Nobody laughed but me



Date of Graduation


Document Type

MFA Creative Writing Thesis

Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Christa Parravani

Committee Co-Chair

Anthony Swofford

Committee Member

Nancy Caronia


The thirteen personal essays in Nobody Laughed But Me explore the constraints of growing up in an adoring but insular Italian-American matriarchy, and the sometimes funny, often devastating effects of my attempts to break free from it. The major themes of the collection are fear, violence, vulnerability, and resilience, all spun with humor. Acute feelings of anxiety about what it means to be a good girl (and desperately not wanting to be) manifest in essays on bat infestations, a high school job at a fish market, and online dating. I examine female rage and desire by shifting the focus of my essays to women with ties to violence: a high school classmate arrested for manslaughter; a neighbor who faked her pregnancy; Amanda Knox. The place of this collection extends beyond my hometown in Western New York, reaching locations from Florence, Italy, a food-centric city where I am forced to contend with a family history of eating disorders, to the all-consuming world of Tumblr, a digital space with harrowing effects in my real life. But no matter the material, I find humor. Even my darkest essays are imbued with levity because in laughter there is, ultimately, hope.

Embargo Reason

Permanent Embargo – MFA Creative Writing

This document is currently not available here.