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Stripping Down: A Memoir

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  123 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
“I feel the weight of the hammer from the dusty workbench in my sweaty palm and hit the padlock. My heart thumps in my bony chest. I listen for the humming sound of my mother’s car backing into the driveway. I hit again. I listen. The lock pops open.”

At twelve years old, everything changed for Sheila with the discovery of her estranged father’s porn collection. Found locke
Paperback, 282 pages
Published February 9th 2012 by Pink Fish Press
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Mar 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
In 27 years of reading, this is my least favorite narrator & main character ever. Sadly, she's a real person, as this isn't fiction. I have never been so disgusted by anything that I've read before, not even on bathroom walls.

Full disclosure: I was so excited to read this because I thought I'd relate to it. I was a nude model & stripper, and now I'm a married stay at home mother of an infant. I enjoyed modeling & dancing. I look back at the memories fondly, and I'm extremely gratefu
T.W. Brown
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Sheila Hageman's Stripping Down is an interesting read. That much I can say without any reservation. However, I guess I am from a different time. One of the problems I have with today's society is this whimpering, pass-the-buck, blame the world mentality that is so pervasive. Nowadays, everybody gets a participation trophy...coaches can't raise their voice... When did we stop being accountable.

The main theme here seems to be that, because the author found a box of Playboys as a young girl, she i
Anne D
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Twelve-year-old Sheila's discovery of her father's box of men's magazines is the driving event in her life, according to this memoir. Her lifetime of depression, anxiety, and feelings of insufficiency, lack of confidence, and probably her mother's breast cancer are all directly related to this one moment. The only time she seems to be "happy" is when she is nude and on stage, when men love and adore her.

The memoir is written mostly in the current tense, which makes for some confusion as the aut
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I just started this book and am about one third into it. I will reserve the right to amend my star rating. I belive it is more than a three star book. Athough never a stripper, I can relate as so many women can to the relationship so many of us have with our own bodies. How society creates an expectation of us that we learn as preteens. But this book is as much about Sheila's struggle with her body image as it is her journey of coming to terms with her relationships with her family, especially h ...more
Loretta Matson
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
What are we saying to girls when we unreservedly affirm their desire to make themselves attractive to men? Where does it lead? How far can it go? A woman plays one card, then another and another. How long can she go on before she runs out of cards? Sheila takes us to that place.

[Spoiler?] The climax of the story is when Sheila goes to work at a club where most of the rules are out the window, most of the dancers have fake tans and boob jobs, and will do pretty much anything. That's when we know
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a really fascinating read.

It's always great to examine yourself, but even more so when you're struggling through accepting so many things that just seem to snowball.

I love all of the life moments depicted - whether childhood, stripping, or the agonizing deterioration of her mother's condition. They all felt so real - and as a memoir that would be make sense - but particularly because I understand how stressful all of these events can be together and in just examining your life to help
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Raw and emotional, Stripping Down is more than a memoir--it's a fractal study of one woman's psyche, the pain put in place early, and the long quest for relief. For anyone who's ever struggled to understand themselves--and that's everyone--it's a must read.
Chelsea DeVries
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I feel as though I’ve seen Sheila Hageman naked. I don’t mean that in a dirty sense but Sheila has let it all hang out. I’ve seen the scars from her childhood where her dad gave her little attention before she watched him and her mother divorce. I’ve watched her brazenly announce at the age of nineteen,
to her mother and stepfather that she was going to become an exotic dancer. I’ve laid eyes on the stretch marks from giving birth and becoming a new mother all while having to watch her mother dyi
Laura Dennis
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Self-help and therapy through the vicarious experience of another's memoir? Guilty-as-charged for this reader.

Sheila Hageman's deeply personal, very revealing memoir expertly and delicately examines the nature of motherhood, perfection, and sexuality. It also deals with death--literal, and the figurative death of youth and innocence, while laying bare her fraught-yet-intoxicating experience in the world of stripping.

I am the first person to dislike self-absorbed blame-games in memoir. But, I am
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated. Sheila writes with great honesty and truth that quickly made me feel as though I was sitting down to coffee with a good friend; a vulnerable, messy, truth-speaking friend. That being said, there are some explicit scenes (she was a this should come as no surprise) that may be uncomfortable for some readers. Additionally, much like a good conversation - the book went back and forth between a few settings and experiences and did not ma ...more
Nicole G.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, memoir
A memoir from a woman who worked as a stripper starting in her late teens. The point is not salacious stories, rather exploring why she decided to take that road, the need to have male attention focused on her naked body. The title has two layers, her literal path as well as the figurative erasing of the layers she created to protect herself. It's also about love and loss, and motherhood. I really felt for her, although, to be honest, when I picked this up for free on kindle, I thought it was go ...more
Michelle (Michelle's Book Ends) Shealy
There was too much confusion back and forth from past to present to get a real feel for this story. It was analyzing every move she made, every mistake, more than a story line. I understand what she was trying to do, but I don't think it made for a very consistent read that would take the reader along with her. Better saved for a mental health professional. I was never really sure where the present things fit in with her past even though the chapters were labeled by age, she would suddenly discu ...more
Cathy Vandoske
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked the first part of the book where I tried to piece what was going to happen. The three story lines at first intrigued me. I like books that have this technique. I couldn't wait to see how they came together and fit together. Unfortunately, it jumbled together for me. R format worked for awhile but it was tough keeping everyone straight after a while. Towards the end I just wanted to finish it to be done, not because I was enjoying it.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Mrs. Hageman and I could not have had a more different experience through the post high school years, yet I felt like I was able to relate to her on many levels. The book is very raw and makes you feel like you are in Sheila's head for the duration of time it takes you to read the book. You feel like you are there at every experience and decision point in her life.

Excellent book and a great read. Highly recommended.
Tom Holehan
Mar 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a beautifully written and painfully honest memoir by a young woman taking stock of her life past and present. Hageman writes with a clear eye and paints a not always flattering picture of herself as wife/mother. I admired it greatly but must admit that given the subject matter - which also includes the death watch over her dying mother - it is not always an easy story to read.
Kim McNiel
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the first time I have read anything by Sheila, but I must say I was compelled to keep on reading, though at times it was hard. This memoir cuts into some deep emotions and decisions and life aspects that some take for granted, others would never admit to having. From the first chapter I was hooked and very proud of this author for telling such a powerful story.
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, feminist
I enjoyed the first third of the book and found it strong and a great start to revealing a difficult past, but then the rest of the book became repetitive. Her thoughts were always the same and she was always feeling sorry for herself. After awhile, it was hard to empathize with her anymore and at that moment, the memoir became dull.
Kristen Byers
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this memoir. I enjoyed how the flashbacks are integrated. However, I have a hard time identifying with depressed protagonists and disliked the way the book seemed to come to a hasty conclusion without the main character resolving all of her conflicts.
Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books
Bumped this up to 3 stars, but owuld have got a 2 1/2 if I could do that. I liked it but it was also just ok. A life memoir from Sheila Hageman, she tells her story of being a stripper and how she feels she got there but also got out. Written quite well, but a little too self hating.
This is a memoir. Not something I normally would read. But very well done, with the exception of the bouncing back and forth from her past to her present... sometimes I had to go back and see where I was.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Liked it because she gee up in the same area we live
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
this took a while to read, not something I would normally read, not one I would recommend. I do applaud her for the courage to tell the story and finally finding and accepting herself.
Shannon Harter
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I felt like she jumped around too much. It was hard to keep track. About half way through it did get interesting and I loved the ending.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A lovely, well-written memoir about coming to terms with family, self, and clinical depression.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent .
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sheila's book had me thinking about how I valued my own feminity and sexuality and how closely entertwined it has often been with my own depression and identification. A really good read.
rated it it was ok
May 20, 2017
rated it liked it
Mar 09, 2013
Amy Jividen
rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2017
rated it liked it
May 15, 2016
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“Women talk a good talk, but they still feel the need to wear heels, shave their legs, and bat their eyelashes for men. They cook, clean, raise children, and feel the need to look good in a bathing suit. Career women are not featured in the magazines lined along the grocery checkout.” 3 likes
“I’m feeling a low regarding writing. I sometimes think I should finish working on my book of stripper poetry that I started, but other times I feel like it’s not worth it. Sometimes I think I should work on my comic book idea, and then other times I want to work on a website, and still other times I think I should be working on this memoir. That’s a lot of thinking about writing without a whole lot of writing going on.” 1 likes
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