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September 2021

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COMMENTS

Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Written by , Posted in Reviews

3 Stars

Best for:
People who like a bit of sex with their short stories.

In a nutshell:
A collection of essays exploring womanhood.

Worth quoting:
‘ “Do you hate my body, Mom?” she says. Her voice splinters in pain, as if she were about to cry. “You hated yours, clearly, but mine looks just like yours used to, so—“ ‘

Why I chose it:
Recommended at my Book Spa appointment.

Review:
Some of these essays are intriguing. All are well written, but they aren’t quite what I was looking for in this book. It starts off strong, with an interesting exploration of a retelling of some urban legends. In the middle, the longest ‘essay,’ however, I basically skipped, as it was a paragraph about each episode of Law and Order SVU. I’m sure there’s something deep or interesting there that I missed, but I didn’t really get it. Another essay, about a writer at a writer’s retreat was engrossing.

As I said, the essays are well-written, and I definitely got sucked into a couple of them. But the collection overall felt uneven to me, and there was a lot more sex in it than I’m looking for in most of my reading. Not looking for something chaste, and I know sex factors into a large part of life for many people, but I don’t really need it in every story I read. And to be fair, there was at least one essay I recall where sex isn’t the focus, and it’s one that I found to be really moving – about a woman considering weight loss surgery.

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