Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide

Twenty-five year old Stephanie Schroeder arrived in New York City in 1990 with edgy good looks, attitude to burn and undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Her unflinching memoir chronicles her trajectory through the worlds of queer political activism, corporate America, intimate partner violence, unwilling parenthood, erotic discovery, 9/11…and three attempted suicides. Repeatedly falling through the cracks of the U.S. healthcare system, Schroeder became her own advocate, found help and began a healthier life. Readers will find both entertainment and inspiration in the rollercoaster twists and turns of this “beautiful wreck” of a memoir.

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What people are saying about Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide:

“A riveting and painfully honest account, Beautiful Wreck not only demonstrates the importance of humor and perseverance in the face of mental illness, but also affirms the power of self-reinvention.” – Kaitlin Bell Barnett, author of Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up

“I highly recommend this candid memoir, particularly for Schroeder’s strong voice that successfully balances life’s darkest moments with humor,” -Claire S. Gould, Persephone Magazine

“Brave and relentless, a courage to do it all that astounds one. To write it all down. But that is what I have come to expect from Stephanie Schroeder. I have known her some 25 years and watched what she has done with her life: journalism, law; wonderful what she has been through; to hell and back again. A survivor. Always with a sense of humor, a jauntiness that says to hell with ordinary opinion.” –Kate Millett, author of Sexual Politics

“…a raw, powerful exposure of one woman’s life. Stephanie is incapable of dissimulation…her honesty is arresting, convincing and always winning. You truly care about her on the page and in her life. I was mesmerized, and you will be too.” –Joseph Amiel, author of A Question of Proof and Birthright

“The memoir is now de rigeur, a rite of passage for middle-aged writers. To make one’s story stand out, it must stand up—to scrutiny, to deconstruction, to other people’s revisionism. Beautiful Wreck stands up—it’s the raw, honest, balls out (ovaries out?), in-your-face lesbian version of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces without the lying and posturing. Schroeder takes us, in real time and retrospectively, on the trip through “comfort suicide”—the belief that death can be an answer to depression. She explicates how normative emotional pain so severe it makes you want to die can become. Fortunately, three attempts with no success were the charm; that dark round-trip down the river Styx brings Schroeder back irrevocably to life at its deepest, fullest and most inspirational. This is what survival is, and Schroeder lays it bare.” –Victoria A. Brownworth, award-winning author, Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life and Coming Out of Cancer

“Written with humor, insight, perception, courage–a much needed work from a talented writer.” –Joan Nestle, activist, archivist & author of A Restricted Country and A Fragile Union

Reader Responses:

“If anybody is looking for Prozac Nation 15 years later, please, please check out Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide by Stephanie Schroeder. I read it in one day and for anybody who…suffers from depression, anxiety problems, and/or bi-polar this book will reaffirm and comfort you.”

“…this is such an important message you have to share! By being brave enough to open your heart to speak about your experiences, many people can be helped and healed. A book like this, coming from a place of bravery and honesty can help people of all backgrounds.”

“Just got off the phone with a young gay patient to whom I recommended your book. He saw his own situation in your experience with that doc and it “hit me like a ton of bricks.” He said he realized it isn’t his condition keeping him from doing his own thing, it’s the negative caretaker in his life telling him he can’t. He’s finally agreed to therapy with medication, something his lover has discouraged. Just so you know. Mega thanks. This is huge.”

“Hi, I just had to write you..I spent the night reading your book from beginning to end and WOW, you are such a strong, beautiful woman with such a powerful story to tell. Thank you, Steph the story of you is so touching…so many of us can relate to what you’ve been through.. Congrats and…keep up the good work sista!!!!!”

“Illuminating book. Amazing. I saw far too much of myself in it and had to take a long walk this morning. I hope you continue to write about your life for those of us who can’t, whether we lack the talent, courage, or for other reasons. Hugs. Thanks again for the book.”

“This is an amazing book I’m reading for the second time. I have ADHD and a learning disorder so it’s hard for me to read front to cover but I am hooked. Hat’s and shirts off to you Ms. Stephanie Schroeder, your words, wisdom and honesty bring much inspiration and enlightenment.”

“Just finished your book. Amazing trip that I unfortunately RAN through – started last night and am now done… Hungry for more of your writing. Even though there were many passages that were terribly hard to read because they were just too vivid and I could breathe them myself. Brava!”

“I think that it is a very brave thing to do to write a memoir like that. To tell your story just the way it happened without editing any “ugly” parts (like suicide attempts) away. Because then it would not be YOUR story, it would have been an edited version!  It was so inspirational. I felt that the key message was that it is never too late to get help and find the happiness and love that you deserve!”

“Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your book! I’m glad you brought so many things to light… really gave me some insight into some of my own relationships! ”