It's Fun to Be a Person I Don't Know (American Lives ) (Paperback)
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At first glance a reader might mistake It’s Fun to Be a Person I Don’t Know for a juicy Hollywood tell-all, given Chachi D. Hauser’s background as the great-granddaughter of Roy Disney, a cofounder with his brother Walt of the Walt Disney Company. And to her credit, Hauser doesn’t shy away from confronting painful family memories when considering how the stories, myths, and rumors surrounding this entertainment empire have influenced her own imagination. But family history is only one strand in this intricate and variegated weave that also interlaces the social and environmental history of Hauser’s adopted hometown of New Orleans, intimate reflections on love and navigating open relationships, and a searing self-examination that reveals a gender fluidity chafing against social barriers.
Hauser’s innovative and multifaceted narrative navigates a variety of terrains, seeking truth as its final destination. While the family company excels in fantasy, Hauser’s story is that of a young documentary filmmaker determined to train a sharply focused lens on the reality of her lived experiences.
About the Author
Chachi D. Hauser is a filmmaker and writer. Her essays have appeared in Hobart, Prairie Schooner, Third Coast, Crazyhorse, and the Writer’s Chronicle. She lives in Paris.
“What if you could record, not just the story of your life, but your thoughts about your life? This is the echo, the double vision, that Chachi Hauser gives us as a rare gift.”—Gloria Steinem
“Hauser’s book is and isn’t about being a member of the Disney family. What it is about is gender identity, privilege, cultural appropriation, and how these do and don’t meld together. This is a wild, stunning, unfiltered, and stylistically groundbreaking memoir—a fascinating juxtaposition between what is and isn’t real. It will blow your Mickey Mouse ears off.”—Sue William Silverman, author of How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences
“Chachi Hauser explores how, like the Mississippi River, when we allow ourselves to overflow and change course, we stretch up, down, around, and through, as our sense of who we are was always meant to do. Page after page beats like the tide. No levee will hold this writer back.”—Tomás Q. Morín, author of Let Me Count the Ways: A Memoir
“Chachi Hauser’s book has an exploratory and kaleidoscopic style I found delightful. Hauser is more concerned with exploring the questions than having the answers. Thoughtful, sensitive, and lyrical, the book feels like a fever dream in the best possible way.”—Chloé Caldwell, author of The Red Zone: A Love Story
“The essays in this collection understand—or even better, they work from page to page in order to understand major pillars of identity: place, heritage, art, and gender—and how they spill into one another in a levee-breaking flood that then makes a consciousness. Along the way, Chachi Hauser guides us through New Orleans underground parties, eerie Disney re-constructions, and painful breakups, all with a steely inquiry and a deeply-feeling narrative. It’s Fun to Be a Person I Don’t Know is a wonderful collection that introduces a noteworthy voice to the American essay form.”—Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses
“What separates us from others and how intrinsically connected are we, for better or worse? Chachi Hauser’s collection It’s Fun to Be a Person I Don’t Know goes head-to-head with these large and ancient philosophical considerations, with bravado, intimacy, and unwavering curiosity. Simultaneously sensitive and fearless, Hauser’s work explores expectations, assumptions, and discoveries about what family history is, and what it can look like if one asserts autonomy by testing independence and interdependence as inextricable, empowering forces. . . . Living in Hauser’s essay universe is comfortable and encouraging for anyone who relishes the untamed, wild places.”—Trinie Dalton, author of Wide Eyed and Baby Geisha