Manic Readers

Rebecca Coffey

By day Rebecca Coffey is an award-winning science journalist contributing to Scientific American, Discover magazine,, Vermont Public Radio, and to a variety of other newspaper, radio, and Internet outlets.


But by night she is a humorist and a novelist. Her fact-based novel, Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story (She Writes Press, 2014), imagines the plight of Sigmund Freud’s smartest daughter. She was a secret lesbian, and Sigmund called lesbianism a gateway to mental illness caused by the father and curable by analysis. Worried that Anna had no interest in young men and an enduring love for her best female friend, Sigmund analyzed her. Booklist called Hysterical “complexly entertaining, sexually dramatic, and acidly funny” as well as “avidly researched, shrewd, and unnerving.” LAMBDA Literary described Hysterical’s plot as “so rife with tension it’ll make you squirm.” Oprah recommended Hysterical in the June 2014 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. The American Library Association named it a 2015 Over the Rainbow Book.


In 2013 Beck and Branch published Coffey’s Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake, a funny little gift book for bibliophile cooks. Its 22 recipes include “Anaïs Nin's Hot Cross Buns,” “Geoffrey Chaucer's Stinking Bishop's Tart,” “Ernest Hemingway’s Battered Testicles,” “Harper Lee's How to Kill a Mockingbird,” and “John Steinbeck's Crepes of Wrath.” Elissa Bassist of The Rumpus called Nietzsche’s “hilariously smart, intensely literary, and delicious in every way.” Long-time Hollywood writer/producer Dee La Duke (Girlfriends and Designing Women) called Nietzsche’s “brilliantly funny-—and insane, obsessive, sprawling, vivid, satisfying, and lush.” Erika Penzer Kerekes, Food Columnist for the L. A. Examiner commented, “Oh my God, I love this! More! More! More!” Good Stuff NW called Nietzsche’s “knee-slappingly funny.” Jon Potter of The Brattleboro Reformer began his review with, “Like good sausage, or a breakfast I once had in Manilla, Rebecca Coffey’s new book is filled with things I can’t describe and maybe don’t want to know about. I only know it’s wonderful." 

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