True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness

A Feminist Coming of Age

Christine Lahti

Book

A fiercely intelligent, hilarious, and deeply feminist collection of interrelated personal stories from Academy, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award–winning actress and director Christine Lahti.

For decades, actress and director Christine Lahti has captivated the hearts and minds of her audience through iconic roles in Chicago Hope, Running on Empty, Housekeeping, And Justice for All, Swing Shift, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, God of Carnage, and The Blacklist. Now, in True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness, this acclaimed performer channels her creativity inward to share her own story for the first time on the page.

In this poignant essay collection, Lahti focuses on three major periods of her life: her childhood, her early journey as an actress and activist, and the realities of her life as a middle-aged woman in Hollywood today. Lahti’s comical and self-deprecating voice shines through in stories such as "Kidnapped" and "Shit Happens," and she takes a boldly honest look at the painful fissures in her family in pieces such as "Mama Mia" and "Running on Empty." Taken together, the collection illuminates watershed moments in Lahti’s life, revealing her struggle to maintain integrity, fight her need for perfection, and remain true to her feminist inclinations.

Lahti’s wisdom and candid insights are reminiscent of Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and Joan Rivers’s I Hate Everyone—and yet her experiences are not exclusive to one generation. The soul of her writing can be seen as a spiritual mother to feminist actresses and comedic voices whose works are inspiring today’s young women, including Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Caitlin Moran, and Jenny Lawson. Her stories reveal a stumbling journey toward agency and empowerment as a woman—a journey that’s still very much a work in progress.

True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness is about the power of storytelling to affirm and reframe the bedrock of who we are, revealing that we’re all unreliable eyewitnesses when it comes to our deeply personal memories. Told in a wildly fresh, unique voice, and with the unshakable ability to laugh at herself time and again, this is Christine Lahti’s best performance yet.

Reviews

“Christine Lahti’s autobiographical essays are a beautiful, painful, funny, fiercely honest walk through the streets of her life. Gorgeous landscape, dangerous potholes and all. The whole unedited she-bang. It’s Oz with the curtain pulled back. At once soul-baring, hilarious, moving and smart. I’m a fan.” —Kathy Najimy, actress and comedienne

“This collection captures, in writing, the same array of emotions that Christine brings to the stage and screen with her acting. Funny with heart. Tears with a hint of hope. A fantastic mosaic that, when cobbled together, offers a stirring range of humanity.” —Alan Zweibel, original SNL writer and Thurber Prize winning author of The Other Shulman

“Christine Lahti’s stories of growing up in a family that was perfect on the outside -- but at times hurting on the inside--will speak to many readers personally. It will also speak to a national family that ignores painful history. Small or large, the healing is in the telling--and as she reminds us, humor and laughter are healing, too.” —Gloria Steinem, feminist, journalist, and social and political activist