Monday, May 13, 2013

In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler

genre: memoir

My first impression of Eve is that she is a survivor. A warrior. A victim.  Someone who wants so much to understand who she is and how that person fits into a world that is so full of pain and horror.  Eve was abused by her father.  Eve has spent years of her life as an activist among women who have been ravaged by wars and violence to their bodies.  Eve feels the pain of our earth that is being destroyed by both our actions and our negligence. And when Eve is diagnosed with cancer, she begins to see parallels between her own battle with her diseased body and the earth's fight against the humans that would turn it inside out.

This is not an easy book.

This book made me cry.

One particular scene was so upsetting that I had to look away and I had to skip it.  The tears came afterwards, imagining the horror I only glimpsed on a paper page but that was someone else's life.

It is hard to read about horrible things happening to people and it is hard to read about them from the point of view of a woman who has been broken but has put herself back together.

It is hard to read about cancer - about a woman's journey in all its sloshy and uncomfortable and realistic detail.

It is hard to think about the crimes that are committed against the bodies of women, as though our flesh and blood are somehow prizes to be won or bullets to rip through the hearts of those who would protect us or trash to be torn apart and left to rot.  It is very hard to think about that.

But Eve Ensler makes us.  She makes us look in the face of this horror and she doesn't pretend to be anything other than a person who cares.  A person who cares enough to DO something about it.

I can't say I liked it.  It hurt too much.  The language was too harsh, the feelings too raw.  But I can say that her words were sometimes so beautiful that it was astonishing.  It opened my eyes.  It made me FEEL.

And that, I think, is what she wanted.

note: if you're interested in the content of the books I read, please go to

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