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Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked

2.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,690 ratings  ·  366 reviews
A true story of obsessive love turning to obsessive hate, Give Me Everything You Have chronicles the author's strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of a former student, a self-styled "verbal terrorist," who began trying, in her words, to "ruin him." Hate mail, online postings, and public accusations of plagiarism and sexual misconduct were her weapons of choice and, as ...more
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Trish S The cover is not deceptive at all. The connection to the story is clear. The lion is the predator/stalker (Nasreen), the horse is the prey/victim (the…moreThe cover is not deceptive at all. The connection to the story is clear. The lion is the predator/stalker (Nasreen), the horse is the prey/victim (the author). I didn't see any reference to the painting in the book. (less)

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La Petite Américaine Cash App: $Covid2020sucks
Changing this from 1 to 5 stars, based on the author's writing alone. The few relevant phrases from my original review should explain why quite easily. See below:

"...beautiful writing"

"adored...his cross country train trip, his reflections on D.H. Lawrence, his beautiful retelling of Sir Gawain"

"A genius writer..."

"I loved it and couldn't put it down. My God, what a writer."


Obviously, I thought the book was fantastic, but I had some problems with it that I couldn't articulate without going i
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Given that this is a true story, it is a horrifying piece of work. Lasdun is forced to relive the moments leading up to and during a verbal online assault on him, his family, his publisher, his employers, and his work by a demented student. An individual has no real protection from defamation, and the problem continued for years, infecting every version of himself as Lasdun twisted and turned, desperate to avoid the slings and arrows…This book was published in 2013. Lasdun met his aggressor in 2 ...more
[I reread this to compare it with the account self-published by Afarin Majidi, the stalker he refers to as “Nasreen” here. I was slightly less impressed this time around: the technology talk feels outdated, the sections on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and a trip to Israel are less than relevant, and the tone is at times too defensive and self-referential. But the heart of the book – the bewilderment at being a victim of character assassination and the lingering paranoia based on years of hara ...more
This is a disturbing story of cyberstalking. Lasdun was a fiction professor who was "verbally terrorized" by a former student, called Nasreen, who became obsessed with him and vowed to ruin his life. Not only did she threaten him and his family, sometimes using anti-Semitic language, but she also threatened his publisher, his colleagues and other writers.

Nasreen also made scathing accusations against him, posting hateful comments on Amazon, Goodreads and magazines where Lasdun published his wor
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm adding this so I don't forget it. I'm going to need to let my review simmer for a while. Probably have to get bourbon-buzzed again to try to recapture the brilliant discourse I was laying on my husband about this book the other night.

Okay, so on the one hand, I am trying to sympathize with Lasdun. It seems to me that there’s a slight yet very real danger present in befriending someone that isn’t often acknowledged; Lasdun even includes a helpful George Eliot quote to illustrate: “The last t
Will P
Aug 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
This reads more like an attempt to clear the author's name than the exploration of the psychology and mechanics of stalking in the modern age that I was hoping for.

Lasdun conspicuously avoids telling the reader if he was attracted to Nasreen when they first met. And the way he sort of internally recognizes and enjoys Nasreen's flirtation and romantic feelings, while outwardly ignoring them... I've done that before. When I started receiving post-rejection nasty emails and floods of texts and inst
Apr 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book left me feeling unsettled, but not for the reason I thought it would. The stalking of James Lasdun, though by all accounts horrible, unpleasant, professionally and personally damaging, and undeserved seemed to be more of a vehicle for the novel or memoir that Lasdun wanted to write but for whatever reason, was unable to. We get hints of it throughout the book: his father as an architect, his life as a teacher, a visit to the Western Wall in which he attempts to "reconcile" with or conn ...more
I first read this book back in 2013. I had a great deal of sympathy for the author, as I had four creepy men oozing their way around the outskirts of my life at that time and I was struggling to cope with the situation. Fortunately for me, none of them was nearly as persistent or proactive as the woman who troubled Mr. Lasdun.

On re-reading this volume, I was struck by two things. First, that the events in this book took place before we were really familiar with things like public shaming on the
May 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
What a waste of a good intellect. The author is so bright yet staggeringly clueless about what he did to exacerbate the stalking situation, and I did not enjoy his pointless mind trips about the nature of anti-semitism and how stalking is depicted in literature. If he spent just a fraction of his efforts looking inside himself to explore how he not only failed to discourage the stalker, how he missed countless opportunities to nip the situation in the bud, it might have been more enjoyable to re ...more
Fiona MacDonald
This account of the cyber-terrorist attack on a writer by his former pupil sounded such an interesting read. As a former victim or stalking I really find it therapeutic to read accounts from other people, and have done so for years. Fascinating to see how differently stalkers operate on their victims. But sadly the author seemed more interested in rambling about completely pointless and unconnected stories than about focusing fully on what happened to him. I would say roughly that the book is 25 ...more
Ina Cawl
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
the best book to tell what it means to be stalked in the internet
Apr 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Ugh. If you're in the mood for a rambling narrative full of self praise and the author's own endless attempts to prove his intelligence, with a story that really goes...nowhere, this is the book for you. I'm troubled, too, by the lack of the author's own emails. We see many excerpts from Nasreen's emails, but few (if any) of the author's own. Instead, he tells us what he wrote to her, but doesn't provide the proof. It's a quick read, made quicker by the fact that you can skip dozens of pages at ...more
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I'm only halfway through this book but I have very strong thoughts and opinions concerning the hundred or so pages that I have read.

Let me begin...

This is a manual on how NOT to write a memoir.

This is also a good example on how you shouldn't rebuild your reputation if your good name is besmirched. For that, try google. Google probably has much better tips than James Lasdun's sad attempt at vindicating himself.

I'll tell you what this book is actually about. This is a book on how to make your read
Janna L. Goodwin
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
To take Lasdun's gripping account of being terrorized, online, by a former student as a mere true crime, autobiographical thriller (in which the writer, according to some reviewers, makes inexplicable forays into literature, history and religious politics) is to miss the point entirely. Give Me Everything You Have is a terrific story, beautifully told. It's also a courageously transparent, insightful, rich and incisive exploration of our unsettled and unsettling lives. Painfully, deeply relevant ...more
Heather V  ~The Other Heather~
[UPDATE - Four-plus years after reading this book and posting this review I received an unexpected comment. In case it's not still there when you, fellow Goodreader, happen upon this, here is the link to which it directed me: Just wanted to leave this here.]

It feels disingenuous somehow to give such a low rating to a book written by a man who is still being cyber-stalked by his form
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book written by James Lasdun and consequently, it is difficult for me to assign it a rating. The title is what initially caught my attention but I discovered that the title is actually a bit misleading. The story related in these pages refers to specific form of stalking… cyberstalking. According to Norton Security Center, cyberstalking is "the use of technology, particularly the Internet, to harass someone. Common characteristics include false accusations, threa ...more
Mar 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Purports to be a story of how the author was stalked and the effect on his life. Instead, it's a navel-gazing comp lit essay with a few tidbits of crazy emails scattered throughout. I skipped about 1/4 of it because it meanders off into COMPLETELY UNRELATED stories about his travels to Provence, or to Santa Fe, or to Jerusalem. No story arc. No real feeling that the author was ever actually in danger. BORING. ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
It only stands to reason that when a book is titled Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked, that the content is, indeed, about being stalked.

James Lasdun, though, has a far more ambitious agenda. This book, in his own words, is a “larger story woven from memories, journeys, portraits, observations – all the stray psychic material that had been drawn into orbit around the drama that had monopolized my consciousness for more than three years now.”

It’s important, I believe, for the reader to
Mar 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Chilling, brave, captivating.

I heard about this book on Fresh Air, where it was reviewed by a college professor (like James Lasdun). She got my attention when she pointed out that James Lasdun has lived and documented every professor's -- every writer's -- worst nightmare.

I was riveted by most of the book, especially Lasdun's descriptions of "Nasreen's" descent into all-out obsession and no-holds-barred harassment of him, and then his colleagues and family. Having been stalked (to a lesser deg
Ross McGovern
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well I liked this, and I'm glad to have read it. There's a vague question mark over Lasdun's apparent lack of culpability, and other reviewers have brought it up, but he does talk about having his own sense that he must somehow deserve the shadow of guilt which now follows him around. That it's still possible to question him I'd suggest is down to the fact that this is a true and therefore messy story, and more valuable for that. Besides, if it were the story of a woman pursued aggressively by a ...more
Nina Lane
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a starkly honest and gripping memoir about James Lasdun's experience with an obsessive former student, Nasreen, who tries to "ruin" him with a virulent cyber-stalking campaign involving anti-Semitic rants and accusations of plagiarism. Lasdun's attempts to make sense of the obsession by drawing connections between it and his favorite pieces of literature is fascinating, as is his own self-scrutiny.

Lasdun questions his own culpability in the course of events ("Was I an objective, impartia
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
You know a book is written by an English professor when, midway through the book, it veers suddenly into a fifty-page-long analysis of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Tracy Miller
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
I just skimmed this book from about 2/3 through to the end. I got it because I thought it would be interesting to hear about how and why this man was pursued by an internet stalker. What is really interesting about the story though is trying to understand why this woman would do it. Unfortunately, we never get any insight into that though - because this is not the stalker's story, it is the stalkee's. And while at first you sympathize with his plight and admire the insight he makes into himself ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Well I thought this would be fascinating but the only interesting and/or moving writer in this book is Nasreen (the stalker). A crowning moment for me was when James Lasdun decides, you know, in his own non-medical opinion, that she is NOT mentally ill because if she were ill then he wouldn't really feel justified in writing a book about her. Um. Nice try. ...more
Robin Sachs, my favorite reader of all time narrates this book which is how I came upon James Landon's frightening and astonishing memoir of being stalked (for years!) by a former student. The writing is exquisite. Most of the time I felt like I was in a bad dream. The sideline excursions to the main tale were very interesting although a bit random. ...more
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
I am surprised by the low ratings here since, from what I have seen, this is Lasdun's best-known book. It seems that a lot of readers thought that the author was too self-centered and failed to come clean or acknowledge that his own actions may have triggered the traumatic events described in the book. I do not agree, but I do admit to having some mixed feelings about it. Some sections go on a little too long and the stalker's crazed, frantic messaging does grow repetitive. Usually I am very int ...more
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
"On Being Stalked," the subtitle of James Lasdun's memoir Give Me Everything You Have, hints at a storyline that is thrilling and suspenseful; the tiny little envelope accompanying this subtitle, which also happens to be the only image on the entire cover, hints at the opposite. Stalking is a lurid crime based on obsession, drive, and more often than not delusion, something rare that requires planning to be done successfully. Mail, whether physical or digital--daily or instantaneous, based in bu ...more
Allison Floyd
I need to let my final reaction to this book marinate for a bit, I think. I will say that I initially thought it was brilliant and was sharply disappointed by the end. Which feels like an utterly bizarre thing to say about someone's narrative of being unrelentingly verbally and psychologically terrorized for five years, and counting. Lots going on here, some of it compelling, a good deal of it less so, especially as the book progresses. Textually dense and rather inscrutable when his gaze is tur ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
To have someone stalk you must be incredibly scary and frustrating. I was really riveted by the story of how a seemingly innocent acquaintance wormed her way into the author's life and terrorized him (and continues to do so). Unfortunately I don't think Lasdun does himself any favors in the way the story unfolds. While the literary musings didn't bother me, some sort of more straightforward timeline of events and better explained direct attempts to shake "Nasreen" from his life would have made f ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Lasdun's GIVE ME EVERYTHING YOU HAVE: ON BEING STALKED (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, March, 2013) is a paradox of a book. Lasdun walks the reader through the experience of being stalked by a student he meets while teaching in an MFA program in New York. Though initially quiet and reserved, by Lasdun's assessment, "Nasreen" (as he calls her) devolves over time into a (by her own definition) "verbal terrorist" who reveals herself to be an unstable, possibly bi-polar disaster, waivering between a ...more
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James Lasdun was born in London and now lives in upstate New York. He has published two novels as well as several collections of short stories and poetry. He has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and short-listed for the Los Angeles Times, T. S. Eliot, and Forward prizes in poetry; and he was the winner of the inaugural U.K./BBC Short Story Prize. His nonfiction has been published in Harpe ...more

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