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Tonight I'm Someone Else: Essays

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,680 ratings  ·  195 reviews
A highly anticipated collection, from the writer Maggie Nelson has called, “bracingly good…refreshing and welcome,” that explores the myriad ways in which desire and commodification intersect.

From graffiti gangs and Grand Theft Auto to sugar daddies, Schopenhauer, and a deadly game of Russian roulette, in these essays, Chelsea Hodson probes her own desires to examine where
...more
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Holt Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Thomas
3.5 stars

A vulnerable essay collection about desire, intimacy, and what our bodies can endure under physical and emotional duress. Chelsea Hodson's writing felt the strongest in her longer-form narrative essays, when she had a structure to work with. My two favorites include "Pity the Animal," a smart and incisive examination of female objectification and how Hodson herself has dealt with it, as well as "I'm Only a Thousand Miles Away," an innocent essay about obsessive childhood crushes that tu
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Nicola
Aug 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tedious. I couldn’t finish this one, but felt I’d read enough to make a rating. It’s filled with pedestrian MA in Personal Essay passages and aimless coasting and credit card debt-racking (such is our generation’s experience, but I’d love to read someone actually grappling with that).

I’ve read a lot of essay collections in the same vein as this one (I found Hodson’s voice quite similar to Chloe Caldwell’s, for example). I’m coming to think of it as the TED Talk voice of personal essay: construc
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
"Last week, I decided my friend, Erik, was both beautiful and impossible, and I felt it save my life in a way."

Okay friends, I'm going to say some honest things about this book, because I was given a review copy in exchange for an honest review. That quote I used up there is not from final copy so it may not appear as written exactly but I wanted to pull out something to use as an example.

How did you react to that quote? I predict that your overall feelings about this book will have a lot to do
...more
Vincent Scarpa
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"For our high school graduation party, our school hired a hypnotist. My best friend volunteered herself, went onstage, fell asleep, and then he had her dancing and singing Backstreet Boys songs. When she woke up again, she walked back to her seat and I tried to tell her what she'd done while she was out, but she said she was awake the whole time. It was easier to just do what he wanted me to do, she said, and I knew what she meant."

A fucking masterpiece.
...more
Elizabeth
I read the inside cover before I bought this book and read it again after I finished. And, I can't say that the promise matches my perceptions. Hodson is a skilled writer, but that is all that I can say to recommend Tonight I'm Someone Else.

This collection of essays reads more like an unedited diary (albeit by a talented writer) than a published collection of essays. And, the organization - from long paragraphs of careful, beautifully written prose to simple lines separated by paragraph breaks
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Scott
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this collection had some good chapters, there were moments when my attention started to wander and my thoughts could've been titled Tonight I'm Reading Something Else. Okay, that was an easy joke, so I should mention that it worked best when Hodson wrote about childhood / teen / college years - it was then things were pretty engaging. In 'I'm Only a Thousand Miles Away' she speaks of her attractive friend hooking up with an attractive guy (during the high school years) --

"Our friends were
...more
julieta
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
I think my problem with this book is that it never really does anything with itself. Here's what I mean. It's a sort of memoir, mostly memoir I would say, and she does not really point anywhere with her life's material, she mostly goes back in forth with her memories. I guess this line, where she can point at something far from herself, maybe coming to a conclusion with what she has, is what to me goes missing. It's about her desires, (a lot about love interests, or her way of being an object of ...more
Kevin
Chelsea Hodson is somewhere between poet and magician. Her sleight of hand is dazzling, weaving dark themes and just the right amount of vulnerable heart into these essays, whether they be meaty and full or broken into sharp diamond-like shards of prose. I'm not sure I know another writer who can be so hard and soft at the same time. And don't overlook the humor herein--it's the kind of sharp wit that reminds me of Fran Lebowitz or the songs of PJ Harvey. This book is an amazement. ...more
Guillaume Morissette
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book felt like giving it direct access to my brain + a high-level security clearance & letting it cause as much chaos as it wanted in there.
Dawnny
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was fabulous! I think this is getting over looked. Check it out. I really enjoyed it.
Sarah Paolantonio
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was introduced to vignette and segmented essays in my first MFA craft class by Melissa Febos and have been reading them ever since. They sparked something inside me: I had no idea you could do it like that. Early in the semester she distributed a photocopied section of Maggie Nelson's 'Bluets', which I had trouble finding *anywhere* when I sought after reading the whole thing. Now that Nelson is a household name things that's changed. It was 'Bluets' and Nick Flynn's 'Ticking Of The Bomb' that ...more
eman | readsforkeeps ✨
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
“All characters appearing in this work are you. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely you.” - Chelsea Hodson, Tonight I'm Someone Else: Essays

“Tonight I’m Someone Else” is a collection of essays about Chelsea’s work, life, and relationships. It is packed with vulnerability, emotions, and recklessness in between switching careers and getting into relationships. The thing with reading an essay collection is you only get a fraction of each and everything and as much as you wann
...more
Scott Mcclanahan
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so so so so much. Finally a book of essays where the writer doesn't tell you how they want us to be, but how we are. ...more
alexandra leigh
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
i enjoyed every single one of these essays but also none of them will stay with me beyond this reading? That's not to say the writing isn't incredible, that Chelsea Hodson doesn't have a natural talent with narrative prose, and that I won't read everything she ever produces — because i will. I just don't feel any of these were something I heavily related to. Or that I need to reread because it wasn't the right time. ...more
shelby
Nov 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
3.5 stars

if you asked me what this book was about, i couldn't tell you. it's a blend of personal essay that tries reaching for a universal truth; maybe landing there and maybe not. the reason i gave this a 3.5 star rating is because there's a feeling in me that there is something more in between the lines and it was fun to read. and i suspect it may be fun to read in the future to see what unfolds. or, of course, i could be wrong and there was no point at all and it was just a bunch of rambling.
...more
Eva
i read pity the animal when it came out in 2014 and loved it, and in the four years since then, i've been eagerly anticipating the release of this essay collection. idk if my literary preferences have changed in those years or if i raised my expectations so high that i was bound to be disappointed, but i ended up feeling much more ambivalent about this book than i expected to. there are some great essays in here-- "pity the animal" holds up really well, and "i'm only a thousand miles away," "swo ...more
Amory Blaine
If I'd read this book a decade ago, I probably would have loved it. It sounds like other authors I read at the time, and, especially, like what I myself wrote and felt at a particularly angsty period of my life. Now, however, ten years older, I find myself annoyed by the stilted narcissism of the sentences. There are interesting thoughts and stories throughout the book, but it all feels exaggeratedly detached and pretentious. The author obsesses over her own life so well that I felt claustrophob ...more
Kevin Maloney
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chelsea Hodson is one of 3 or 4 living writers whose prose completely breaks me. I never feel comfortable in her essays... I’m blindfolded, at her mercy. I can’t tell if she’s holding a knife to my throat or her own. It doesn’t matter; someone is going to get hurt, and that’s the point. It’s a strange comparison, but I kept thinking of Flannery O’Connor... another writer whose work is like a mirror held up to the world only with all the bullshit ripped away. Both are fascinated by power and fear ...more
Mack
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i want to ingest this book whole and absorb its contents into my body forever
Victor
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This is about desire. Ravenous wanting. Some people don't like the book because it meanders and talks about one thing for a sentence or two and then on to something else. "Nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long," says Thomas Pynchon about something else entirely, and it feels that way in this book often.

But. Let's talk about what this book is really about, which is hunger and thirst for the infinite. She never quite says that, but it seems clear to me Chel
...more
Reija
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm little tired of memoir about boys writer has loved but her writing is pretty interesting ...more
Amanda
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my perspective on what an essay collection can look like. There were no "formulas" or typical portrayals of universal truths, and each essay was structured with multiple section breaks, reminiscent of Mary Robison's "Why Did I Ever?" This style may not work for everyone, but it very much works for me. These essays were unusual, and stunning.

Chelsea Hodson is a kindred spirit (maybe even an Enneagram Type 4?), and each essay contained stand-out lines that either gave me chills o
...more
Muffin
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book will stay with me for some time. Hodson's prose is so spare and stripped down every sentence feels like it's an introduction to a long story. There are some essays - like The End of Longing - that are made up of seemingly unrelated sentences that fill up to a strange whole, like a jar filled with a variety of legumes. This is almost impossible to read in one sitting, even though it's short, because the shocking, affecting, and painful sentences can overwhelm quickly. I'm really floored ...more
Brandon Amico
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hodson writes with a poise and intensity that are impossible to fake. She really is that insightful, that self-immolating, that vulnerable. This collection of essays examines everything from violence, power dynamics, and lust to the Mars rover landing, modeling, and the Backstreet Boys. And throughout it is the author flinging the doors to herself wide open—nothing is sugar-coated, and Hodson’s ability to recall the intimate moments of a life and put them in the context of the churning sea that ...more
Sophia L
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to not like this book. Essays about being a sad white girl are abundant in the world we live in. However, her voice and the format of her essays, the way one sentence would jump out and strike you like a fully baked truth, some kind of meta fortune cookie fortune. Except more specific, because "specificity is a commodity and it's going up, up, up." These sentences were like something you needed to tell your best friend, your ex, a girl you met in a foreign country once; they changed my ...more
Jessica Klahr
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this one on the day it came out just about a year ago and something compelled me to grab this one off of my shelf and I’m so glad it did. I wished I had a pen with me pretty much every time I was reading this book because I would have underlined at least half the lines. I loved how she played with the form of the creative nonfiction essay, not allowing any particular structure hold her back and letting things be what they were. She also just seems like an inherently interesting person w ...more
Sarah Kennedy
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
read in one sitting. some of it stings and some of it made me laugh. good and sweet and honest and violent wheeeeeew

“the city went quiet and soft and no one bled and no one died and no one had a sister and no one had a friend and no one looked out their window and no one ever witnessed anyone else.”

“On the internet, everyone’s getting an award, everyone’s buying new shoes, everyone’s swimming at the beach, everyone’s eating a wonderful meal. Here we are. Everyone’s in love.”
Tabitha Blankenbiller
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unafraid and uncompromising, Hodson's essays find strength in their vulnerability. She offers a view of young adulthood that is complicated and contradictory and for most all of us, much too real to ever forget. ...more
Sarah
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
FUCK this was so good!!!!!
Michelle King
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bets
Blown away by this.
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Chelsea Hodson is the author of the forthcoming essay collection Tonight I'm Someone Else (Henry Holt, 2018) and the chapbook Pity the Animal (Future Tense / Emily Books, 2014). She is a graduate of the MFA program at Bennington College, and was a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. ...more

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