Dreadful Sorry: Essays on an American Nostalgia (pre-order)

By Jennifer Niesslein


A new collection of essays exploring class, whiteness, family, and nostalgia, for better and for worse. 

"I have a nostalgia problem, and I’m not the only American who does." So writes Jennifer Niesslein in the introduction to Dreadful Sorry. But what, exactly, is the problem? Having grown up living hand-to-mouth in small-town Pennsylvania and suburban Virginia, Niesslein is keenly aware of both past challenges and relative privilege. In this set of engaging, personal stories, Niesslein digs into how her own sense of self is rooted in nostalgic narratives of her upbringing and of American history writ large. With often wry candor, she address thorny questions of family trauma and the problematic calculus of "respectability politics"—as well as the lighter nostalgias offered by high school reunions and the plain fact of a long and enduring marriage. In an era of widespread re-evaluation of Confederate monuments and the apparatus of white supremacy, Niesslein aims to diligently scrub out nostalgia that casts the past in a rosy glow, while remaining open-hearted and hopeful that nostalgia—our shared longing for a lost time—can help illuminate our understanding of the present and point the way toward a better future.

Charming and frank, this suite of personal essays digs deep, offering truths that will resonate with readers across the spectrum curious about the persistence of memory and our collective longing for days gone by.

Jennifer Niesslein is the editor and founder of the website Full Grown People, editor of two FGP anthologies, and author of one memoir. Originally from western Pennsylvania, she lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

FEBRUARY 2022 | ISBN: 978-1-953368-03-4 | ESSAYS | 5 x 7 | PAPERBACK | 126 PAGES



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