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How to Be Loved: Book summary and reviews of How to Be Loved by Eva Hagberg Fisher

How to Be Loved

A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship

by Eva Hagberg Fisher

How to Be Loved by Eva Hagberg Fisher X
How to Be Loved by Eva Hagberg Fisher
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2019
    240 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

A luminous memoir about how friendship saved one woman's life, for anyone who has loved a friend who was sick, grieving, or lost—and for anyone who has struggled to seek or accept help.

Eva Hagberg Fisher spent her lonely youth looking everywhere for connection: drugs, alcohol, therapists, boyfriends, girlfriends. Sometimes she found it, but always temporarily. Then, at age thirty, an undiscovered mass in her brain ruptured. So did her life. A brain surgery marked only the beginning of a long journey, and when her illness hit a critical stage, it forced her to finally admit the long‑suppressed truth: she was vulnerable, she needed help, and she longed to grow. She needed true friendship for the first time.

How to Be Loved is the story of how an isolated person's life was ripped apart only to be gently stitched back together through friendship, and the recovery—of many stripes—that came along the way. It explores the isolation so many of us feel despite living in an age of constant connectivity; how our ambitions sometimes pull us apart more than bring us together; and how a simple doughnut, delivered by a caring soul, can become the essence of what makes a life valuable. With gorgeous prose shot through with empathy, pain, fear, and the secret truths inside all of us, Eva writes about the friends who taught her to grow up and open her heart—and how the relentlessness of suffering can give rise to the greatest joy.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

An Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Book
A Rumpus Most Anticipated of 2019 Pick​

"Starred Review. Fisher's often-gruesome medical descriptions are juxtaposed by her gentle exploration of love and friendship in this dazzling memoir." - Publisher's Weekly

"A well-written, emotionally uplifting tale of friendships, extreme illnesses, and understanding what love truly means." - Kirkus Reviews

"How to be Loved is searing, compassionate, and unexpectedly funny in its exploration of how suffering can beat us down to the point that we are forced to accept grace, whether we like it or not." - The Rumpus

"An inherently engaging, impressively compelling read from beginning to end, How to Be Loved is extraordinarily well written and ultimately inspiring." - The Midwest Book Review

"This moving, beautifully written book reveals the lengths we go to put conditions on our love, the ways in which we resist the people who want to come close to us, and the truth that it is in our weakest moments that we are most likely to find the greatest sources of strength." - Nylon, "50 Best Books to Read in 2019"

"In poem after poem, there is raw emotion, straightforward storytelling, and unapologetic truth. The poems here read like scars...sometimes they are up-front and easily understood...That intimate feeling is hard to find, and Alyan offers it here in spades." - NPR

"A primer on vulnerability, and the power of dropping your shield." - WBUR

"Eva Hagberg Fisher's story is the most beautiful sort of instruction manual. Through each harrowing, awkward, compelling, and heart-aching turn of the author's journey we glimpse the way a transformation is forged. Illness, addiction, and uncertainty are torments, but for some of us, asking for help can be the hardest challenge of all. This memoir is for us. It reminded me that every kind of healing is helped by the brave act of letting ourselves be loved. I would read it every day, if I could." - Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart & Abandon Me

" Hagberg Fisher shows us that the most deeply felt love isn't always romantic, that our chosen families can love us just as much (if not more) than our biological ones, and that sometimes, the hardest part of loving someone else is allowing them to love us back." - Doree Shafrir, author of Startup

"How to Be Loved is so much more than a stirring travelogue through the world of illness; it is a powerful look at how personal bonds make our lives healthier even when we may be too preoccupied – or too fearful – to appreciate them." - Rakesh Satyal, author of Blue Boy and No One Can Pronounce My Name

"I highly recommend this book to anyone who's ever been reassured that 'everything will be fine' when they really want others to honor the terror that maybe it won't; and to anyone who's ever been brave enough to push through that terror—as a patient, caretaker, friend or lover—to what lies on the other side." - Adam Nemett, author of We Can Save Us All

"Eva Hagberg Fisher is a gift to this world. Her astute understanding of the way we work as humans — and the way she can turn that understanding into compassion, love, and stories — is something to behold. I wish her to be my secret, but I know, as with all gifts, that they are best shared. To not have the world know her way with words, her use of language, and her beautiful and radical empathy would be a travesty. Her writing is necessary and heart-mending." - Jennifer Pastiloff, author of the forthcoming On Being Human

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Author Information

Eva Hagberg Fisher

Eva Hagberg Fisher's writing has appeared in the New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Tin House, Wallpaper*, Wired, Guernica, and Dwell, among other places. She lives in California and New York City.

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