anthology speaks honestly about that unique time in life when expectations are not always realized, yet surprises are plentiful and thrilling.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 3rd 2007 by 5 Spot (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jan 17, 2009 Sierra rated it did not like it
This was a terrible book, for me anyway. It should be called "26 Truths About Life In Your Twenties if You Live In New York City and You Want to be a Writer" because all the authors wrote about was city life and how they finally ended up realizing their dreams of being writers. There was absolutely no advice or comfort in here for me.
Mira Domsky
Nov 26, 2008 Mira Domsky rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I admit I didn't read the entire book cover to cover, but it's a collection of essays, so I figured I could get away with it. Each essay tells of the trials and tribulations of being a recent college grad in today's world. It was a little one sided as all the essays were written by female authors. Despite the biased perspective, I still found it comforting to read about how disappointing it was for other people to graduate from college and find out that no one cares. Even twenty-somethings with ...more
Aug 15, 2010 Kim rated it liked it
The danger of collecting a series of essays from people in their 30s about life in their 20s is that the tone walks a fine line between helpful and condescending. The people that concentrated more on the end result of living "the life" in New York City (where almost everyone in the book seemed to live) were less helpful. But there were some great nuggets in the book that I really related to, like:

"Making friends in a new town when you're twenty-four isn't the same as making friends in school. Un
Dec 29, 2011 Anna rated it it was ok
The first couple of sections were great, but the ones on love and friendship got really upsetting. Some of the essays were just miserably heteronormative and very hard to relate to, as someone whose romantic life and friendships have always been non-standard. Frequent references to the sorts of people who you just don't consider partners (almost never based on personality), or "every girl needs a gay guy friend," or "men and women can't relate without men wanting sex," or...any number of things ...more
Dec 30, 2008 Elizabeth rated it liked it
While mostly cliche, there are some nuggets here--especially the interesting concept of our generation suffering from a quarter-life crises as opposed to the traditional mid-life one. Comparatively, it makes sense. Generation Y (or whatever bracket I fall into) suffers from the luxury of abundance (affluenza, if you will) and have too many options in front of us. Whereas our grandparents worked with the same company for fifty some odd years and got the golden watch retirement package, we flit fr ...more
May 24, 2008 Rose added it
Shelves: 2008
This was an uncomplicated read that adapted well to snatched sessions of reading-as-distraction during lunch at work and racking up the minutes of cardio in the gym. Many of the contributors are very deeply annoying, but it's a fun read, especially if you're able to be amused by others' self-obsession. I can't really say that any were really truths about my "life in your twenties", and I don't really think I'd identify with the essays more as I experience more of life in my twenties. Nonetheless ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it
Very entertaining and insightful. I've heard the complaint that all the essays are from writers, and not just your average run-of-the-mill woman looking back on her 20's (or in her 20's), but of course writers are often more insightful than just your average chick and often funnier. I related to a lot of it, and it was a nice feeling to know I wasn't alone as I struggled to figure out what I've been doing for the last decade. I'm happily moving on to my next. That's right--I'm actually looking f ...more
Jul 28, 2010 lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: used-to-be-mine
some of these stories were wonderful and inspiring and made me feel less alone in thw world, and some of these stories were about how people were JUST LIKE carrie bradshaw. i did not read the second type. i also did not read the one that was about how men and women can't be friends (fuck you, i am not defined by my vagina) and stopped reading a few more that were just about how the writer needed a man in her life.
May 09, 2013 Regina rated it it was amazing
I wanted to a wait a day before writing my review on this and I'm glad I did. I think I needed some time to reflect on the various stories and life lessons this book had to offer. I'm at the age where 1) a quarter-life crisis seems totally possible to me, 2) most of my friends seem to have their shit together on a level I find difficult to comprehend, and 3) I've made a lot of life-altering decisions in the last few years ranging from boyfriends to crosscountry moves that very few of my acquaint ...more
Sep 28, 2013 Bethany rated it really liked it
I don't generally like books in this format. A friend had a copy of it and gave it to me to read when she moved. This one was fun, didn't feel like a self-help book, but offered reassurance that whatever path you are on in life is probably just fine. There were a few chapters that spoke directly to me, credit card debt, having male friends, being a nomad.... And I feel like there is enough variety that there will be essays for every girl in this book. Especially living in the midwest, where the ...more
This book contains a healthy dose of realism with a hearty dash of hope. I enjoyed reading this collection of essays because I fit the demographic to a large extent. I'm in my twenties, on the verge (half a year from now) of going out there into the Real World. As with many of the lovely authors, I'd be ecstatic if my future job would allow me to read and write as my whims and fancy strikes me. But I know life doesn't always pan out how we wish, so it's great reading about women who experienced ...more
Nov 24, 2008 Heather rated it it was ok
Recommended to Heather by: Claire/Mom
Shelves: adult
This was a relatively low ** for me. There were a few moments I really enjoyed when I would have considered a 3, but more that I was bored or annoyed and considered a 1.

First of all, there are not 26 truths, but something like 5 "myths" and then short stories that fall into the myth "categories" that do not have clear-cut "truths." For some reason that was really annoying to me - I felt like it was false advertising before I even started the book.

As I said above, there were a few moments where I
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My favorites are: Twenty-eight is the New Eighteen, Girls Can Do Anything!, I Can't Have Sex with You and Twenty-nine Year Old Nomad Seeks Home.

Fair warning: I enjoyed this book because I could relate to the Helpless Writer theme.
Lisamarie Landreth
It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties is a collection of 26 essays by twenty-something survivors that reads more chic-lit memoir than inspirational self-help manual. The message: "Life is continually evolving, and the search for self rarely culminates in a tidy, perfect bow." My favorite stories were "The One That Got Away" for it's depth and truth, and "The F-word" for it's juxtaposition of hilarity and relatability. The books ends hauntingly with the final author unpackin ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Shawna rated it liked it
I read this just in the nick of time. Since I was barely holding on to my 20s at the time. Even though I was twenty-nine this book no longer applies to me. Since my life appears to be following the track of "people who know what they are doing and have a plan." That is completely bogus though. I was just luckily enough to snag a spouse with a plan. I wish I knew about this book when I was 24, when I was more unsure, less established, and really had no freakin idea.

I liked the short stories. I n
Dec 30, 2010 Margaret rated it it was ok
This book had all the right ingredients for me to love it - female-centric, short stories, multiple perspectives - but fell short. I was frustrated by the similarity in end points of the protagonists - all wound up as authors, editors, etc. I suppose, given that they were short stories written BY the protagonists, I should have been able to guess that in the beginning...hindsight is twenty-twenty. Definitely worth the read if you have a literary ambition of your own, but otherwise I think it pla ...more
Sep 06, 2007 Amy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone going through a quarter life crisis
Shelves: mustread, non-fiction
The only complaint I had about this book was that every "truth" was written by a writer. I would have liked to see more variety as these women came to their epiphanies and were able to acheive their dreams. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the book and found it to be both empowering and positively depressing (if there is such a thing) at the same time. I say positively depressing because it would do me little good to have another motherly book to hold my hand and tell me that everything will be ok ...more
Allison Arthur
Jan 10, 2011 Allison Arthur rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me by a friend who is sick of listening to me question myself and my progress in life. She said "It's a Wonderful Lie" is insightful and makes you feel better about being a woman in your twenties. I'm not sure I agree. While the handful of authors do stress the fact that not having a solidified game plan in your 20's is okay, I am now terrified that I won't figure out my life until I turn the big 3-0. So, if you're a woman in your twenties and are looking for affirma ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Cassi rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Can we please just give half stars already??

Some cute stories, some downright awful. (i.e. the story where the credit card is talking to the girl "we have had such great times together"- I mean, I would have thought that was a novel concept when I was about 8. Needless to say, I am not 8).

Nothing terribly insightful; the stories in the second half of the book were probably twice as good (with an exception here and there, the first half were pretty bad), and some funny scenes overall.
Oct 22, 2007 nina rated it liked it
Recommends it for: girls experiencing quarterlife crises
Shelves: memoir
This is a collection of essays from 26 mostly chick-lit authors about being in your twenties and usually living in New York though never the glamorous life you expected.

While it was nice to know that the disappointment from lofty expectations was not uncommon, I wonder if this book leaves readers overly optimistic. Afterall, these women were selected because they overcame the odds and became successful bookwriters.

Great pick-me-up, but one can only read so many epiphanies in one sitting.
May 24, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it
Cute and fun. Some stories were more fun than others. Obviously I held on to this past my twenties, but would be a good book for a gal in her twenties feeling lost or stuck.
Deanna Beaton
Mar 28, 2013 Deanna Beaton rated it it was amazing
This book is definitely not for everyone. But it is for me, and I love, love, love this book.

Since I'm (embarrassing to say) currently going through my own quarter life crisis right now, this book is exactly what I need. It doesn't have answers, necessarily, but it lets me know I'm not alone. Which is probably the most cliched thing I've ever said. But ya know what, I'm not ashamed, because this book--even if only momentarily--helped me feel better about where I am in my life.
Jul 26, 2007 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 20 and 30 somethings
Everyone goes through the same crap as they get older and gain experience. My twenties so far have been all about ups and downs, dreams and reality. We make goals, lose sight of them, achieve them and modify them. I enjoyed this book because it really spoke of how the rest of the 20 and 30 somethings came through this transitional period known as "your twenties". It was funny, insightful, entertaining and easy to relate to. Great read!
Jul 31, 2007 Deehan is currently reading it
Recommends it for: the girls with hope
Masih dalam tahap membaca.. ngerasa "jalan" barengan sama buku ini.. the exact feeling, the exact hopes, exact naive feeling towards the world and yet that is still the one thing that keep us going..
MEANT for something BIG, working life is elegantly beautiful, own money to spend like crazy, beutiful and branded wardrobe, and a damn good place to call my own VS real world..lets face them gurls, nothing is that beautiful!
Mar 08, 2010 Jodi rated it did not like it
Only read the first few stories in this book. I really liked the premise of the book and thought it would be kind of fun to read it right before I turned 30 this year but I just did not relate to the stories in the beginning of the book at all. I think they are aimed a bit more toward women living in large cities, not someone like me in a small town in the midwest.
Sep 04, 2007 Julia rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
There's something to be said for a book that'll take a day or two to read. A lot of the essays were poignant, but overall, this anthology made me feel like I should be having a quarterlife crisis like every single neurotic contributor to the collection. Which maybe I should be, but I think crises are best when they arise organically, as opposed to literary-induced.
Nov 03, 2009 Chelsea rated it it was ok
When a coworker gave me this book I was hesitant about touching what I thought was a self-help book. But one night when I got bored enough I picked it up and found the first few stories (sadly so?) to be just the situation I was in. It was a cute read - a bit overly cliche (in both writing and "moral of the story") but a quick pep talk never hurts anyone.
Jun 13, 2007 Amy rated it liked it
just finished this one-- a collection of averagely-written gripes about being in your 20s and not having your shit together. some were good, some better than others-- and most had something i could glean from them. worth a read if you're feeling depressed about your shitty apartment, shitty social life, shitty job or anything else sub-par in your life.
Aug 01, 2012 Beccasue rated it it was ok
I tried to read this book. Really, I did, but it really felt like the essays were written by the characters of Girls. I would occasionally come upon something slightly relatable, but not being a hipster in the big city, I found that most of it didn't apply to me. The one bright spot I found was "I Can't Have Sex With You". That one was hysterical.
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Growing up, Emily Franklin wanted to be “a singing, tap-dancing doctor who writes books.”

Having learned early on that she has little to no dancing ability, she left the tap world behind, studied at Oxford University, and received an undergraduate degree concentrating in writing and neuroscience from Sarah Lawrence College. Though she gave serious thought to a career in medicine, eventually that ca
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