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Out with It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  390 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A fresh, engaging account of a young woman’s journey, first to find a cure for a lifelong struggle with stuttering, and ultimately to embrace the voice that has defined her character.

A vividly powerful memoir of a young woman who fought for years to change who she was until she finally found her voice and learned to embrace her imperfection.

Imagine waking up one day to fi
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Atria Books (first published April 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  390 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Start your review of Out with It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice
I've stuttered since first grade. My relationship with that part of myself is oceans better than it used to be, though that doesn't mean I'm completely at peace with it. The little girl who was too afraid to assert herself for fear of sputtering all over the difference between what she wanted to say and the tangled ghost of approximation she had to settle for quickly supplanted the even younger girl who had no problem hamming it up with improvised songs and dances on home videos; the adult she g ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, I hated this book. Second of all, I loved this book. I am also simultaneously relieved yet furious that Katherine didn't track me down. It's not like I'm anonymous by any means.

What Katherine provides is an eloquent yet painful reminder of my deepest, darkest fears and insecurities. As a female stutterer, I quickly discovered that my very existence was a huge anomaly. I did not meet another female stutterer until well into adulthood. Like Katherine, I suffered alone and learned to
Maggie Crewson
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a book for stutters. It is a book for everyone.

Preston uses stuttering (extremely deftly) as a vehicle by which to explore one of the hardest challenges everyone faces: how to befriend the totality of one's experience?

With lightness, humor, and an eye for detail Preston begs this question of everyone: how can you accept and love the most challenging parts of yourself? And, even more radically, what if they aren't problems at all but actually the areas where your deepest strengths li
David V.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Yes, I was a stutterer. Started in about 6th grade, age 12. Was especially embarassing in school when I had to take a turn at reading aloud in the class. Certain sounds were really difficult---w, b,t, and others. Had many sessions with a school speech therapist with not much success. To make a long story short, he suggested that I take a public speaking class in 9th grade, which I thought was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard of, since public speaking was ex ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This isn't a book for casual readers. You may find it enjoyable if you are REALLY into stuttering and want to hear about how it makes one person feel. The author does include other stutterers reactions to their condition, but it's very limited. Overall it was well written and accomplishes what it set out to accomplish. ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up by chance at a used bookstore and I'm so glad I did. I was intrigued by the cover, and interested in the subject.

I'm fluent and don't know anyone who has a stutter. However, as someone with an anxiety disorder that literally makes it impossible to get the words out sometimes, I could feel each description of Preston's blocks.

She writes with simple eloquence and it's clear she has a wicked sense of humor and I loved that the entire way through. I'm grateful she turned what was
Cam Moreland
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring Must Read for All PWS (people who stutter)

I purchased this book in desperate hopes of ridding myself of the stutter I have lived with for the past decade. I started stuttering when I was nine or ten years old and to this day can still remember the cruelty I felt from students as well as some teachers. Reading this book has changed my life as a PWS and I only wish I had purchased this book sooner. If you are a PWS or a relative or friend of a PWS please don't hesitate to purchase this b
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really appreciate how open and vulnerable the author was with her story. I also admire how she made this big goal of traveling America to interview different stutterers and write a book about it and she achieved that goal. The work and thought that went into this project is very impressive. I’m a speech language pathologist and read this as a work assignment. It was a very worthwhile read and I enjoyed it.
Anton Nielsen
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great--a really captivating, sad yet inspiring story of one woman's struggle to embrace her full self. As someone already noted, this is not a book just for stutterers, but for everyone.

It is a memoir, but rests upon a foundation of thorough research. A work that hopefully will influence the way we think about stuttering, Out With It is a refreshing and well-written debut.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Katherine is a great advocate for us stammerers and this is a good book for any stammerer or anyone interested in stammering people. I don't like the word 'stutter' though. ...more
Earl Wise
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Being a person who stutters, I found this book to be a breath of fresh air. This is only the second book that I’ve read about stuttering, and I deeply appreciated Katherine’s honesty and vulnerability about her stuttering. I did not think that anyone was more self aware than me, put Katherine puts me to shame. Katherine’s book taught me to accept my stuttering and laugh at yourself more often. My speech has improved over time but as the old saying goes, “when you can least afford to stutter, you ...more
Jen Houck
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For anyone looking to understand the world of a stutterer, I highly recommend this book. As a stutterer for the past 20 years, I’ve come to terms that my stutter would always hold me back and I’d never be able to reach my full potential. However, Katherine taught the exact opposite and in a way I never thought I’d look at stuttering as something so empowering. As I read, I felt as though she was telling my story and I found myself cringing and laughing remembering parts of my childhood and recen ...more
This book hit so close to home for me - I am also in that rare group of adult, female stutterers that have had the speech disfluency since I was a kid, and so much of what the author wrote about, her feelings, experiences... I also had/still have.

This book spoke to me on so many levels, and to see part of my own story put down in words, even though it's through the eyes of another person... priceless.
Mar 29, 2021 rated it liked it
A well written memoir of someone who stutters, touching on the science of stuttering, stuttering treatments, and social attitudes towards stuttering. A great book for people who stutter or, as in my case, has a family member who stutters. 3.5
Emily Koski
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A unique perspective of stuttering. It was a refreshing read as a speech therapist.
Julia Benson
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and touching in ways I didn't expect; an excellent read for anyone looking to know more about the stuttering experience. ...more
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has a stammer, to knows a person who stammers, should read this book. Brilliant, deeply personal and resonant to my own experiences of stammering.
Nov 12, 2020 marked it as to-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
She is a little intense, I think that is the point of the book. She is intelligent and driven young woman who has everything going for her except a bad stutter. It drives her crazy but she has channeled her energy into writing this memoir. She is pretty incredible how she has networked with other stutters (something I am not sure I would have the confidence to do). Anyway kind of an interesting book, not sure how broad the appeal to non-stutters, except maybe to gain some insight and empathy to ...more
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was such a pleasure to see that this memoir was on my reading list for a class on fluency I am enrolled in. Almost immediately after I cracked it open, I could anticipate the great joy of following Katherine Preston's journey towards self-acceptance. As a person with a chronic condition around which there is some stigma, I can begin to imagine the desire she had to push away the stutter and even conceptualize it as separate from her identity. In the book, the stutter is compared to a "good-fo ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say this book opened my eyes to something I knew existed, but I did not know a lot about it. This book follows the story of Katherine Preston from when she first remembers her stutter manifesting itself up until the publishing of this book. It shows her relationship with speech therapists and her personal struggles, which were internal and external. In addition to her own story she has interviewed many parents, individuals, and professionals who have lived with stuttering in one form o ...more
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
For most of her life, Katherine Preston stuttered. With the origin of her stutter unknown, her numerous attempts to “fix” her speech were unsuccessful. Ashamed of both her disability and her inability to change her speech, she begins to regress into herself. Her stutter literally takes away her voice, by not allowing her to speak clearly, and figuratively because she chooses to stop talking and expressing herself verbally. Her memoir, Out With It, is the story of how she came to not only accept ...more
Christopher Brown
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good book that helped to show the unique difficulties that people who stutter face and how it mills them into the people they are today. Not a magical ending but an honest uncompromising story if growth.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Katherine's debut novel is sure to make you laugh, make you think and make you finish it without putting it down- all the elements I need in a good book! I read Out With It in 2 days, getting sucked in to Katherine's story and wondering how it would all turn out for her. I particularly enjoyed how thought provoking it was. I remember back to my days at University, full of anguish about how others felt about me and how I was being perceived. I have never been someone to notice a stutter. I have a ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for

Overall Review:
As a speech pathologist, I was instantly drawn to Katherine Preston's debut novel. Out With It details Preston's life as a stutterer, yet it's so much more than a book about stuttering. Preston's story focuses on family and friendships, love and pain, happiness and acceptance. It's an inspiring read for anyone facing life's difficulties.

With a warm and friendly tone, Preston makes her experiences interesting, intimate and candid. Many of Pr
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have always been looking for a book that gives me more insight to people that stutter. I am a mom of four and our youngest has a stutter and all the books I googled were too scientific and just plain boring. Katherine has actually managed to give me such an insight into a person that stutters plus a whole range of clinical and research topics that actually read so so well without snoozing off. Her writing style is really really good and there is no boring part in this book at all.

This book is
Matthew Campbell
I picked this up in the airport yesterday hoping for a Mary Roach-style pop-science history/humorous/insightful treatment of the phenomenon of stuttering/stammering. While Preston does include some of this content (she interviewed more than 100 scientists, psychologists, therapists and "stutterers" for the project) in the latter 3rd of the book, the text is far closer to its self-classification as a memoir which, after a wonderfully detailed, accurate and terrifying description of the phenomenol ...more
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the fifth book I've read about stuttering, and it didn't add a whole lot to my understanding. However, it did add something- it's a memoir and it adds in the author's own experience. Preston is overall a good writer and her stories of her own experiences are an emotional read. I found the last bit of the book particularly interesting and enjoyable.
My biggest frustration with this book was Preston's frequent claims that stuttering was unique in various ways- a claim she made by giving com
Julie Mosley
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Preston set out writing this book to demystify stuttering and in the process she accomplished something even more important: coming to terms with her own stutter and refusing to be defined by it. Out With It paints a picture of how "fluent" speakers treat people who stutter, and of the anxiety and fear and self-loathing that often accompany the very act of trying to communicate. I felt inspired by Preston's willingness to include not only the hurtful things about being a stutterer, but ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
As someone who has done my very best to pretend my stutter doesn't exist, I found this book to be very emotional. Many aspects of Katherine Preston's life mirror my own, and while I had the utmost empathy for her, I found it comforting to read about someone else going through similar trials as myself.
Preston's attitude toward her stutter is significantly different from my own, but her ability to adapt to it is inspiring all the same. I hope that someone without a speech impediment would find thi
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Katherine Preston is the author of Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice. At the age of twenty-four she left her home and career in London and moved to America to conduct research. She slept on strangers’ sofas, drove across the country and interviewed over a hundred different stutterers, therapists and researchers to finally face her fear of stuttering. Her first book, Out With It, ...more

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