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I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying: Essays

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  15 reviews
A deeply personal collection of essays exploring Nigerian-American author Bassey Ikpi’s experiences navigating Bipolar II and anxiety throughout the course of her life.

Bassey Ikpi was born in Nigeria in 1976. Four years later, she and her mother joined her father in Stillwater, Oklahoma —a move that would be anxiety ridden for any child, but especially for Bassey. Her earl
Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: August 20th 2019 by Harper Perennial (first published August 6th 2019)
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4.54  · 
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 ·  35 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Akwaeke Emezi
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Look, I've been reading Bassey Ikpi's work for a smooth ten years, thanks to the Internet. She's been a vital voice for so many of us who live with neurodivergence, throughout our darkest moments, whispering for us to allow ourselves morning. She's even mentioned by name in Freshwater! Now, this book of hers, this collection? It blew me the entire fuck away. It's brilliant, intimate, and so vulnerable! Bassey is a storyteller to her bones and it shows. Read this book, tell everyone you know to r ...more
Jun 07, 2019 marked it as arcs-to-read

Many thanks to HarperCollins for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me a copy of this book at BEA 2019 and thank you to Bassey Ikpi for signing my copy!

I thought this was a phenomenal read. Bassey Ikpi has beautifully written her story about her experiences with mixed-episode bipolar disorder. She tells a story that needs to be heard, highlighting some of the glaring problems in health care when it comes to mental health. Bassey Ikpi not only is able to tell her story eloquently, she also uses the space of the page and se
Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
“only a woman so small and wise could give birth to herself so many times”
That was the last sentence in the “prologue” of Bassey Ikpi’s book (set to release this coming August). That sentence struck a chord with me and I knew that this collection of essays was going to be amazing and moving.

Ikpi is a Nigerian- American poet and mental health advocate and overall amazing human who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. A disorder that Black and Brown folks to not talk about nor even have the
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, memoir
I have never read a memoir quite like this. Such powerful prose, almost poetic in how it engaged not just my mind but also my soul. I could not put this down - it just held on to me and I ripped through in two evenings. While I haven't experienced much of what Bassey Ikpi has, she tells her story in such a raw and riveting way that I felt her journey in my being. I learned so much about mental illness, as she has experienced it, and about myself, in all the ways in which Bassey's journey speaks ...more
Shannon Wright
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a searing, lyrical piece of work: Bassey Ikpi started her career as a poet, and it shows as she finds music in heartbreaking moments. There are lines that will make you laugh out loud (“I still hate yoga, it’s like a game of Simon Says that no one ever wins”) and descriptions so evocative they make you freeze: a sweater is burgundy, “the color of Anne’s raspberry cordial,” and that one line captures a type of girl that, if you were also one, identifies a kindred spirit.

This book is oste
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this the day I got my ARC from the publishers, and I had a hard time putting it down to do basic things like eat and sleep and breathe. This was such an incredible memoir, with Bassey Ikpi being as upfront about her lack of memories as is possible to be. I thought she did a stunning and honest job of weaving something out of the vague (possibly false?) memories of her childhood, and the stories she has heard about her life since. The second half of the book deals with her strug ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This was intense. The writing is amazing. The essays really put the reader in the place of not just better understanding bipolar II, but also give a sense, a feeling, of what it is like to live with this illness. A must read.
Jocelyne Kevine
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such beautiful writing and such a necessary story that needs to be told. A raw account of what it looks like to manage an illness that so many don’t understand, but which they will hopefully know more about after they read this. Bassey is a warrior and I am in awe of her strength and storytelling talent. I sobbed as I closed the book. A beautiful, beautiful story.
Chris MacDonald-Dennis
What can I say about a book that touched my soul so deeply? First, Ikpi's experience with mental illness and difficult family dynamics allowed me a path to think about my own life and how my mental illness has impacted me. There were times that I literally had to put the book down because her words forced me (in a good way) to face things that I had tried to push aside. I found myself having more empathy for myself, which is something that does not come easy to me. I found myself being gentler w ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me an ARC at BEA 2019, in return for an honest review. Also, thank you to Bassey Ikpi for signing my copy.

This collection of essays show Bassey Ikpi over the course of several decades, from her childhood moving to the U.S. from Nigeria, to the difficulties in her home life with her parents, to her struggles in college, to her battling heartbreak, mental illness, depression, and work life balance as an adult. A consistent theme is how we tell lies and obfu
Afoma Umesi
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-2019
I received an electronic ARC of I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying from Harper Perennial via Edelweiss. My review contains my unbiased opinion.

I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying follows Bassey’s life from early childhood in Nigeria, moving to join her father in the States, and being an anxious child in the US. After dropping out of college due to anxiety and depression in her early twenties, Bassey becomes a spoken word artist. She’s well-known for traveling and performing with HBO’s Russell
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bassey’s writing is so fearless. You’ll find yourself wanting to protect her while rooting for her to save herself. She paints a picture of a “broken” brain without ever making herself a victim and owning her actions. I breezed through this book even though the content was heavy at times. She tells her story in a way that makes you want to devour it like a good meal.

I want to read everything she writes. Something tells me she has many more stories inside of her.
This book gave me a panic attack. It hit a little close to home and there were so many scenes that resonated with me. I think she is strong for putting this out there. This is the true face of mental illness. This is what it feels like, what it's like to live with, what it's like to find out that all your worst fears about yourself are true, what it feels like to start fighting it, and living with the knowledge that it will never leave you.
I read an uncorrected proof (thank you Harper Perennial!
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure where to begin with this book, other than to day that I have an admitted bias towards all things Bassey Ikpi, since her days as a Def Poet. When you like someone, it is easy to fall into sycophantic praise. This review is not that.

In her essay collection, Ikpi walks in her truth in a tightrope, acknowledging the blur between what was and what is remembered. It is raw and honest, but easily digestible and beautifully expressed. This is the book that you want to read when you remember
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Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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