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lisa stathoplos
Make Me: a memoir
A searingly honest and dark humored memoir exploring how one comes to be, to live in their own skin; exist in their very bones. "Make Me" follows Lisa’s memories in and out of chronological time. Her stories of growing up Catholic, coming of age beside the turbulent Atlantic Ocean, discovering dance, her activism and becoming a successful professional actor as well as a fishwife, are fraught, rewarding and often hysterically funny.
Debut author and professional actor and teacher Stathoplos’s boisterous, energetic memoir offers revealing snapshots of her journey towards self-realization. Covering her early days as an awkward child with scoliosis and a penchant for activism to her career on the stage, Stathoplos combines humor and heartache as she bounds frankly through topics such as her family, religion, sexual assault, shelter pets, sailing, eating disorders, and the courage and perseverance it took to get through a “nightmare” of a dancing class. Along with the backdrop of major events like the Vietnam War, era-specific music adds color and texture to her story, along with rich details of growing up along Maine’s coast in the 1970s.

Stathoplos’s brash style brims with all-caps phrases and exclamation points. Her sarcastic sense of humor is a constant in a book that shifts rapidly from topic to topic and experience to experience. She marshals her considerable life experience into a confetti of short, readable vignettes, each preceded by a number of related photographs. These vignettes offer flashes of insight into both single moments and extended eras of Stathoplos’s life, blending her exuberant commentary with finely etched detail. Though fragmented, the casual, rollicking cascade of stories has the feel of a chatty friend telling stories over drinks.

Stathoplos’s memoir doubles as a love letter to theater. True to her contrarian nature, she challenges the assumption that an artist must leave home to seek fame and fortune in the big city. Instead, she forges her own path, without apology. While her performances and colleagues in Maine’s regional theater scene aren't household names, her sharply told accounts and anecdotes resonate, and her passionate support for local theater is invigorating. Similarly inspiring is Stathoplos’s dogged journey towards self-acceptance, both physical and mental, the book’s true heart. Readers will find the perspective Stathoplos offers on her life both on and off the stage honest, refreshing and often endearing.

Takeaway: This frank and spirited reflection on self-love and self-determination will especially appeal to lovers of the arts

Great for fans of: Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds, Chelsea Handler’s Life Will Be the Death of Me.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A-