99 Girdles on the Wall

Domestic and international mail order exclusively through Third Place Books: http://www.thirdplacebooks.com/99-girdles-wall-memoir-elena-louise-richmond

Available at all Barnes and Nobles, and in the Seattle area at University Book Store, Elliot Bay Books,Third Place Books, Secret Garden Bookshop, Santoro’s Books, The Couth Buzzard, Edmonds Bookshop and Magnolia’s Bookstore. Also available at Book and Game Co and Whitman College Book Store in Walla Walla, WA, and West End Books in Denver, Colorado.

99 Girdles on the Wall is available on Espresso Book Machines all over the world: Find a Location Near You.

99 Girdles Title

99 Girdles

From the back cover:

“For her estate sale, I nailed my mother’s twenty seven girdles to the wall of her bedroom. Girdles, instruments of torture that impede the breath, and imprison joy were emblematic of her repressive influence. Even when she lay dying, she had the energy to tell me to put my knees together.”


Sometimes a sense of the absurd was all she had, but finally the elastic was no longer binding. It had taken 35 years to extricate herself from a repressive fundamentalist upbringing, an emotionally disturbed mother and an alcoholic father. In her late forties, Elena finally fell in love with her own life. The influence of an exotic aunt, a Buddhist singing teacher, a psychoanalyst as stubborn as she was, the wisdom of her music students, and the pilot light of her own spirit, hidden for decades under depression, helped her find her way.

Hear a story from the book on an NPR interview


Elena Louise Richmond on Good Morning Northwest,
discussing her book 99 Girdles on the Wall



  • Peggy — November 18, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    BRAVA!! What a great book! Profound, provocative, raw…an intoxicating ride! You touched my soul. I’m in awe… Thank you for writing this book! I LOVED it!!

  • Andrea — November 18, 2011 @ 7:59 am

    You have an amazing way of combining sadness with hilarity.

  • Carol Mayes — November 22, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    I am going out right away to buy this book. Good for you Elena! Bravo!

  • Mary-Ellis — November 27, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    Just finished your book. You have a remarkable and inspiring story; some very funny parts, poignant parts and sad/difficult/disturbing parts. How you got through overwhelming anxiety will be helpful to others going through something similar.
    You write dialog very well – especially your mother’s rapid-fire comments. Also, the southern dialect is great! Your Aunt Frances is a vivid character.
    I also want to say that I found the death experiences you had w/ other people (the young voice student, the father of the two girls, and your dad – where you sang by his bed) were very touching. In the case of the first two, it’s so great that you were able to get so much out of that for yourself. Those kinds of experiences enrich us as we go through life experiencing more loss and yes, death, others and our. What a “grace-filled” moment you had w/ your dad. Singing is such a gift at such a vulnerable moment (we are vulnerable as well as the one dying). The humor, the love, the understanding and acceptance that were a part of that moment are something for you to cherish.

  • Sue — December 23, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    OMG!!! I just loved your book! So well written and had me running up and down the emotional equivalent of a piano scale. Well done – you must feel very proud of yourself for such an achievement. Go Girl!!!

  • Peg — January 16, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    Picked up your book this evening and could not put it down. Well, until my eyes got goofy! I read for two hours (got 1/2 way). Wow. You are something, Elena, in more ways than one. What a life, what a book. Great job on both.

  • Neah — January 21, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

    I read it in like 2 days – and it was SO good! You were able to talk about some tough personal issues in a serious but humorous way. I laughed, but I also felt the pain your mother/the confines of Christianity caused you. I appreciated your honesty and style of writing. Thank you for sharing that with the world

  • Shelley — January 21, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    I think that the book is truly remarkable. You truly bare your soul with such candor and honesty. A great deal of your life has not been “pretty”, that’s for sure! I so admire the child who always listened to a different drummer; and while not always sure she was going to survive, had unbelievable tenacity and strength.

    I also want to mention that you have a wonderful sense of humor. I laughed out loud many, many times.

  • Kathi — February 10, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    I finished reading your book last night and wanted to comment on it. I really like these lines:

    “You bring everything you’ve got into the breath. In one phrase, you can use up all your own air, think your life is over and find out that there’s more where that came from; more breath that you dreamed possible.”

    And this:

    “Sometimes you have to go to the far edges to find the center.”

    Your life journey is all about this, about the possibilities of being alive through music and the profoundness of life itself. I also liked how the word breathe came up throughout your book and by doing that you eventually centered yourself. You wrote an impressive book that’s very revealing about your life so far. Glad you saw the star in the morning and you’re living your life your way.

  • Malcolm Campbell — February 15, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Read Malcolm Campbell’s review of 99 Girdles here

  • Amanda Mead — March 5, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Read Amanda Mead’s review of 99 Girdles here

  • Alain Vigneron — October 5, 2016 @ 7:35 am

    Is there a traduction of this book in french. I would be happy to buy it. Thank you

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