Every single time I sit down to write one of these book reviews (and I’ve written, like, 13 by now?) I think, “Oh, but I don’t know how to do this.” I open up this blank word document and my brain, as it does when faced with any kind of expectation, goes into primate mode. “Book. Did like. Would recommend.” Is that good? Will you take that? Cool. Good talk. Thanks for stopping by, today.
No, but for real, this collection of essays has been such a joy to read through. I liked it so much that half-way through the copy that I got from the library, I returned it, went down to Bluebird Books, and bought my own copy. I did this so that I could underline the parts that felt so right that I couldn’t just leave them alone like they didn’t touch my soul.
One such passage: Nothing bad can happen to you if you’re with your mom. Your mom can stop a bullet from lodging in your heart. She can prop you up when you can’t. Your mom is your blood and bone before your body even knows how to make any.
Just take a moment with that.
She writes about the things you would expect a feminist child of immigrants to write about in 2017. She writes a touching story of visiting India for a cousin’s wedding. She writes about rape culture. Body image. The way we behave on the internet. The usual. But she has a fresh take that’s different from everything that’s been shared all over Facebook. And her writing style is so inviting and funny–it’s damn funny. And musical.
She told a story about when she was in college and how she and her friends lived themselves into a situation where they realized that one of them was likely a very serious alcoholic. She captured the progression so beautifully. The way it starts out so innocent and fun but eventually climaxes in a hard realization and a drunken fight. I love the way that she wraps up that story, too. It’s not about alcoholism or drunk stories. It’s about the way we get off on our own moral superiority. And she’s right, too.
One of the latter chapters deals with body image. She talks, specifically, about hair. How the hair on her head is seen as perfect and luxurious whereas the hair on her body is an absolute shame and something that she can’t be expected to reasonably control no matter how much time she devotes to it.
She says, “It’s easier to rebel against hair norms if you’re a woman generally unburdened by them in the first place. … For it to really matter, for your rebellion to extend outside yourself, you have to have been born with hair-baggage–that nagging reminder that what comes out of your body naturally makes you repulsive, or tells people that you’re deserving of a slur, or that your sexuality can exist only in a specific vacuum of kink or generous acceptance.”
As the owner of a fat body, I finally felt like someone out there understands me and the particular brand of self-worth that I go back and forth between celebrating and starving for. The way she is at a constant battle between “fixing” and accepting Her Thing. Me, too, Scaachi.
I’m going to be revisiting this book again and again as time goes on. I know this is one of those books that you read and then pick it up in a year and hear all new things. I feel really grateful to have come across this book right now.
Next month, we’re going to be reading Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota. I don’t know much about this book except that all of the reading podcasts that I listen to are talking about it and recommending it. This is one of my favorite ways to approach a book–with little to no knowledge about it, just the understanding that other people are reading it with you and so many people have great things to say about it.
As always, if you want to join our virtual book club just let me know! Shoot me a message on Facebook and I’ll add you to our group. Also don’t forget to head over to Staci’s blog to read her take on One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter. I love reading her thoughts after I’ve settled on my own.
Tell me what you’re reading! Are you keeping up with your summer reading list or has it gone out the window with mine?