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Being Lolita: A Memoir

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,740 ratings  ·  334 reviews

A dark romance evolves between a high schooler and her English teacher, in this breathtakingly powerful memoir about a young woman who must learn to rewrite her own story.

“Have you ever read Lolita?”

So begins seventeen-year-old Alisson’s metamorphosis from student to lover and then victim. A lonely and vulnerable high school senior, Alisson finds solace only in her wr

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Flatiron Books
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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*TUDOR^QUEEN* (on hiatus)
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up to 4 Stars

I was intrigued when I first saw this because I had admired the book My Dark Vanessa about the same topic in recent months. There were so many similarities it was uncanny, but this is an actual memoir. Ironically enough, I enjoyed the fictionalized My Dark Vanessa a tad more.

Alisson Woods is a teenager who has suffered with depression, manifesting in cutting and a suicide attempt. After successful psychological treatment she returns to high school, only to get lured in
Adam Dalva
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
More TK closer to publication on Wood's excellent memoir - she has a knack here for unraveling difficult truths w poetic, literary writing. The story of a high school senior being seduced by her teacher is often harrowing, a page-turner, which makes the story's uncanny parallels w/ Nabokov's work all the more absorbable. ...more
Catherine Woodward
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
*Many thanks to Flatiron Books, NetGalley, and Alisson Wood for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 8.4!*

Raw, engrossing, and unputdownable!

Being Lolita is a journey through Alisson Wood's experiences as a teenager and young woman, from her descent as the idealized 'nymphet' created by the grooming of her teacher Mr. North's 'Humbert Humbert' to the poised, strong, and unabashedly honest woman she is today.

This memoir is completely consuming---I finished it in a matter of hours! Wood manage
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2020
I’m not much one for trigger warnings, but if you need one for this book, it’s right there in the title. The author writes a heartbreaking, beautiful and reflective story about being preyed on by her high school English teacher, and believing it was love. Her story is not uncommon and most women will be able to see some small bit of their own experience in it. Though she later learns her experience itself was sadly not “special,” she has made it into an incredibly special book.

The book describes
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

At what point does a man transform into a wolf?

At what point does a girl turn into prey?

Nonfiction November????

Really, though, as soon as I saw that title and cover I was all over snagging this from the library because . . . .

It’s a bit of an obsession.

It probably goes without saying that this was an uncomfortable read. We meet Allison as a 17-year old senior who has a reputation in her high school for being craz
Whoa! I am not a big fan of Memoirs, but this one is so well written it felt like I was talking to a friend over a cup of soothing hot chocolate. Reads more like fiction to me, and I love the way that Alisson expresses her voice at least internally. The seduction of Alisson, much like the seduction of Lolita, was not beautiful or poetic and Being Lolita: A Memoir definitely shows that.

The hardest parts (and there were so many of them) were Alisson's denial about her relationship with The Teacher
Jun 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, own, non-fiction

‘being lolita’ is an incredibly raw, vulnerable, and engrossing memoir about alisson wood’s relationship with her high school english teacher, mr north. at age 17, alisson first turns to mr north for help with her writing, but things turn darker when he gives her a copy of nabokov’s ‘lolita’ to read, claiming it’s a beautiful love story to rival their own. ‘lolita’ ultimately sets the backdrop for the rest of their time together, creating a relationship which turns from a simple crush into a
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Aug 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
This is a memoir of a young woman who lived out a similar story to the one in Nabokov's divisive classic, Lolita. The author was a depressed and lonely teenager when an English teacher at her high school began paying her special attention. They began to develop an extremely inappropriate relationship that continued (and became even more toxic) after she graduated.

There have been several books with this kind of story that have been released over the past few years, and I think it's really import
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2020
I’m not much one for trigger warnings, but if you need one for this book, it’s right there in the title. The author writes a heartbreaking, beautiful and reflective story about being preyed on by her high school English teacher, and believing it was love. Her story is not uncommon and most women will be able to see some small bit of their own experience in it. Though she later learns her experience itself was sadly not “special,” she has made it into an incredibly special book.

The book describes
Julia Deptuła
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
I LOVE the way that Alisson Wood writes. It feels so intimate. Her style is really unique.
It shows a relationship between a high school teacher and his student.
Nick is extremely manipulative and twisted. As an educated man (ENGLISH TEACHER !!!) the way he romanticizes Lolita is sick. He literally, willingly identifies with Humbert Humbert.......... There is this scene, where he is so pissed off at Alisson, because when they have sex for the first time she bleeds, even though she said she isn't
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was written by a friend, and former classmate. I am so proud of her to finally be able to tell her story. This book is well written, but difficult and sickening to read. It was bittersweet to be brought back to my senior year, and difficult to hear proof of what I knew was happening all along.
I was in that play with Alison, and I knew what was happening between her and "Mr. North." The energy was undeniable and the level of discomfort was palpable. In short, "Mr.North" was always a cre
capture stories
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Someone once told me, “Every Love Story is Beautiful”? Is that so? What about tortured love?

First, “Being Lolita’’ is a memoir of the author's life story from a young to adolescence. Her memoir was laid in the backdrop of a famous and controversial book of the times “Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.” Some view Lolita as a forbidden love story between an adult and a child, while others view disgust and argue that this NOT love! It’s abuse and crime!

No doubt, I, too, see the story as an inexcusable cr
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I feel funny saying I "enjoyed"this memoir since it focused on such a disturbing topic, but I did. It was very well written. ...more
Erika Lynn (shelf.inspiration)

"I wonder about things like fate, how sometimes things are just chosen for you, how women are chosen to endure suffering." - Being Lolita.

REVIEW: Thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Alisson Wood for providing me with an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. "Being Lolita" is Alisson Wood's memoir about her dark, forbidden romance with her high school English teacher Mr. North. Mr. North provides her with a copy of Nabokov's book "Lolita" and it s
T Madden
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shattering, brutal, yet hopeful. This one hurt a lot. The writing, though, is so good you won't be able to put this down, with razor sharp lines and short, punch-in-the-gut chapters. It's propulsive, inspiring, haunting - phew. I wish books like these didn't exist and I'm simultaneously so goddamn grateful they do. Let's hold up these survivor stories for the act of heroism they are. ...more
Yukari Watanabe
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think every teen should read this memoir together with Lolita at school. Much, much better than My Dark Vanessa.
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Being Lolita is a different read for me. I enjoy reading this book. This is the second Memoir I read this year that I enjoyed. When it's published I will be purchasing a physical copy of this book. I need a physical copy on hand. I couldn't put it down. It flowed so smoothly. It's raw, emotional, vulnerable, and efficacious book. I love a memoir that reads like a novel. It kept my interest. Majoring in psychology I get to read about a teen who suffered from abuse from someone way older than Loli ...more
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you NetGalley and Flatiron Books for my ARC. This is a heartbreaking memoir about Alisson Wood’s experience of being groomed by her high school English teacher. It is very reminiscent of My Dark Vanessa which also tells the story of abuse and manipulation of a minor at the hands of an adult. My heart ached for Alisson as she relayed her recollection of her relationship with “The Teacher.” At times difficult to read, yet always compelling and inspiring. This is a survivor’s story that needs ...more
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Amazing and poignant memoir about girl who was groomed by her high school teacher.... and how he used the book Lolita to do so. Fast paced, short chapters, and no unnecessary filler. Highly recommended!
Oct 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
not sure why this isnt getting as much hype as my dark vanessa??
Muriel (The Purple Book Wyrm)
More accurate rating: 3/10.

And here is my full-length video review:

Preliminary review:

Alrighty, let's do this.

As with my video review, I'll start with a pretty important disclaimer:

I do NOT dispute the fact that the author, Ms. Wood, went through the experience of an abusive sexual relationship with a man who was her teacher in her senior year of high school; that she is a victim and survivor of rape, emotional abuse and grooming*. I'm sorry this happe
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
As others have mentioned - it's hard to say you loved this book or that I thought this was well done, given the substance - how do you rate someone's memoir about the abuse they endured? It's insane.

However, I did feel a deep emotional connection to Alisson's story and words. Not because I could relate to her abuse, but in the way in which she systematically demonstrates the power of language or words. Alisson expertly shows us just how men in positions of power have used those words to create
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“He read to me from the book in his bed, Nabokov’s lines, the opening of Lolita’s part two: It was then that began our extensive travels all over... I understood how romantic this all would be. How much like Lolita this really was.”

The year is 2001, 17 year old Alisson just returned to high school after bouts of depression and ultimately ECT therapy. She feels empty and unmotivated until a certain attractive English teacher starts to take an interest.

There have been and always be “Lolitas” in
Sami Sunshine
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is different than any I’ve ever read. It’s a quick read but it’s incredibly well-written and literary. I felt like I was talking with the entire time—not that I was reading her story. She manages to combine her experience and beautiful language in a way that feels like you’re in a high level English class. The amount of self reflection and awareness in this memoir is amazing. There is so much growth and insight into the relationship between Alisson and the teacher. Highly recommend.
Jun 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being Lolita - Alisson Wood

This memoir felt fast paced and read like a novel (I actually had to keep reminding myself that this was the authors real life). Alisson Wood recounts her senior years at high school and the start of her college experience while she is in a secret relationship with one of her teachers.

Reading about relationship itself is very uncomfortable. The teacher is passionate about english and has an unhealthy obsession with the controversial classic ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Naboko
I don't love ascribing ratings to memoirs, because numerically assessing a writer's (often traumatic) story makes me, personally, feel a little weird.

What I will say is that I really loved this book. It was well written and perfectly paced, though absolutely gut-wrenching from beginning to end. I applaud Alisson Wood for how candid she was about such a horrific time in her life. This is such an important read for those who aren't willing to fully grapple with the way our culture has twisted Lol
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Being Lolita by Alisson Wood. Thank you to the author Alisson Wood for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After recovering from depression via ECT and therapy, Alisson begins a relationship with her high-school English teacher. Using the book Lolita as a guide to their relationship, he grooms and seduces her. Young Alisson is lonely; longing for companionship and to be understood. The memoir is Alisson’s experience, as well as her gradual recognition and understanding of
To be completely honest, I have never read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov so I can't speak to anything in that book and how the stories compare, but I knew I had to read Being Lolita: A Memoir by Alisson Wood. I am a sucker for a good memoir even when it deals with difficult topics, and I am so glad that Wood decided to share her story with the world. Her writing was fantastic, and she definitely has a way with words which helped me get into her story even more. This is a raw and honest look at how ...more

There is an innate fascination with the book Lolita amongst people I know...even I have recently acquired a copy to read because truly, I hadn't given it much thought to even pick it up until it became such a topic of conversation.

So, when this book became available, I knew it was something I would find interest in. I wasn't FASCINATING. And that sounds a little morbid knowing the true context in which this real-life happening is based. Even so, I was hooked and determ
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“When you call someone a “Lolita” you are calling her too sexy, too tender, dangerous. A sexually precocious young girl. In reality, a “Lolita” is a victim of a sexual predator.”⁣

Being Lolita is a raw, powerful, and disturbing story about a high school student and her teacher who seduces her into becoming his Lolita. The manipulation and violence inflicted on this young girl, that is twisted in a way to make her believe that this is what love is, is beyond disturbing. ⁣

Allison writes in this w
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