Please Miss

A speculative memoir of gender transition and recovery from addiction, refracted through pop culture, queer theory, film, TV, literature, and (what feels like) stand-up comedy–like The Argonauts caught in a hall of mirrors, with a lot more sex and humor.

Coming soon from Seal Press in 2022

Advance praise for Please Miss

This is the queer memoir you’ve been waiting for; a dizzying mix of theory and pastiche, metafiction and memory. PLEASE MISS is Terry Castle meets Lauren Slater meets Michelle Tea; hilarious and sexy and terrifying in its brilliance. But don’t worry—Lavery is an avalanche you’ll be glad to be buried under.

Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House

Grace Lavery’s memoir – if that’s what it is? – is a daring, perverse, mind-blowing, intellectual, hilarious, outrageous, inspired work of art that somehow is touchingly sincere while giving no fucks whatsoever. I read this laughing out loud, clutching my pearls, my mind exploding in wonder. This meditation on trans bodies, queer sex, pop culture, academia, and fantasy rips open bold and badly needed new terrain in literature.

Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir

An unclassifiable pastiche of genuine beauty, a meta-memoir that takes its humor as seriously as its philosophy. Lush, louche, and utterly virtuosic, PLEASE MISS takes a puff off a cigarette, and blooms an astonishing constellation of genres. A book of linked vignettes, an argument given in undercurrent, in root systems, in smoke. Lavery stakes a claim not only on contemporary theories of transgender experience and writing, but nothing short of the reader’s sensorium itself. PLEASE MISS gives us what we came for and then the much-more for which we did not know we could come.

Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox

PLEASE MISS is a wickedly smart and filthily funny mosaic of criticism, memoir, and autofiction that is refreshingly avant-garde, profoundly erotic, and as enthralling as an intimate all-night conversation with the brainy high femme BFF you wish you had. I wish it upon everyone.

Melissa Febos, author of Abandon Me

In the way that excellent style always blurs the question of genre, Grace Lavery shows how excellent style can blur gender with equal verve. This book reframes the question of transition from the familiar journey from A to B, and replaces that journey with a can’t-look-away performance of wit, language, irreverence, and delight so compelling that a reader forgets about destinations all together.

Torrey Peters, author of Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and Detransition, Baby

Grace Lavery’s PLEASE MISS is a transition-memoir-as-fever-dream that perhaps sits more comfortably alongside the work of New Narrative writers like Dodie Bellamy than amongst the Janet Mocks of the world. PLEASE MISS underscores the point that literature has evolved past the need for overcooked tell-all transition memoirs by presenting us with an hallucinatory journey that’s both hilarious and bizarre. Lavery’s work is part of an emerging vanguard of trans non-fiction that is surgically reconstructing the genre.

Morgan Page, artist and activist, 2014 Lambda Literary Fellow

Have you ever walked into a room and been hit by an unmistakeable intimate aroma and you think “it sure smells like genres have been fucking in here?” That’s the effect of this text, which cheerfully explodes the trans memoir as political and rhetorical apparatus, refusing norms of uplift or disclosure or cis reader reassurance in favor of the messy magic of a joyfully plural existence: code switching from the high theory to face-in-the-pillow action, Lavery opens up but she doesn’t come clean. It’s all here: psychoanalysis and femmebots and sperm banks and lunches with your ex. Family secrets and family falsehoods and weird detours that require, and deserve, their own fonts. Noir interludes; Wildean pedagogy; Hawaiian excursions. Musical numbers. Mysterious letters to and from the past. Clowns. And Fucking. Lots of fucking, but also sharp sadness and bad drugs and sudden joy and better drugs. You will annoy loved ones because you’re going read big chunks of this out loud to them and their jaws will drop at the chutzpah of Grace abounding. What J.H. Sasfy said of the songs on The Cramps’ debut EP is also true of the wild gearshifts and switchbacks in Lavery’s PLEASE MISS; these chapters “don’t pummel and you won’t pogo: they ooze, you’ll throb.”

Drew Daniel, of the band Matmos, Associate Professor of English, Johns Hopkins University

PLEASE MISS will awe you with its swung prose, its hairpin generic turns, and its bouts of gleeful self-scrutiny. These formal extroversions are part of the book’s argument and a deep insurrectionist pleasure in themselves. They also lend specific gravity to the experiences that Lavery interrupts or encrypts, as if to draw the limits of disclosure. She wants us with her in such moments, but it’s a complicated with—the with in withdraw, withstand, withhold. Yet for Lavery every folding out implies a refolding in at some other level. One chapter through and you’re ready to draw with her, stand with her, hold with her.

Paul Saint-Amour, Walter H. & Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

PLEASE MISS greets the dilemma of the trans memoir today with a kiss and the gift of a voice labile to the impossibly stranger-than-fiction experiences of trans womanhood in a world organized against it. Through pleasurable and piercing bends of form that show with uncanny sharpness what genre is to gender, this is a book that offers its reader a chance to expand her imagination along with Lavery, receiving the most precious and unlikely knowledge: that which comes not as truth, but as grace.

Jules Gill-Peterson, editor of Transgender Studies Quarterly, Associate Professor of English, Pittsburgh University

With the gumption and panache of a channel-hopping detective Poppins, Grace pulls you through the chalk drawing and off on a whirligig of a saunter through the magical lands of her trans experience. There are no penguins, but there are basically penguins. Simultaneously mythic and demystifying, this rip-roaring tale whips and morphs like a 90’s BBC CGI alien before blossoming into a beautiful, personal story about hope, joy, our bodies, and the meaty stories we build from them.

Seiriol Davies, playwright and artist, author of How to Win Against History

Grace Lavery has somehow managed to blend a rich overview of trans philosophy and theory with a languid, playful sexuality and humor that radiates from every page. It’s a work of great seriousness that doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and as long as I live I will never figure out how she did it.

Nicole Cliffe, author, columnist, editor of The Toast

As a professor of English who teaches courses in queer and trans studies, PLEASE MISS will be an indispensable addition to my classroom. Unlike other transition memoirs, the manuscript is extraordinarily formally various and uniquely committed to experimentalism–it encompasses everything from memoir to satire, melodrama, porn, parody, and aesthetic theory. I foresee this book appearing on a wide range of course syllabi, not only in queer and trans studies, but in comedy, memoir, contemporary literature, and the avant-garde.

Kristin Grogan, Assistant Professor of English, Rutgers University

Always smart, frequently funny, and sometimes–always tastefully, I assure you–gut-wrenchingly moving, Grace Lavery’s PLEASE MISS is brilliant from start to finish. It’s a howling tale of trans life, addiction, sex, love, loss, and meat. It tackles an issue at once personal and astonishingly universal: Just what the hell are we to do with this maddening and delightful meat out of which we are made? Or, better yet, what does it mean to be meat (which seems rather unavoidable, really), and also to need to tell stories about the meat we are? PLEASE MISS poses these questions about a very particular bit of meat (psssst: it’s a penis!) as it troubles a very particular genre of story (the trans memoir). Lavery’s wit and insight bends that genre, and, packed as it is with delicious fabulation and sticky detail, the book makes a profound statement about not only what it means to be trans, but also what it means to be meaty, enfleshed, sexed, throbbing with desire, reeling from loss, ragged, loved and pleasured, carved and sutured, and, above all, struggling to find words for any and all of it. What a book! And have I mentioned it’s an absolute delight to read?

Gabriel Rosenberg, Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Duke University

Hot, sick, painfully vivid.

Sophie Lewis, author of Full Surrogacy Now