In “Here is New York,” EB White memorably advises that a person shouldn’t move to New York “unless he is willing to be lucky.” Growing up in Long Island, Mickey Rapkin—author of Pitch Perfect, which inspired the blockbuster film starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson—always felt susceptible to Manhattan’s gravitational pull. And when he arrived in the big city it exceeded his expectations, taking him to heights and knocking him for loops he could never have anticipated. And that’s just what his essays about the experience do, too. In “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” (which takes its name from an LCD Soundsystem song) Rapkin recounts a universal story of falling in love with New York, and the special ways the city—and the people you meet here—can break your heart, then bring you back to life. In the humorous but visceral “How Not To Tell Your Girlfriend You’re Gay” he explores the unexpected emotions of attending the wedding of his last girlfriend. These essays are a ride through love, loss, self-doubt and self-discovery.
WILLING TO BE LUCKY taps into the expectations we have of our adult lives before we get there, to the singular events that define our transition from youth to adulthood, and—finally—the experience of reconciling where we’ve arrived with the place we’d originally set out for. It will resonate with audiences flocking to HBO’s GIRLS as well as readers of books by Mike Birbiglia, Elif Batuman, John D'Agata, Touré, Sloane Crosley, and Jonathan Ames.
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Mickey Rapkin, formerly a senior editor at GQ, is a writer and regular columnist for Elle magazine. His first book, Pitch Perfect—about the unlikely world of competitive a cappella singing groups—was published by Gotham Books in 2008. The feature film version opened in 2012, and has made more than $115 million worldwide. Rapkin’s second book, Theater Geek (Free Press, 2010), a look at a famous performing arts camp, was featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in Vanity Fair, with USA Today calling it “touching, telling and entertaining.” In 2012, Rapkin co-wrote stylist Brad Goreski’s memoir, Born To Be Brad (It Books). For seven years, Rapkin covered the entertainment industry for GQ. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, BusinessWeek and Details. He lives in Manhattan.
Mickey Rapkin has a rare voice—witty and wide-eyed, honest and earnest. In WILLING TO BE LUCKY, we find the anti-pessimist: a heart writ large and a mind still in New York's thrall despite the city's challenges. This is a writer whose next morsel you'll be aching to gobble up.
- Rakesh Satyal, author of BLUE BOY