Upcoming Event

Alana Saab at Harvard Book Store


Please Stop Trying to Leave Me: A Novel

in conversation with SHALENE GUPTA

Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been canceled.


August 15, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been canceled. 

Harvard Book Store welcomes ALANA SAAB—literary writer and award-winning screenwriter—for a discussion of her debut novel Please Stop Trying to Leave Me. She will be joined in conversation by SHALENE GUPTA—author of The Cycle and co-author of The Power of Trust.

About Please Stop Trying to Leave Me

In the midst of god sending her signs through Instagram and Spotify telling her to break up with her girlfriend, twenty-seven-year-old Norma meets a new therapist for one reason: she really needs to write again. With only one story left to finish her collection, Norma is desperate for an answer: should she leave her girlfriend in order to finish her manuscript?

When her new therapist diagnoses her with depersonalization/derealization disorder, Norma insists she doesn't have it: it’s just Oblivion, the thing that started happening to her when she was two and a half. Haunted by SSRI side effects, her girlfriend’s kindness, her father’s incessant calls, and a world that becomes less hazily fictional by the day, Norma has never felt crazier. And whenever she attempts to write The Last Story, Norma is faced with the reality and unrealities of her past, the society she lives in, and everything that she’s ever believed about life, writing, and love. Against the backdrop of climate change, racial injustice, Google ads, and the metaverse, Norma begins sharing other stories, hoping that they'll help her connect the dissociative dots once and for all. Maybe it's crazy not to be crazy in a place like this. And in the midst of it all is Norma's girlfriend, who may well be an answer in Norma's search for meaning.

Told alternately through Norma's barely fictional fiction and through her crackling stream of consciousness, Please Stop Trying To Leave Me is an honest, comedic, horrifying, and heart-wrenching story about existing in today’s world, challenging all we’ve been taught about the distance between fiction and reality, sanity and insanity, mental illness and healing.

Praise for Please Stop Trying to Leave Me

Please Stop Trying to Leave Me is a riveting, deeply funny, and acutely observed ride through the breaking down and rebuilding of self and connection. It’s a full sprint toward (and away from and back again) real love and meaning. Sharp and existential and devastating and queer.” —Jules Ohman, author of Body Grammar

"Please Stop Trying to Leave Me is the most delightfully unhinged and chaotic novel I’ve read in years and I am here for every page, and more." —Chloe Caldwell, author of Women: A Novella

"Please Stop Trying to Leave Me is an electric, delirious novel about how art-making, romantic partnership, and trauma make fractals of the self. Alana Saab is an intoxicating stylist, pulling off a heady and meta debut that feels like clawing your way out of the belly of some monster, rib by rib, only to find that the monster is you. Deadpan and tender, Please Stop Trying to Leave Me is a must-read for anyone who has ever white-knuckled their way through the wilderness of their own mind (it me)." —Ruth Madievsky, author of All-Night Pharmacy

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Alana Saab
Alana Saab

Alana Saab

Alana Saab is a literary writer and award-winning screenwriter. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from The New School, a Masters Degree in Psychology from Columbia University and her Bachelors from New York University in the Phenomenology of Storytelling. She lives in New York with her partner. Please Stop Trying to Leave Me is her first novel.

Shalene Gupta
Shalene Gupta

Shalene Gupta

Shalene Gupta is a writer and journalist. She’s the author of The Cycle: Confronting the Pain of Periods and PMDD, and co-author of The Power of Trust. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, ESPN, Fast Company, Fortune and Harvard Business Review among other places. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Johns Hopkins. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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