Praise for Becoming Duchess GoldblattNamed one of the New York Times' "20 Books We’re Watching For in 2020"Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020by Real Simpleand The MillionsA Best Book of July in the New York Times, Amazon, the Christian Science Monitor, and Apple An Indie Next PickA Best Book of the Summer from Marie Claire, Iowa Public Radio and Boston "Deeply satisfying, unexpectedly moving...As lovable as the duchess herself...In Duchess Goldblatt's digital neighborhood, people are not just welcome but completely adored...Duchess and Anonymous subtly, slowly become one person. She no longer feels alone; neither do her subjects. People find solace in this fictional character—and Anonymous does, too." —Julie Klam, New York Times Book Review "There's no recipe for Duchess Goldblatt tweets, but they often amount to one part conventional wisdom and two parts surrealism, with some grandmotherly tenderness or saltiness sprinkled in for good measure...Her feed is one of the few places on the internet devoted to spreading unadulterated joy. It's also a successful example of social media literature, due in part to Duchess's voice, which requires readers to confront the ridiculousness of the entire premise alongside the sincerity of her musings...Becoming Duchess Goldblatt recontextualizes the Twitter account as a therapeutic exercise." —Kate Dwyer, New York Times "Uplifting." —People, "The Best New Books" "A tonic, a gift for our anxious summer...Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is many things, all of them splendid...The best sort of self-help, demonstrating that creativity, generosity and even Twitter...can offer salvation and lift all boats...Anonymity liberates the author to share her story without restraint. The book is enriched by two distinct voices: one frank and vulnerable, the other all-knowing. You believe the details of the author's life because, though Duchess, she's committed to staying generous and true...This sort of anonymity, in a time of too much oversharing on too many platforms, is a respite. We need magic. The book's timing is inspired. It's a summer cocktail of a book. Of Duchess Goldblatt, we would expect nothing less." —Washington Post "The writer goes to great lengths in the book to demarcate herself from the Duchess. Goldblatt is an alter ego, someone onto whom she can project her pain and have it come back in the form of jokes. An obvious model is Dorothy Parker, but in a way the writer's creative nimbleness and insistence on anonymity brings to mind someone more like Lee Israel...Her proclamations sound like pithy lines from a standup special—that is, if the comedian was God and if God was an 81-year-old woman from the 17th century...What's most astonishing is the relationship Duchess has with her community...They find her amusing, comforting, assuring...Originally used as a tool to deal with her own trauma, over time the Duchess has mutated into something more like a movement. Duchess Goldblatt is a kid of way to rewrite the ways we treat ourselves and the people around us. The writer admits to a very famous friend she meets at one point in the book that the Duchess 'whispers' little prayers to each of her followers...It's loving the bizarre and cherishing the weird that Goldblatt does best. And it's why so many people trust her to tell them how to live, how to treat themselves with more compassion, how to treat each other better, too." —Boston Globe "Quite possibly the greatest book ever to be born from a pseudonymous Twitter account, this nonfiction gem is written by a reclusive real-life writer who created a wise, enchanting online persona for herself...Duchess Goldblatt wants the world to be a better place; by the time you’ve finished this moving, funny memoir, it will be." —Seattle Times "The Duchess is a light shining in the darkness, a beacon for troubled souls scrolling through their phones in the wee hours of the morning. Her presence has uplifted her human avatar, even as it heartens Her Grace's ever-growing audience of 'loons' and 'rascals.' She might be an invention of social media, but—as the Duchess would say—her love is real." —BookPage "A life-affirming memoir packed with hilarity and candid observations about life and love." —Marie Claire "A source of wry wisdom and off-kilter commentary...A testament to the powers of redemption, reinvention, and yes, country singer Lyle Lovett." —Christian Science Monitor "The fragmented nature of the internet lends itself to an aphoristic quality, and its anonymity has resurrected a certain Respublica literaria that can, for all of the web's reputation, feel downright Enlightenment. The anonymous woman behind the popular Duchess Goldblatt account on Twitter, with her avatar drawn from a Netherlands Renaissance portrait, is a case in point...Duchess Goldblatt has self-fashioned a persona delivering bon mots both witty and gnomic, all while using the internet itself as an aesthetic medium where the product is constructed identity...This anonymous memoir delivers." —The Millions "A fascinating memoir by a 21st-century original."—Kirkus, STARRED review "A surprising, joyful story of social media at its best."—Booklist "After reading this unforgettable memoir, I figured out who Duchess Goldblatt is: all of us. Behind her brilliantly witty and uplifting message is a remarkable vulnerability and candor that reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles—and that we can, against all odds, get through them. As though casting a magic spell on her readers, she moves, inspires, and connects us through her unvarnished humanity. It was, for this therapist, a form of therapy I didn't know I needed." —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times-bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone "This book is, like Duchess Goldblatt herself, nothing you expect and everything you need. It's a memoir not just of one life (failures and triumphs laid bare) but also of a second self—its creation, its evolution, its improbable splendor. We may never deserve Duchess Goldblatt and her magnanimity, but her inventor most certainly does." —Rebecca Makkai, author of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist The Great Believers “What an unexpected marvel of a book, funny and poignant and—dare I say—sweet. It’s fashionable to bash social media, but without it, we wouldn’t have Duchess and that would be a damn shame.”—Laura Lippman, New York Times-bestselling author of Lady in the Lake and Sunburn “The question I am most often asked by readers out in the world, is, ‘Who is Duchess Goldblatt?’ The correct answer is, ‘She is the Universe’s secret admirer, a made-up & hilarious octogenarian who lives on Twitter, who delivers love and demands it in equal, astonishing measure.’ What they mean is: what’s her real identity? This book does not precisely reveal that. Instead it’s the actual memoir of a fictional person, a meditation on what it means to start again in the oddest way possible. It is also heartbreaking, funny, gorgeously written, surprising, brilliant, profound, the book only Duchess Goldblatt herself could have written.” —Elizabeth McCracken, bestselling author of Bowlaway and The Giant’s House “A memoir that is, ironically, about the power a fiction can exert on us all, she tells us a story about late Capitalism, social media, the financial crisis, and America, and being a woman trying to survive it all. Whatever someone expects this to be, it isn’t, and that is, perhaps, the real secret to the Duchess underneath it all.” —Alexander Chee, bestselling author of The Queen of the Night and How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
“Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is a story about the importance of community—of kindness, acceptance, and friendship. The world would be a better place if we all became Duchess Goldblatt.”
—Lyle Lovett"Surely you follow Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter? If not, do yourself a favor and hit that button to subscribe to her delightful musings. In Becoming Duchess Goldblatt, the Duchess' real-life anonymous creator writes about crafting one of Twitter's (if not the Internet's) best accounts and healing herself in the process." —Real Simple
The pseudonymous Twitter account @DuchessGoldblat purveys an 81-year-old literary persona who has authored books like Feasting on the Carcasses of My Enemies and Not If I Kill You First, a tender meditation on mothers and daughters. Here she reflects on building a worthwhile life after grief. A smallish print run so far but shaping up to be a sleeper hit of summer.
How does a fictional character write a real memoir? Very, very well.
Most readers who are active on social media are aware of Duchess Goldblatt, the acerbic yet warmhearted doyenne of Twitter, represented by a Frans Hals portrait of an elderly woman with a stiff muff around her neck. Over the years, she’s dispensed witticisms and advice to her 24,000-plus followers, many of them writers, without giving away any clues about the person behind the persona. When she finally met her No. 1 fan, Lyle Lovett (it’s a long story), he was shocked that she wasn’t "a little old lady or a gay man!” Now, Duchess Goldblatt’s admirers can get to know her still-anonymous creator, and perhaps the biggest surprise in this striking memoir is the fact that Duchess is a name (taken from a friend’s dog), not a title, though no doubt everyone will keep calling her “Your Grace.” The author created Duchess during a terrible time: She'd lost her job, her husband had left her, and she was tormented by the part-time separation from her young son. Duchess was a way for her to lurk online, but she soon found herself carefully crafting posts, responding to everyone who wrote to her, and finding solace in the community she’d created. The book is prismatic, moving among the author’s difficult childhood, the years after her divorce, and her growing relationships with people Duchess had befriended—only a few of whom, including Lovett, have ever met her. She wrestles with the questions of whether she and Duchess are two separate people and how Duchess makes friends so easily when she herself feels almost friendless. Lovett’s manager called what she’s doing “collaborative performance art,” and that’s an apt term for it; together with Duchess’ followers, she’s created a long-term fever dream of humor, compassion, wordplay, and dog photos.
A fascinating memoir by a 21st-century original.