Body Talk — anthology edited by Kelly Jensen

October 19, 2020

Go easy on me, fam… this is the first full review I’ve written in MONTHS! Can you believe?

My goal is to catch up on all of my unwritten reviews before the year is out, and this was my top priority!

49151016TITLE: Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy
EDITOR: Kelly Jensen
GENRE: Nonfiction
PAGES: 256pg

It’s time to bare it all about bodies! We all experience the world in a body, but we don’t usually take the time to explore what it really means to have and live within one. Just as every person has a unique personality, every person has a unique body, and every body tells its own story. In Body Talk, thirty-seven writers, models, actors, musicians, and artists share essays, lists, comics, and illustrations—about everything from size and shape to scoliosis, from eating disorders to cancer, from sexuality and gender identity to the use of makeup as armor. Together, they contribute a broad variety of perspectives on what it’s like to live in their particular bodies—and how their bodies have helped to inform who they are and how they move through the world. Come on in, turn the pages, and join the celebration of our diverse, miraculous, beautiful bodies!

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Let me start by saying that this collection is absolutely incredible, important, and needed, and I hope to see it receive the attention it deserves because so many readers of all ages are going to see themselves in these essays when they may never feel like they’ve seen themselves reflected in any other book they’ve read. The collection tackles so many body-related topics, ranging from eating disorders to cancer to invisible disabilities to being overweight to body hair, and a ton more. I was absolutely amazed at the range and variety these authors brought to the table.

With anthology reviews, I usually love to review each and every story in this collection individually, but as it’s 37 separate authors in the table of contents, we’d be here all day and I’d probably run out of characters if I tried that with this collection. Instead, I’m going to offer a quick list running down all of the different experiences represented within these entries:

– scoliosis
– dwarfism
– amputation
– cancer
– body/facial hair growth
– braces
– scarring
– being plus-sized/fat
– binge eating disorder
– being sexually active while disabled
– abnormal/heavy periods
– endometriosis
– invisible illnesses/disabilities
– chronic pain
– wearing/not wearing makeup as a femme individual
– hormone imbalances
– Crohn’s
– neuromuscular disabilities
– Deafness
– optic nerve atrophy & blindness
– being trans
– general body positivity
– general body-shaming

As you can see, there are just so many experiences depicted within these pages, and many of them are things that we never or rarely see depicted in most other books. As a woman who fits several of the experiences shown here, I was overwhelmed by how incredible it felt just to be so understood and seen by this collection. Whether you, too, have a body you don’t often see in the pages of popular titles or you’re simply someone looking to better understand another human’s experience, I can’t recommend Body Talk highly enough!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.


content w a r n i n g s →

body-shaming, transphobia, racism, bullying 

d i v e r s i t y →

Every author in this collection is marginalized in some way, whether being disabled, fat, BIPOC, queer, or any combination of those!

t l ; d r →

This was incredible and I recommend it to literally everyone!


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. This sounds fantastic! I read a similar anthology edited by Kelly Jensen all about mental health, so I’m familiar with how powerful these anthologies can be! But your glowing review just made me reserve a copy from my library!

      My major and eventual job will have me focusing on the body a lot, and so I try to read as much as I can from perspectives that aren’t my own, so that in the future, when I design something or come up with a device, I’m not just tailoring it to a specific subset off people, instead of as broad a range of people as I can!

    1. Thank-you for highlighting this title! I’d heard a little bit about it but this is the first review I’ve read. It’s pretty neat that it covers such a diverse range of experiences.

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