Sara's Review of Her Body and Other Parties
I have never been a fan of short story collections. I have never disparaged them or discouraged people from buying them it just was not my thing. I tend to like longer more hearty fare but when Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado was released, at an absolute perfect time right around when the #metoo movement was poised to take off, I decided that I had to put it on my 'to read' list. After finishing my book during lunch at work one day and knowing that I had a long commute home with nothing to read I decided to pick up a copy of Her Body and Other Parties. to pass the time. It was the perfect move.
I was entranced from the very first lines of the first story. Ms. Machado talks about women, sex, rape and desire in such an upfront way. She makes the reader take it, there is no leave it option in this collection. And she does it in such an intense and beautiful way that you yearn for more.
I read this collection in three train rides over two days. And found myself thinking one thing over and over again, 'this book should be read by every one.' It is so much more than just a collection of stories it is a straightforward look at being a woman. The limitations, the hardships, the joys, the fears, the chains that bind us, all of it. Ms. Machado lays it all out and leaves it for the reader to pick up and she does it beautifully.
Each story in this collection presented a new challenge for the reader, but the one thing that she asks of us in every story is to look beyond. Look beyond the surface and see what lies underneath it all. She shows again and again that nothing is ever as it seems. Ms. Machado forces us to examine everything and in doing so we discover this incredible underworld that is scary and dark and sad but important and beautiful all at the same time.
Her Body and Other Parties is a truly beautiful and moving collection. A sometimes tough read but it is so worth every dark place you tap into, every moment of fear, every stop and start your heart does is worth it.
I, and just about every one else I know, highly recommends this book. If you need a book that is gripping and that will help you get lost in reading head to your local Book Culture for a copy of Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. You won't regret it.
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