Twist - An American Girl by Adele Bertei HARDCOVER

Twist - An American Girl by Adele Bertei HARDCOVER


From ex-Contortions keyboardist ADELE BERTEI, pal to Peter Laughner and more in proto-punk Cleveland... if you read her book Peter & The Wolves you know she's got writing chops and a HELL of a story! This is her growing up story... and it's a doozy.

Highly recommended.

250 pages


“One of the most original, amazing stories I've ever read” (Mary Gaitskill), iconic rock-and-roll musician Adele Bertei’s memoir Twist is her harrowing and electric story of transforming trauma through art, pluck, and imagination, as told through the inimitable voice of her young alter ego, Maddie Twist. 

From iconoclastic writer and musician Adele Bertei comes a wholly original hero's journey that wages war on the cliché of the “misery memoir.” Set in a 1960s and ’70s American neighborhood rife with poverty and violence, fatherless Irish mothers and Italian mobsters, and women crucified into madness by misogyny, Bertei speaks through her electrically alive avatar Maddie Twist to flip the victim script. Through her unshakable belief in imagination, poetry, music, and community, she transforms trauma into survival. The immediacy of Maddie’s voice is a revelation, providing insight into long-enduring systemic problems without the scrim of adult analysis. In an age of lies and obfuscation, Twist is a sharp yet tender arrow to the heart of naked truth. 

Bertei reveals what it's like to be a queer teen at a time when discovery could be fatal. Maddie peers deeply into the American psyche, refusing to consent to the systems of harm. Along the way we encounter an unforgettable schizophrenic mother, Catholic saints, West Side Story and Oliver!, poet killers, the abyss of rape, girl-gangsters and faux-pimps, teenage lesbian sex, racial tensions and misconceived divides, a drag family known as the Holy Maudlins, Vietnam vets in dark and light, cabaret, true family, rock and roll. And the ultimate saving grace: love. 

A compelling personal history of queer culture from a working-class view and a glimpse into worlds yet unseen, Twist is good medicine: for readers who've experienced similar traumas, for teens caught in the foster care system, for the formerly incarcerated looking for hope, for writers grappling with how to tell their own stories. Most of all, it’s for everyone seeking transportive experiences in art and on the page.