Drawing on elements of memoir as well as her own reporting and research, Assistant Professor of Journalism Lisa A. Phillips’ latest book, “Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession,” examines the perils and power of obsessive love in women’s lives.
“What I want to do is help people going through this type of experience feel less alone, and help them see plainly the nature of what they are doing — when they are crossing a line, and when they can turn the energy of that obsession in another way, to help them benefit themselves,” Phillips explains.
Phillips’ interest in this subject is rooted in her own experience falling in love with a man who did not reciprocate her feelings. She first opened up about the experience in a widely-read column that appeared in the New York Times on Dec. 3, 2006.
In “Unrequited” Phillips supplements her own story with extensive social science research. Also included are accounts of other women who have been in obsessive love and the people who have been its target, accounts culled from deeply personal interviews gathered over the course of six years writing this book.
“Those conversations tended to be really long and intense,” Phillips says. “We gave each other a lot of support.”
The unflinching honesty of the author and her interviewees drives the book’s ultimate message of understanding. The act of sharing these stories is confessional, says Phillips, “but I think it’s also a service. People have reached out to me and told me, ‘Your story gave me hope.’ That was powerful.”
Phillips will give a reading of “Unrequited” on campus at the Honors Center in College Hall on Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Phillips has taught at the College since 2003. She previously worked for 12 years as a public radio journalist, contributing stories to a number of outlets including NPR. She is the author of “Public Radio: Behind the Voices,” a book profiling the most listened-to voices in public radio.
For more information on Phillips and her work, visit http://www.lisaaphillips.com.