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

Narrated by: Bassey Ikpi
Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins

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Publisher's Summary

In I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying, Bassey Ikpi explores her life - as a Nigerian-American immigrant, a black woman, a slam poet, a mother, a daughter, an artist - through the lens of her mental health and diagnosis of bipolar II and anxiety. Her remarkable memoir in essays implodes our preconceptions of the mind and normalcy as Bassey bares her own truths and lies for us all to behold with radical honesty and brutal intimacy.

A Bitch Magazine Most Anticipated Book of 2019 • 

A Bustle 21 New Memoirs That Will Inspire, Motivate, and Captivate You • 

A Publishers Weekly Spring Preview Selection • 

An Electric Lit 48 Books by Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019 • 

A Bookish Best Nonfiction of Summer Selection • 

"We will not think or talk about mental health or normalcy the same after reading this momentous art object moonlighting as a colossal collection of essays.” (Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy)

From her early childhood in Nigeria through her adolescence in Oklahoma, Bassey Ikpi lived with a tumult of emotions, cycling between extreme euphoria and deep depression - sometimes within the course of a single day. By the time she was in her early '20s, Bassey was a spoken word artist and traveling with HBO's Def Poetry Jam, channeling her life into art. But beneath the façade of the confident performer, Bassey's mental health was in a precipitous decline, culminating in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of Bipolar II.

In I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame, confusion, medication, and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives - how we appear to others, and more importantly to ourselves - and challenges our preconception about what it means to be "normal". Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are - and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie. 

©2019 Bassey Ikpi (P)2019 HarperAudio

Editorial Review

I am here for it

I was already really curious about this memoir when I saw two of my favorite writers—Kiese Laymon and Samantha Irby—say really nice things about it, including these phrases: "I want to scream my joy," "momentous art object," and "human miracle" (!). Bassey Ikpi is a poet who had a mental breakdown while touring the world with HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. During her hospitalization, she was diagnosed with bipolar II. As we become collectively more woke about intersectionality in our culture, Ikpi’s voice as a Black woman dealing with mental illness is arguably one of the most powerful voices you should put everything down for and just listen to already. She’s one of our most important mental health advocates, and I am here for it. —Rachel S., Audible Editor

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