I'm Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself: One Woman's Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris (Hardcover)

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I'm Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself: One Woman's Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris By Glynnis MacNicol Cover Image

I'm Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself: One Woman's Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris (Hardcover)


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Staff Reviews

At its surface, MacNicol's newest memoir is an ode to physical touch, intimacy and joy post-pandemic, as well as a beautiful travelogue through Paris. But all of that is just a smokescreen for a book that reflects on and celebrates women who choose to unapologetically live outside the conventions of marriage and children. This is my favorite kind of book and I soaked up all of the wisdom in its pages.

— Katie

“A delight, the literary equivalent of a long catch-up with a brilliant friend.” —New York Times

“One of the most talked-about books of the year.” —Gayle King

When you’re a woman of a certain age, you are only promised that everything will get worse. But what if everything you’ve been told is a lie?

Come to Paris, August 2021, when the City of Lights was still empty of tourists and a thirst for long-overdue pleasure gripped those who wandered its streets.

After New York City emptied out in March 2020, Glynnis MacNicol, aged forty-six, unmarried with no children, spent sixteen months alone in her tiny Manhattan apartment. The isolation was punishing. A year without touch. Women are warned of invisibility as they age, but this was an extreme loneliness no one can prepare you for. When the opportunity to sublet a friend’s apartment in Paris arose, MacNicol jumped on it. Leaving felt less like a risk than a necessity.

What follows is a decadent, joyful, unexpected journey into one woman’s pursuit of radical enjoyment.

The weeks in Paris are filled with friendship and food and sex. There is dancing on the Seine; a plethora of gooey cheese; midnight bike rides through empty Paris; handsome men; afternoons wandering through the empty Louvre; nighttime swimming in the ocean off a French island. And yes, plenty of nudity.

In the spirit of Nora Ephron and Deborah Levy (think Colette . . . if she’d had access to dating apps), I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself is an intimate, insightful, powerful, and endlessly pleasurable memoir of an intensely lived experience whose meaning and insight expand far beyond the personal narrative. MacNicol is determined to document the beauty, excess, and triumph of a life that does not require permission.

The pursuit of enjoyment is a political act, both a right and a responsibility. Enjoying yourself—as you are—is not something the world tells you is possible, but it is.

Here’s the proof.
Glynnis MacNicol is the author of the memoir No One Tells You This. She created and hosted the podcast Wilder. She lives in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593655757
ISBN-10: 0593655753
Publisher: Penguin Life
Publication Date: June 11th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English
One of W Magazine’s Best, Most Talked-About Books of 2024
One of Romper’s 12 New Books On Our Summer Reading List
One of Goodreads’ Readers’ Most Anticipated Summer Books
One of TIME’s 25 New Books You Need to Read This Summer
On Zibby Owens’ Ultimate Summer Reading List

One of Eater’s 10 Food-Filled Beach Reads for Your Summer Vacation

One of BookRiot’s Book Critics’ Most Anticipated Summer Reads
One of LitHub’s The Ultimate Summer 2024 Reading List
One of NPRs Book of the Day

“A journey of radical pleasure filled with good friends, good food, good wine, and good sex. . . . MacNicol finds purposeful, decadent joy beyond the confines of society’s expectations.”
—W Magazine

“The memoir is perhaps more aptly described as a tale, given its compressed, month-ish timeline. You could also interpret it as allegory: In her first memoir, 2018’s No One Tells You This, MacNicol reckoned with turning 40 and caring for her dying mother in the absence of the expected husband or children. (It made me cry on a plane.) Yet in I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself, a spiritual sequel, MacNicol’s life is framed not by lack, but abundance. She not only defies convention, but richly enjoys doing so, dedicating 260 pages to the pleasures of being single and childfree. . . . For mothers and wives in the throes of caretaking, MacNicol’s independence, her freedom to travel to Paris at all, may feel downright fantastical. But it also offers a profoundly hopeful counter-narrative: that age can come with an expanding, rather than a limiting, of possibilities. . . . Delicious.”

“Sex, though, is only a tiny slice of MacNicol’s pleasure. The book is mainly a travelogue through Paris, where MacNicol stays often and has a close ‘Sex and the City’-type circle of girlfriends. One pleasure for the reader is her casual style of writing, which seems to mimic the pace of life. . . . The digressions feel neither self conscious nor literary but relaxed, implying that one source of a single woman’s pleasure is having the time to follow the flow of her own thoughts.”
—Washington Post

“Absorbing . . . MacNicol is undoubtedly an incisive cultural critic, with a clear and singular take on our social-media-dominated era, and it’s a pleasure to accompany her on her considerations of thorny social issues. . . . the force of MacNicol’s elegant prose presides, alongside her uncompromising intellect. . . . a delight, the literary equivalent of a long catch-up with a brilliant friend. And if that’s not fun, I don’t know what is.”
—New York Times

“In this vulnerable essay collection, plates of pain perdu and mugs of chocolat chaud punctuate meditations on writing, dating, and economic uncertainty—you know, all the essential existential crises of our era. Paris, with its stunning scenery and refined charm, is the perfect setting for MacNicol to soothe what ails her.”

“A provocative travelog that covers one woman’s search for radical pleasure. After spending the height of the COVID-19 pandemic alone in her tiny Manhattan apartment, author Glynnis MacNicol jumped at the opportunity to sublet her friend’s Paris home in August 2021. At 46, childless, and unattached, she wanted to prove to herself—and to a world that is not always kind to women of a certain age—that she still had a lot of living to do. Over the course of one Parisian summer, she finds gratification in good food, good wine, and really good sex. (The book’s cover is a cheeky nod to just how much time she spends in the nude.) By giving herself over to her indulgences, MacNicol learns to live her best life. With her book, she encourages others to do the same.”

“There’s something about a woman old enough to know herself, and, perhaps, to care a lot less about others’ opinions than she did a decade earlier, that seems endlessly threatening to some factions of our society. A forthcoming memoir from the brilliant writer Glynnis MacNicol, I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself, addresses this provocation head-on.”

“The sexiest book of the summer . . . Glynnis MacNicol’s new memoir I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself is everywhere, and that’s a good thing. In the new book, MacNicol recounts a trip to Paris in 2021 after 16 months of solitary pandemic isolation, weeks she spent in ‘decadent, joyful, unexpected . . . pursuit of radical enjoyment.’ It’s radical because MacNicol was 46, single, and childfree at the time (she is now 50, single, and childfree), living in gleeful defiance of society’s messages about middle-aged women’s desires and desirability. . . . I look forward to seeing her appear on many best-of lists come December.”

“This book is [MacNicol’s] account of finding pleasure—and company—on her own terms, a celebration of friendship, food, and sex that will make every reader wish they had a friend with an apartment in Paris and the freedom to truly enjoy it.”
“The subtitle says it all, really: One Woman's Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris. . . . Banging away at the myth that middle-aged women can’t have fun, MacNicol’s odyssey is filled with friends, food, sex, and night swimming—all in the wake of a global pandemic.”

"In I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself, Glynnis MacNicol brilliantly cements her writing legacy as the most ardent supporter of living well, especially for women, amid any and all pressure to suppress our natural exhilaration for being alive. MacNicol’s memoir is a guide for pursuing your own pleasure in body and spirit, not exactly an example for readers to follow, but certainly an invitation to allow themselves all the same freedoms. This isn’t escapism. This is a call to go deeper into what feels most real."
—Ashley C. Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter
"I thought I knew pleasure when I met my husband. But reading this book makes me think I should’ve stayed single in Paris! Finally a model of womanhood beyond kids and marriage, a vision of what it can be to embrace freedom. Every word was a pleasure."
—Katy Tur, anchor of MSNBC’s Katy Tur Reports and New York Times bestselling author of Rough Draft and Unbelievable
"Absolutely triumphant. A rapturous ode to loving yourself through letting others love you, I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself by Glynnis MacNicol is a decadent buffet of pleasures that adds up to so much more. MacNicol takes us on a Seine-backdropped, art-and-bicycle-packed adventure that goes beyond self-discovery or acceptance, and to a deeper place of real self-love. A beautiful, bold, boisterous literary book for those of us who are longing to be touched—the ones who want to pursue the best life has to offer us, and nothing less."
—Isaac Fitzgerald, New York Times bestselling author of Dirtbag, Massachusetts

“In the impermeable narrative that society has given women about getting older, MacNicol has opened a trap door to a world of pleasures, parties, and power. Her lively, succulent account of seeking joy for the hell of it in Paris is a permanent permission slip for all of us to find it for ourselves, right here, at any age. My highest praise for this book is ‘I enjoyed it so much!!’ because that's exactly what MacNicol is teaching us to do in all parts of our lives.”
—Mari Andrew, New York Times bestselling author of Am I There Yet? and My Inner Sky

“Deliciously fun and freeing and inspiring.”
—Lyz Lenz, New York Times bestselling author of This American Ex-Wife

“Jubilant . . . After spending the height of the Covid-19 pandemic anxious and alone in her New York City apartment, a 47-year-old MacNicol jumped at the opportunity to sublet a friend’s Paris apartment in 2021. She was eager for a change of scenery and an opportunity to live as ‘a woman who wasn’t required to ask permission. Who could do as she pleased.’ In Paris, MacNicol ate indulgently, found lovers via dating apps, made new friends, and eventually came to view the city as ‘a mirror that has allowed me to see my entire self and . . . tak[e] enormous pleasure in the wholeness of that person.’ . . . It adds up to an exhilarating account of finding a new lease of life.”
—Publishers Weekly

"Women today are expected to know and be everything, but at what cost? Are your 20s the only acceptable age to grow and evolve? These are only some of the questions MacNicol brings to the table, as she challenges modern expectations of the right to pleasure and enjoyment and being one’s true self in an ever-darkening world. Blending humorous commentary and wit with vivid stories of love, lust, and good food, MacNicol generously invites readers into her Parisian paradise. A fun memoir filled to the brim with humor and vulnerability."