We've picked our next book for the Happier Podcast Book Club! Another memoir: I.M by Isaac Mizrahi.
A New York Times bestseller, this memoir is thought-provoking, hilarious, beautifully written, fascinating. It's a great portrait of a time and a place. You get a picture of glamor and celebrities, and also of the tremendously hard work of attaining mastery.
You can listen to this 3-minute episode of “A Little Happier,” where I talk about a few passages that particularly struck me: “Reading Isaac Mizrahi Taught Me About Myself.” For instance, here’s what Mizrahi writes about seeing the movie Funny Girl in his childhood:
“It’s such a cliché: a kid sitting in a dark theatre, the world opening up—a kind of shifting. And yet that’s truly the way it happened…That moment marked another first for me. This flood of inspiration was accompanied by a feeling of dread and a hint of resigned exhaustion. This particular mix of emotions has become a regular event in my life. Whenever I feel most inspired, I’m simultaneously struck by a feeling of sadness and exhaustion at seeing the distance left to go, the labor ahead to achieve anything near to capturing perfection on that level.”
I read the memoir first, and I told Elizabeth and our mother both to read it. We all loved it—so much so that Elizabeth and I decided that we had to make it our next choice. (One small part we all loved: the ritual of shopping at Loehmann's—and our mother's excitement at finding a designer bargain there—is a happy memory of our childhood, as well as Mizrahi's.)
I have to admit, I was astonished to realize that Isaac Mizrahi is just a handful of years older than I am. What have I been doing with myself? He's lived fifty lifetimes already!
Elizabeth loves Andy Cohen, and here's what he had to say about the memoir: “I.M. has everything. It’s colorful, hysterical, touching, bold, and heartbreaking. It’s about coming of age, creativity, being yourself, Jewish mothers, fashion, art, loss, and glamour. I loved it.”
Here's the official book description:
Isaac Mizrahi is sui generis: designer, cabaret performer, talk-show host, a TV celebrity. Yet ever since he shot to fame in the late 1980s, the private Isaac Mizrahi has remained under wraps. Until now.
In I.M., Isaac Mizrahi offers a poignant, candid, and touching look back on his life so far. Growing up gay in a sheltered Syrian Jewish Orthodox family, Isaac had unique talents that ultimately drew him into fashion…