comfortable about their own freakiness, which they will probably judge to be less freaky than my freakiness, even though some of them have done stuff that I think is really weird privately. We each have our own normal, so their normal usually doesn't include pissing into a cereal bowl because they're afraid of the toilet."

Now she's happy to start her book tour ("I will be doing weird things on stage," she promises), even though she's still challenged by her agoraphobia every time she gets on a plane or lands in a strange town. "Agoraphobia, like all phobias, is an outside fear that has very little to do with reality," she says. "By facing your fear you actually remind yourself, 'Oh, well, this isn't as bad as I thought.' " ^

SARA BENINCASA | Brookline Booksmith, 270 Harvard St, Brookline | February 22 | 7 pm | 617.566.6660 or

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