Cree LeFavour

Cree LeFavour is a writer and the author of several cookbooks including the James Beard Award-nominated Fish. She has a B.A. from Middlebury College and a Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University. Her work has also appeared in publications including the New York Times Book Review, Oprah Magazine, Times (UK) and Bon Appétit.



Lights On, Rats Out

As a young college graduate a year into treatment with a psychiatrist, Cree LeFavour began to organize her days around the cruel, compulsive logic of self-harm: with each newly lit cigarette, the world would drop away as her focus narrowed on the fierce, blooming release of pleasure-pain as the burning tip was applied to an unblemished patch of skin. Her body was a canvas of cruelty; each scar a mark of pride and shame.

In sharp and shocking language, Lights On, Rats Out

brings us closely into these years. We see the world as Cree did—turned

upside down, the richness of life muted and dulled, its pleasures

perverted. The heady thrill of meeting with her psychiatrist, Dr. Adam

N. Kohl—whose relationship with Cree is at once sustaining and

paralyzing—comes to be the only bright spot in her days.

Moving deftly between the dialogue and observations from psychiatric records and elegant, incisive reflection on youth and early adulthood, Lights On, Rats Out illuminates a fiercely bright and independent woman’s charged attachment to a mental health professional and the dangerous compulsion to keep him in her life at all costs.

Lights On, Rats Out