About the Book
Eileen is too smart for the third grade, but when she gets a chance to be skipped ahead, she fails the test. The clownish school psychologist tries to gain her trust with an offer of Oreos, but she refuses. After all, he is a stranger and might try to poison her! This is the start of the author’s love-hate relationship with the rules as they were laid out for a girl in the 1960s and as they persist in some form today. As she ascends through a physics degree at Yale that dashes her hopes for love and romance, to a post-graduate summer that leaves her “peed on, shot at, and kidnapped,” to a marriage of supposed equals in which she is expected to do all the housework, child-rearing, and bill paying and make sure the Roto-Rooter guy arrives on time, Pollack shares with poignant humor the trials of being smart and female in a world in which women are rarely appreciated for both their bodies and their minds. Maybe It’s Me is a question all women have asked themselves. But Pollack’s message will resonate with readers of all genders as a story of the very human search for connection, love, acceptance, and self-respect. The author of the groundbreaking memoir The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club, Pollack proves that even in her sixties, wiser and more bruised but no less hilarious, she is still very much in the game.
Praise for Maybe It’s Me: On Being the Wrong Kind of Woman
A master of the long-form personal essay. . . .The author’s candor, curiosity, humor, and gift for phrasemaking are engaging regardless of the topic. . .Yet more compelling work from a unique mind.
― Kirkus (starred review)
Eileen Pollack’s essay collectionMaybe It’s Me: On Being the Wrong Kind of Woman asks the kind of probing questions all autobiographical writing ought to pose but only the most fearless dares to answer. With a clear eye and a sharp wit, Pollack traces the path by which an outwardly ordinary girlhood gave rise to an extraordinary woman.
― Kristen Roupenian, author of You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories
Detective, stand-up comedian, veteran storyteller, Eileen Pollack investigates mysteries that trouble the idea of home. She seeks answers in memories of her Catskill childhood but also heads out to places that discomfort and disquiet: a Jewish cemetery hidden within a Detroit auto plant, a Catholic hospital in Krakow, the ruined walls of Jericho. Whether writing about the absurdities of the mid-life dating scene in New York or her conflicted love of Judaism, her candor and wit disarm and delight.
― Donovan Hohn, author of Moby-Duck and The Inner Coast
Eileen Pollack’s essays are striking for their tender, smart explorations of love and longing, fear and injustice, memory and history, and the everyday project of claiming one’s place in the world. An illuminating portrait of womanhood and all its sorrows, challenges, and triumphs, Maybe It’s Me is a marvelous collection with a bold, powerful sensibility.
― Natalie Bakopoulus, author of The Green Shore and Scorpionfish
About the Author
Eileen Pollack grew up in Liberty, N.Y., the heart of the Jewish Catskills. One of the first two women to graduate from Yale with a BS in physics, she earned an MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of five critically acclaimed novels and two award-winning collections of short fiction. Pollack’s work of creative nonfiction Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull was made into a movie starring Jessica Chastain. Her investigative memoir The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club was excerpted in The New York Times Magazine and went viral. “The Bris” appeared in the Best American Short Stories 2007; “Pigeons” was selected for Best American Essays 2013 and “Righteous Gentile” for Best American Travel Writing 2018. A former director of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, she now lives and writes in Boston.