Thursday, May 9, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author Ali Berlinski

Ali Berlinski, Author
a beautiful mess
Former teacher turned author Ali Berlinski brings us her personal story in a beautiful mess, challenging each of us to accept our own. With a mantra to help people “say yes to their mess,” she divulges her life with her dysfunctional family using humor.

Currently living in Spain, the author intends to always be a writer and really enjoys eating!

Q: How would you characterize your book, a beautiful mess? 

Ali Berlinski: If Carrie Bradshaw and David Sedaris had a literary lovechild it would be my book.   It’s a creative non-fiction book based on my experience growing up with divorced single-parents, multiple half-siblings, biracial, losing a loved one, overcoming depression, getting your heart broken, and dealing with my mom’s cancer.  

Q: What inspired you to write a beautiful mess? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Ali Berlinski: I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  In fourth grade my teacher told me I was the second best writer in class.  Sounds mean, but it was the first time I had heard the words “you are” and “best” in the same sentence.  While I was always good at many things, I never felt like I was talented at anything until I found writing.  After that, I dreamed of becoming a writer.  That is, until I got a little older and a bit more cynical and realized a writer is an artist, and I like to eat.  I didn’t want to be a starving artist so I talked myself into picking a safe job, like teaching.  I did, and to my surprise, loved it, but I’ve always been a writer.  When I was 23 I finally decided to take a gamble on myself.  I quit my job, moved to Spain, and wrote my book.  I guess it just all goes to show, you can’t run from who you really are.

Q: Why did you write your book? Are you writing to deliver a message, to educate and/or to entertain?

Ali Berlinski: It takes a lot of balls to tell the world some of your most intimate details of your life, especially when those details are messy. I wouldn’t have done it unless I thought people could get something out of it. Writing the book was my therapy; hopefully, others will find its humor to be therapeutic as well.

Q: How do you make your readers care about your book?

Ali Berlinski: As colorful as my life is, I think my story is very relatable. Maybe you won’t have a gay-deaf brother like me, but you’ll understand what it’s like to have a complicated family. I have been blessed to have a very unique life yet my problems are just like everyone else’s. People will care, because it’s not just my story, it’s theirs.

Q: How important is humor in your writings?

Ali Berlinski: Humor is fundamental to my writing.  My mantra is that I help people say yes to their mess. 

Q: Who are your target readers? Who do you think will most benefit from reading your story?

Ali Berlinski: I think anyone in need of a good laugh will benefit from reading my story. People say laughter is the best medicine; however when times get hard, it’s really easy to forget how. That’s where I come in; I help people find a way to laugh at life’s hardships. It’s not always easy but you have to try.  The next one will probably be on the many idiosyncrasies of living abroad, specifically in Spain.  It’s a rollercoaster, unnerving but entertaining at the same time.

Q: You currently live in Spain. Why?

Ali Berlinski: I moved because I knew I needed a big change in my life.  When I moved to Galicia, a small autonomous community in Spain, I instantly fell in love.  I loved everything about my new surroundings.  Then ten months later, I fell in love again, with a guy from Galicia.  So for the time being, I’m here, indefinitely. 

Q: You funded the publication of a beautiful mess in a unique way. Can you tell us about it?

Ali Berlinski: Well, my book is the first book EVER to get published completely by crowdfunding. 
So, that’s exciting.  Now you’re probably wondering, what’s crowdfunding? No worries, I didn’t exactly understand it at first either. Crowdfunding means I raised money to publish my book through various supporters and fundraisers.  It allows authors and readers a way to be more hands on in the publishing process.  Another great thing about my publishing company Pubslush, is that it donates a book to charity for every book that’s sold.  I really can’t say enough good things about it.

Q: Tell us something about you. What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies? Favorite movies? Books? Etc.

Ali Berlinski: When I’m not writing I’m either teaching, reading or eating.  I’d say I spend ninety percent of my time eating, cooking, or thinking about eating.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was a sleep eater.

About Ali Berlinski

Imagine what your life would be like if you laughed through all the mayhem. Ali Berlinski is an expert on making complicated family relationships and messy situations comedic. A biracial child of divorce, Ali grew up between two coasts and two families. With a gay deaf brother, ex-nanny step mother, and celebrity ex-boyfriend, it's no surprise that her personal life served as fodder for her first book, a beautiful mess.

The literary lovechild of David Sedaris and Carrie Bradshaw, Ali's charming collection of anecdotes sheds precious, unconventional insight on her quest to use laughter to embrace the lighter side of heartache, cancer, depression, divorce. Her story reminds us that sometimes we all need a little help putting the fun back in dysfunctional. Can we be happy with this life? Ali Berlinski will help you say yes to your mess.


Imagine what your life would be like if you laughed through all the mayhem? Biracial and bicoastal, Berlinski spent her childhood flying between the dysfunctional families of her divorced parents, always
feeling like an outsider. Fortunately, she never lost her sense of humor, which is apparent on every page of her debut story collection, a riotous and revealing exposé of the new normal and the consequences of too much air travel, cultural diversity, and conflicting and conflicted parents. With an open heart, she recounts her somewhat misspent youth and a wildly exciting (though equally torturous) love affair with the guy of her dreams, eventually leaving it all to start again abroad.

She’s Carrie Bradshaw reimagined as a third grade teacher in Brooklyn with zero interest in Manolo Blahnik. She’s a tough New Yorker with a tender twist of California sunshine whose journey will be oddly familiar and utterly unique to anyone who’s ever believed that love would save them – if not with this guy, then maybe with the next.

As her grandfather once said, “Well, it may not be the party you hoped for, but since we’re here, we might as well dance.” So now she lives in Spain and, despite everything, continues to dance through this messy, magnificent life. Say yes to your mess.


Purchase sites: 

Author sites:
Twitter address: @aliberlinski


  1. Will be checking out this book. Humor is essential to making it through the difficult things in everyone's life

  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  3. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! Follow me on my blog at

  4. I was just looking into this book earlier! I will definitely put it on my TBR list.