A former senior culture writer for BuzzFeed News, Anne Helen Petersen now writes her newsletter, Culture Study, as a full-time venture on Substack. Petersen received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on the history of celebrity gossip. Her previous books, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud and Scandals of Classic Hollywood, were featured in NPR, Elle, and the Atlantic. She lives in Missoula, Montana.
[Petersen] is astute in unpicking the many factors that led to a whole generation feeling constantly exhausted... genuinely enlightening... Can't Even is a reminder to the burned out generation that things can be different -- Holly Williams * Observer * An intelligent and well-researched analysis... [To those] born into the same generation, its truth is searing -- Megan Agnew * Sunday Times * Can't Even seeks to unearth the root of our generation's angst... Peterson's personal interjections and deft contextualisation of current issues with American history and politics...[and] the toll of the pandemic on our mental health makes her research feel all the more timely -- Eleanor Halls * Daily Telegraph * Peterson explores how low-paying jobs, overstimulation, and unattainable expectations have contributed to millennial malaise in this trenchant and well-researched account... By turns exasperated, indignant, and empathetic, she supports her claims with strong evidence and calls on millennials to be a force for widespread social change. The result is an incisive portrait of a generation primed for revolt * Publisher's Weekly * Can't Even is a compelling exploration of the phenomenon of burnout and how an entire generation has been set up to fail. As a Millennial, reading this book was a deeply cathartic experience. Anne Helen Petersen articulates the struggles and motivation of a generation so impeccably. Reading this book made me feel like finally, someone understands me. I wish I could give this book to everyone I know -- Taylor Lorenz, culture reporter, New York Times A cogent and sober analysis of the economic lives that decades of precarity has wrought, told in Petersen's smart, measured style -- Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of the National Book Award finalist Thick Petersen's third book, a highlight-every-sentence-in-recognition survey of the anxiety and exhaustion baked into the lives of myriad young people, dispels many of the myths and misconceptions-the laziness! the entitlement!-surrounding the generation that came of age amid the internet and economic collapse. Yet rather than pit millennials against boomers, Petersen makes meaningful and constructive connections between the toils and troubles of the two groups * O Magazine * We think of capitalism as a way of organizing an economy. But given enough time, it goes beyond that: It organizes our lives, our hopes, our relationships. Anne Helen Petersen has written an analytically precise, deeply empathic book about the psychic toll modern capitalism has taken on those shaped by it. Can't Even is essential to understanding our age, and ourselves -- Ezra Klein, Vox co-founder and author of Why We're Polarized [A] razor sharp book of cultural criticism...With blistering prose and all-too vivid reporting, Petersen lays bare the burnout and despair of millennials, while also charting a path to a world where members of her generation can feel as if the boot has been removed from their necks * Esquire * Reading this incredible book, I had the overwhelming feeling of someone arranging the chaotic fragments of my life into a cohesive whole. Can't Even felt like a field guide, a mirror, and an absolution. Compassionate, wise, and incisive, it is a defining work about a generation defined by work -- Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes Whether you're looking for solutions or just looking to feel seen, Can't Even is a can't-miss * Harper's Bazaar, 27 Best Books of 2020 * Urgent and insightful book... Read this and get a much-needed perspective -- Francesca Brown * Stylist * A readable, well-researched guide to a generation... Petersen commendably refuses her burnt-out millennial readers any inspirational uplift. Ours is not a dilemma that will be solved by more hard work or more positive thinking or more degrees -- James Marriott * The Times, *Book of the Week* * Meticulously researched... astutely observed... extremely enlightening -- Sian Cain * Guardian *