Slam Poet, Bassey Ikpi’s book of essays, “I’m telling the truth, But I’m lying” which focuses on bipolar disorder and mental health has made it to the New York Times Best seller list.
The book has been described as exploring Ms Ikpi’s “life—as a Nigerian-American immigrant, a black woman, a slam poet, a mother, a daughter, an artist—through the lens of her mental health and diagnosis of bipolar II and anxiety. Her remarkable memoir in essays implodes our preconceptions of the mind and normalcy as Bassey bares her own truths and lies for us all to behold with radical honesty and brutal intimacy… In I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame, confusion, medication, and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives—how we appear to others, and more importantly to ourselves—and challenges our preconception about what it means to be “normal.” Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are—and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.”
The book of essays has received praise from far and wide. Kiese Laymon wrote – “We will not talk about mental health or normalcy the same after reading this momentous art object moonlighting as a colossal collection of essays.”
NPR and Essence magazine have also praised Bassey Ikpi’s writing.
“As phrases that can stop and startle you, here’s just one. ‘My mother loves and hates and heals and hurts with the same hands.’ The noted spoken word artist has written a book of essays that perform a memoir…. Thanks for writing this.” ( Scott Simon, NPR)
“Ikpi is not the first to write about mental illness, but I can’t say I’ve ever read a narrative about it like this… her writing is yes, poetic and lyrical with tenderness and thoughtfulness but also funny. She’s just so damn funny and her wit often makes her essays as humorous as they are heartbreaking…. You want to root for her well being. You want to be more understanding of others. And, for some of us, by the end of I’m Telling The Truth, but I’m Lying, you might find yourself realizing you are no less guilty of telling yourself certain stories in order to deal with trauma, secrets, and shame.” ( Michael Arceneaux, Essence)
I’m Telling The Truth, but I’m Lying has been picked as A Bitch Magazine Most Anticipated Book of 2019 • A Bustle 21 New Memoirs That Will Inspire, Motivate, and Captivate You • A Publishers Weekly Spring Preview Selection • An Electric Lit 48 Books by Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019 • A Bookish Best Nonfiction of Summer Selection