My Misspent Youth
In these essays, many of which appeared in magazines like The New Yorker Harper's, and GQ, the author speaks to questions at the root of the contemporary experience. From the search for authenticity and interpersonal connection in a society defined by consumerism and media; to the disenchantment of working in a "glamour profession"; to the catastrophic effects of living among New York's terminal hipsters, My Misspent Youth touches on emotions and experiences that are at once deeply personal and surprisingly universal. Published in 2001 by the independent publisher Open City Books, My Misspent Youth has enjoyed more than a decade of popularity that many have have likened to cult status.
With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum takes on subjects as varied as the hazards of being a student oboe player to the secret world of flight attendants. She implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her and is never anything but honest in the face of the absurdities of hyprocrasies of modern American life. My Misspent Youth contains the beloved essay Music Is My Bag as well as the unforgettable Variations on Grief (not to mention Carpet Is Mungers, her perversely popular treatise on the perils of wall-to-wall carpet and other upsetting decor choices.)
Review of My Misspent Youth in The Nation.