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In 'No One Asked For This,' Cazzie David Writes About Her Afflictions


In her new collection of essays, Cazzie David calls herself a privileged white girl. And she says some people hate her for that. Her father is Larry David, who created "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Cazzie David is also the first to admit she's a piece of work. She writes of her afflictions in a new collection of essays called "No One Asked For This." NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Hatred of people who seem to have everything is, writes Cazzie David, justifiable. Quote, "Even privileged people hate other privileged people for being privileged." But insecurities don't know class. Anyone who's ever spent too much time following their ex on social media or obsessed over their looks? Cazzie David's been there. Even the title of the book, "No One Asked For This," is full of self-loathing.

CAZZIE DAVID: I never feel wanted in any room or situation. So putting my book in, like, a store kind of feels like if I was in there.

BLAIR: But writing is how she works stuff out. So to feel less self-conscious, she says she thought of herself as a fictional character.

DAVID: I can write about all the worst parts of me without judging myself and kind of amplify them in a way that one would write, like, an absurd character. Of course, I'm not exaggerating, like, any of my emotions or parts of my personality. But it does allow me to express them to the fullest degree without shame.

BLAIR: Depression, distress and dysphoria are some of the words used in Cazzie David's 2007 neuropsychological evaluation. Excerpts from it are included in the new book. But having Larry David as your dad meant that it was OK to be neurotic.

DAVID: He's never told me to get better or feel better about myself. And the only thing I'm supposed to do is just, like, you know, use it all.

BLAIR: And she does use it all. She writes about her mother, a die-hard environmentalist who timed the family showers and only used recycled toilet paper. Cazzie writes that Larry David kept a secret stash of Charmin under the sink for emergencies. This is from her essay "Environmental Mom."

DAVID: The only times I was ever grounded by my mother was when I left a towel on the floor or didn't unplug something after using it. You're part of the problem, she'd yell. If you can't unplug a charger, you can't have children because they will have to grow up in a world that is melted.

BLAIR: Cazzie David writes that she eventually grew to understand her mother's mission. She calls her a hero and tries to follow her example. David may have grown up privileged, but she wasn't indulged. When she went through a horrible breakup with "Saturday Night Live" comedian Pete Davidson, she was inconsolable. Her parents used both warmth and tough love to help her through it. Turns out Larry David hates self-pity.

DAVID: If you're in your bed crying, he just comes in. He's just like, ugh, disgusting, the self-pity. Like, stop feeling sorry for yourself. And I do think that's really important. And it is kind of gross to feel sorry for yourself.

MARTIE COOK: Some of Cazzie's work is deep beyond her years.

BLAIR: Martie Cook was one of Cazzie David's writing professors at Emerson College. She says it was exciting to read her new collection of essays.

COOK: I found it just to be rich and powerful and honest and raw and funny and sad all at once.

BLAIR: True to form, David is plenty anxious about what people will think of her new book. Putting all of her insecurities out there, she says, is scary.

DAVID: You feel kind of like, you know, you ran outside naked with a kick-me sign on your face.

BLAIR: No one may have asked Cazzie David to share that bruising vulnerability. But she's hoping it's something a lot of people can relate to.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MAIN SOURCE SONG, "F*CK WHAT YOU THINK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.
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