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Paperback How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time Book

ISBN: 0571211852

ISBN13: 9780571211852

How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time

For a generation of teenage girls, Sassy magazine was nothing short of revolutionary--so much so that its audience, which stretched from tweens to twentysomething women, remains obsessed with it to this day and back issues are sold for hefty sums on the Internet. For its brief but brilliant run from 1988 to 1994, Sassy was the arbiter of all that was hip and cool, inspiring a dogged devotion from its readers while almost single-handedly...


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Customer Reviews

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Once Upon A Time

Long, long ago (not really, just the early 1990's, but it feels like forever!), there was the most fantastic teen magazine ever: SASSY!!! For girls like myself (this is William's wife Jen writing, by the way, in case anyone is wondering "Huh?") who were not the upper class WASPs of America with money to burn, perfect tans and bleached hair and New Kids lust, Sassy was such an amazing outlit for our social, political, and emotional frustrations. I was a girl who didn't gave a darn about 90210, Debbie Gibson, Prada, Calvin Klein, social conformity, and Sassy really helped to open up a whole nother world. The staff at Sassy became like our cooler older sisters in the hip underground: they knew all of the cool bands, fashions, actors, etc before the mainstream media had a clue. Also, I must add, that Sassy was the first place where I had read about Wicca which is now my spiritual path in life. In a time which I was an outcast demiJew interested in paganism and Buddhism but forced to going to a very Conservative Catholic school full of the standard cheerleader types (their solution to life was just to follow whatever nonsense the nuns and their parents proclaimed, no matter how braindead, and never to think for themselves), Sassy was literally a Goddess send where I finally felt connected. On another note, I was very happy to see that they added a bit about how many girls felt alienated by the ultra- underground and alternative aspects of Sassy. Towards the end of the magazine, it seemed to me (and after reading, I'm glad I'm not the only one) that if you liked any song that managed to get on the radio, any show that had appeared in TV Guide, or wanted to dye your hair with Clairol instead of funky Kool Aid colours, then you were deemed terminally uphip (I remember as if it were yesterday how they trashed my then favourite band Roxette). I think that that exclusiveness, rather than any boycotts about the sex columns, were the cause of Sassy's demise. Still, it was an amazing magazine and so uplift and often soulsearching for its readers and sadly no magazine has come close to filling that void for today's young women (although B*tch is great. Check it out if you can).

Media Revolution Girl Style

Before female adolescents in America had Oakland/Portland's Bitch or Chicago's VenusZine for feminism 101, there was New York City's Sassy. In How Sassy Changed My Life, readers are given a magazine-size book that reads like a nostalgic love letter chronicling one of women's crucial marks in journalism's history. Known as the 80s lovechild of founder Sandra Yates of Australia's Dolly and then 24-year-old Jane Pratt, the youngest editor-in-chief of a magazine, Sassy shunned the "come get me boys" themes of teen publications with blonde, blue-eyed, bulimic models. For the first time, two female writers carefully analyze Sassy's impact on insecure, teenage girls seeking refuge from YM and Seventeen through interviews with former staff members and the many readers that created an online cult following. How Sassy Changed My Life starts off by answering the frequently-asked question: why would anyone write a book about a teen magazine? While Jesella and Meltzer give a brief, but convincing explanation for exploring Sassy's rich, cultural history in American media, the chapters remain faithful in giving an in-depth look behind the magazine's main competitor. With Seventeen's "Where to Spy Guys" and "Learn How to Be a Secretary" ads, Walter Anneberg, the publication's owner (who had a gold-plated toilet seat in his private plane), surely wasn't risking his sales with features on homosexuality, AIDS and premarital sex. Yet, when Sassy arrived at 1 Times Square in 1988, they covered "The Dirty Scummy Truth on Spring Break (or, Where The Jerks Are)," included ads for Doc Martens and featured pixie-haired models with bandanas. Jesella and Meltzer manage to successfully show with crisp, tight language, the staff's many personalities that collectively provided a voice for those wanting to learn about their inner girl power with "13 Reasons Not to Diet." Former reader Sarah Kowalski commented, "The magazine was so personal it felt like a community, like people that you hung out with-that was very important. I was kind of an outsider type. I didn't have a lot of friends in school. You wanted to find your people." One of the major concerns in How Sassy Changed My Life was Pratt's portrayal in the magazine's birth and downfall. Pratt, initially viewed as "the extremely charismatic leader," who made her writers "go through as many as 15 story drafts," was detested by Sassyites for the betrayal known as Jane magazine. Jesella and Meltzer spoke with Jane's arch-nemesis, Lisa Jervis from Bitch, who retaliated against Pratt's vision for a more girl-friendly periodical that even included a column by Pamela Anderson. In responding to Bitch's "10 Things I Hate About Jane," Jervis explained, "Those of us salivating in front of the newsstand were hoping for something that took Sassy's early vision of self-confident girl power and critical thinking a step forward." Ultimately, How Sassy Changed My Life concluded with Pratt being a pretentious publisher whose feud with Bi

A celebration of the magazine which influenced a generation of liberal, activist young women

The central thesis of How Sassy Changed My Life is that the one-of-a-kind teen magazine created a club of kindred spirits during its short 6-year tenure, and that it has had a lasting effect on a generation (or two) of American women. Authors Jesella and Meltzer write "Upon meeting a fellow Sassy fan, we feel like we understand something essential about that person: their life philosophy, what their politics might be like, what their artistic preferences are, what they were like in high school, what kind of person they wanted to grow up to be. (By contrast, we find non-fans of a certain age slightly suspect.)" Since this title is about how Sassy changed our lives, it is necessary for me to reflect on my own Sassy readership. I picked it up for the first time at age eleven, when the magazine was just two years old. My best friend and I were immediate converts, and even created our own short-lived dozen-wide-circulation `zine in the Sassy tradition. I have all my Sassy back issues. When the magazine was sold to the owners of Teen magazine in 1994, the editorial staff was fired, and the name was repackaged as standard bubblegum fare, I never knew why my magazine died such a horrible death. I cancelled my subscription to the "Stepford Sassy" and every time I got a renewal notice, I would write an angry letter about my disgust with the new magazine (my boyfriend at the time could never understand why I had such passionate distaste for renewal notices). Finally, the story of the rise and untimely death of Sassy is told, in this fine collection with chapters about the conception of the magazine, its rise, its relationship to the competitors, the lives of the staffers, the feminism of the publication, and its catastrophic fall from grace. Sassy was the first magazine in which I read bylines, in which I reflected on what I knew about the writer of each piece, and how his or her personality and life experience played into the end product. Sassy poked fun at the celebrity worship and body-flaw fixing so central to other teen magazines. It talked frankly about sex in a voice completely opposite from that of your curmudgeonly gym teacher. Jesella and Meltzer's book is not only a delightful trip down memory lane, it also reveals important behind-the-scenes tensions and political maneuverings, as well as the cultural significance of the periodical. Highly recommended.

Wonderful---went WAY my expectations!

Wow. I bought this book thinking it would be nothing more than a sort of trip down memory lane about my fave magazine growing up. While it was definitely this, it also covered every aspect of the magazine's history, and discussed subjects like Sassy's sometimes cooler-that-thou-ness, or criticisms that it was not ethnically diverse enough. And I loved reading about the culture at the Sassy office and beyond. It is also one of the most insightful books I've read about how the magazine industry works. But basically, I'm mostly just so amazed that there are so many other people who were as moved (and, quite frankly, still so obsessed) with a magazine for teen girls that's been defunct for 13+ years.

Sassy take me away

Having been a die-hard Sassy fan from its inception. this book had a lot to live up to. And in my opinion, it goes above and beyond what I had expected. Read this book and relive the sassiest days of your life.
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