Hi Ali, could you please tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
Explaining my background is difficult, hence the book. Culturally speaking, my family is like a mini United Nations. My mother’s Filipino and my father’s Polish, making me biracial. Through my mother and father I have older and younger siblings who are also part Italian and Puerto Rican. Since my parents divorced when I was only a year old, I grew up in two distinct households on two coasts. Needless to say, I had a very unconventional upbringing and it has in every way shaped who I am as a person and a writer. If Carrie Bradshaw and David Sedaris had a literary lovechild, it’d be me.
I wrote the book during a very challenging period in my life. I had just gone through two intense breakups. The first was with my ex-boyfriend who also happens to be a celebrity, a situation that truly warrants the facebook status—it’s complicated. The second and even more crushing breakup was with my mother. It was that crucial moment in life when you realize you’re in a bad situation and something needs to change. Hoping to gain some clarity through distance, I quit my job and moved to Spain where I began writing. Nine months later a beautiful mess was born. It was the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done.
If you could summarize A Beautiful Mess in one sentence, what would it be?
My book is collection of personal essays that use humor to talk about some of the messes we all face in life-family problems, growing up, illness, breakups, and loss.
What was your inspiration behind A Beautiful Mess?
One of the reasons we read is to experience something. The experience I hope to provide is empathy. Perhaps your situation isn’t exactly like mine, but I’m sure that you’ll find a part of your story in the book. If I can laugh at my life then surely you can at yours too. That’s why I created #mymess. The #mymess movement is all about embracing life’s crazy moments though humor. Let me help you say yes to your mess.
What are your plans for future books?
I’d love to write another book. Since I draw inspiration from my own life the next book will probably be about my time in Spain.
Anything you would like the followers here, to know about you or your book?
It’s not always easy but I think it’s important to be able to laugh at life. If you enjoy sarcastic, off color, or dark humor, then you should definitely read my book. Also, for every book you buy, a book is donated to a charity that promotes literacy. So if you like helping kids read and dark comedies, buy my book.
To see my review of A Beautiful Mess, click here. I would like to thank Ali Berlinski and her publisher for participating in this interview.