Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startlin...

Title:Her Body and Other Parties
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Her Body and Other Parties Reviews

  • Roxane

    The stories in Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange. Her voracious imagination and extraordinary voice beautifully bind these stories about fading women and the end of the world and men who want more when they’ve been given everything and bodies, so many human bodies taking up space and straining the seams of skin in impossible, imperfect, unforgettable ways.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I ordered this for my library but grew impatient and listened to it on Hoopla instead. It is one of the finalists for the 2017 National Book Award (USA.)

    This is a book of short stories, all centering around the female body, as evidenced by the title. This would not be a book for anyone who shocks easily, as there is sex, a lot of sex, some of it queer sex, and some of it deals with the aftermath of sexual assault. Some of the themes are disturbing, and the insertion at times of supernatural or f

    I ordered this for my library but grew impatient and listened to it on Hoopla instead. It is one of the finalists for the 2017 National Book Award (USA.)

    This is a book of short stories, all centering around the female body, as evidenced by the title. This would not be a book for anyone who shocks easily, as there is sex, a lot of sex, some of it queer sex, and some of it deals with the aftermath of sexual assault. Some of the themes are disturbing, and the insertion at times of supernatural or fantastical elements make many of the stories feel even more dangerous than real life, or maybe it's that they highlight the danger of real life. The writing is powerful and I would not be surprised to see this win the award, although I'm still slightly more on board with

    .

    Story by story:

    The Husband Stitch - This is a retelling of The Girl with the Ribbon Around her Neck, but somehow the husband is more domineering, and the lengthening of the story brings you more into her point of view.

    Inventory - A list of sexual encounters inside the context of a world falling apart due to a virus. This might be my favorite!

    Mothers - A disturbing story where I couldn't tell what was real and what was not. A baby delivered by her lesbian partner, told "this is your baby," But then she is running through the park after stranger babies...

    Especially Heinous - I could not understand what was going on here, and had to stop and look up some info about the book. The author has taken every episode of SVU, the show that focuses on sex crimes, usually against women, and builds an alternative story where women have bell eyes and something supernatural is going on and I just didn't really get it at all. I'm sure if I had any familiarity at all with SVU the characters at least would make sense to me, but this was rough. And since it was in audio, I couldn't tell if this was a series of very short stories (flash stories) or what I was encountering, because the author keeps the title of each episode and then has a paragraph or a sentence after each. I wish it had an intro or something, at least to navigate the audio verison.

    Real Women Have Bodies - If women really grew invisible....

    Eight Bites - Well I'm not quite sure, but I think this is about weight loss surgery and the sacrifice of thin and what it does to our daughters? It's rather frightening.

    The Resident - This one examines whether female writers are allowed to write about themselves the same way male writers are, what makes something art, how much autonomy do you have as a creative person?

    Difficult at Parties - A woman has gone through severe trauma and starts hearing the thoughts of actors on film.. and in the background, a spouse trying desperately to help.

  • Hannah

    I was really looking forward to this book, ever since I saw a review by Roxane Gay for this; then when I read and loved one of these short stories earlier this year I was even more excited - and I was not disappointed in the least. I absolutely adored these stories and what Carmen Maria Machado has to offer. She writes just the kind of slightly unsettling and very upsetting short stories that I just adore. Her stories are twisted and mean but also beautiful beyond words. They have a core feminis

    I was really looking forward to this book, ever since I saw a review by Roxane Gay for this; then when I read and loved one of these short stories earlier this year I was even more excited - and I was not disappointed in the least. I absolutely adored these stories and what Carmen Maria Machado has to offer. She writes just the kind of slightly unsettling and very upsetting short stories that I just adore. Her stories are twisted and mean but also beautiful beyond words. They have a core feminist message while also being stylistically awesome and never losing sight of the humanity at the core of them. The stories are highly inventive, can be read both as a social commentary and often as love stories, her characters feel real and her language is precise and wonderful.

    As is usually the case I adored some stories more than others but overall this was a very strong collection and I can absolutely understand the praise it has garnered (it has been blurbed by Roxane Gay and Jeff VanderMeer among others).

    I loved "The Husband Stitch" (this is the story I had read before), maybe even more so the second time around: this inventive rumination on what secrets women are allowed to keep made me mad and sad at the same time.

    In "Inventory" a woman looks back on her past lovers as the world comes to an literal end around her. This story felt very different than the rest of the collection but I loved its wistful melancholy and the bleak surrounding Carmen Maria Machado evoked.

    My favourite of the bunch was the novella "Especially Heinous", written as short blurbs for a TV show (think "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" ) filled with ghosts with bells for eyes and doppelgängers that are eerily similar but very creepy. This story was unsettling and creepy but also packed an immense emotional punch.

  • Melanie

    This collection of short stories heavily emphasizes the violence that we put on women’s bodies. Whether it be sexual violence, physical violence, violence put on us by society, or violence we put on ourselves. This entire collection is absolutely haunting in the best way possible. I won’t forget this collection, ever. And these are all so queer, and so feminist, and invoked so many emotions from me. Carmen Maria Machado is beyond words talented, and I feel so very blessed to even have been able

    This collection of short stories heavily emphasizes the violence that we put on women’s bodies. Whether it be sexual violence, physical violence, violence put on us by society, or violence we put on ourselves. This entire collection is absolutely haunting in the best way possible. I won’t forget this collection, ever. And these are all so queer, and so feminist, and invoked so many emotions from me. Carmen Maria Machado is beyond words talented, and I feel so very blessed to even have been able to read this.

    I'm going to break down each short story with my thoughts, opinions, and individual star rating!

    - ★★★★★

    This is my second time reading this, and it is just as powerful and hard hitting as it was the first time around. You can read this for free

    !, and I implore each and every one of you who is reading this review to do yourself a favor and read this short story.

    This story is very feminist and very sexually explicit, but so damn important. It's about the life of a woman, who gives everything to men and never is allowed to keep anything for herself. It's about life's expectations on women, and how society shapes the choices we do and do not have. It's about how, no matter what, giving everything will never be good enough as a woman. It's about enjoying and exploring your sexuality, yet trying to cope with the shame. It's about never fully being able to become the person you are, but becoming the person your husband and/or family require you to be. It's about having children, who will just repeat the same vicious and unfair cycle.

    and it deserves all the stars that Goodreads and every other book rating site has to offer.

    - ★★★★

    This is essentially an inventory list of all the sexual encounters this particular woman has had during her thirty years while her world escalates into chaos. I loved looking at this sexual exploration, journey, and acceptance. And it evoked such raw emotion from me. I just didn’t think it was as hard hitting as some of the others in the collection.

    Also, if you enjoyed this short story, please check out

    by Meg Elison! I honestly can’t recommend it enough, and both stories have a similar theme, feeling, and hauntingness to them.

    - ★★★

    This is a very metaphorical story that starts out with a woman being given a baby by her female lover that they created unbeknownst to the narrator. And I use the word narrator very loosely, because this story is very unreliable. You will constantly be unsure of what is real and what is not, but you slowly get to see a story unfold. I also wholeheartedly believe that this story is very open for interpretation, and what I got from it could be, and probably is, something very different from what you were able to take from it. And that in and of itself is beyond words beautiful.

    - ★★

    This is a retelling of each season and episode of

    that dips into the realm of the paranormal, but because I have never seen that show (I know, I know) I don’t think I got that much enjoyment out of this one. I still thought it was so very smartly written, and it has that haunting feeling that I know associate with Carmen Maria Machado, but I just wasn’t as in love with this as I feel others will be.

    - ★★★★★

    This story felt like a punch to the gut over and over and over. Words can be so powerful, and Carmen Maria Machado has perfected the craft of writing, I swear. Women in this world fade slowly and eventually become invisible. We get to see a dress shop, that puts youth and beautiful before all else, and a few of the workers are grasping to those values. Growing older, and feeling less valuable because of it, is a concept that many people in this world can’t deal with, without having to turn invisible. And I’m not going to lie to you and say that when I read that one of the characters of this book was twenty-nine that I didn’t try to suppress that visceral feeling that I don’t even have words for, but I wish so badly that I didn’t feel.

    - ★★★★★

    First and foremost, this short story would be so very trigging for anyone who has battled any form of eating disorder before, so please use caution before reading this one. Food and body obsession is so very real, and people will go their entire lives never knowing peace with themselves because of it. This is a story about a woman who has struggled her entire life and has finally decided to get bariatric surgery. This story also heavily talks about how we pass these terrible feelings and values down to our daughters and other generations, over and over.

    - ★★★

    Like most of the stories in this collection, this story felt really personal to read. Like, autobiographical personal. This is about a woman who goes up to the mountains, where she also spent some of her youth as a Girl Scout, to work on her novel among other artists. We slowly get to see the writer slowly comes undone by her past and her present, but also embraces and comes to terms with who she is and how she is. It’s a beautiful mixture that I think most humans will really resonate with.

    - ★★★★

    This was probably the most raw feeling story for me, and it really left me feeling empty. This is about a woman dealing, coping, and trying to heal with the aftermath of a sexual assault. Between others trying to help her, to hoping her assailant is found, and trying to find some sort of peace within herself, she is using pornography as a healing mechanism. Again, this is going to really be hard for a lot of people to read, but it’s also going to hit home for so many readers that need stories like this.

    I really loved this collection, and I gave

    4 stars overall, because out of a possible 40 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 8 stories) this collection accumulated 31 stars

    . Please pick this up, this is such an important book for everyone to read, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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    Buddy read with

    ,

    , &

    ! ❤

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    I would recommend this to those who loved the metaphorical side of Roxane Gay’s

    . (Before you ask, I was not one of those people.) Because these stories... well, you’re not going to enjoy them unless you

    them, at least partially.

    And to

    I would recommend this to those who loved the metaphorical side of Roxane Gay’s

    . (Before you ask, I was not one of those people.) Because these stories... well, you’re not going to enjoy them unless you

    them, at least partially.

    And to be quite honest, some of my disappointment was just plain

    was the only Machado I’d read before, and I

    it. I expected something even better. It is the only five I gave within this collection.

    I feel like some asshole on twitter is going to find this book and decide to call everyone who didn’t get this a typical straight feminist or whatever, so to clarify: I’m a huge lesbian and the women kissing were not the confusing part. I really appreciated how unapologetically queer this collection is, and would definitely recommend it in my stack of great queer fiction.

    - ★★★★★

    I read this

    earlier due to

    's awesome recommendation. This is a story about being consumed, losing your own agency, and how much you can give before you break. One thing is clear, though;

    There were a few metaphors here I only understood on the second and third reads due to sheer exhaustion, which is really upsetting - I feel like this would be my fave story ever otherwise. You can read this story

    .

    - ★★★★☆

    A story of a woman’s sex life as a plague destroys her world. Honestly, I don't even know what this was. Okay, I do; it’s an exploration of how sex alone can reflect an environment. There's this sort of raw quality to it, but I can't say it ever really got under my skin, and the character work could’ve been far stronger.

    - ★★★★☆

    No summary. Uhhh... somebody please explain what the hell this story's ending means? Because I honest to god do not understand. I think I kind of loved it, though. Maybe worth a reread.

    - ★★★☆☆

    This is a slightly-too-long rundown of a series of Law and Order: SVU episodes. Using the real titles, Machado makes up an intriguing plot full of supernatural elements and twists. The ending of this worked perfectly for me, but the story itself was too long; twelve seasons is a lot of episodes and apparently, a lot of repetition. I got the point about dead prostitutes 30 pages in and at points it just kept going. Have to admit, though, that several of the episode descriptions will stay with me.

    - ★★★★☆

    This story is one of women who become translucent over time. I really appreciated it; the detail is visceral and the emotion raw. It

    far more metaphorical than I tend to prefer, though.

    - ★★★★☆

    An exploration of disordered eating and fatphobia in society especially among women! and yet I also just didn’t fucking understand 75% of this, so?

    - ★★★☆☆

    This one is about confronting your past and all it comes with. The thematic conclusions are good, but unfortunately, I felt it was a bit overly long.

    - ★★☆☆☆

    I 👏 didn’t 👏 understand 👏 this 👏 at 👏 all 👏 what 👏 does 👏 it 👏 mean 👏

    ALL IN ALL: Good, but too metaphorical for my style and taste. I read one a night with

    and

    .

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  • Navidad Thelamour

    Carmen Maria Machado's

    is a collection I was so excited to read I dragged a friend in to read it with me. We handed off back and forth who got to pick the next story, never going in order, and found ourselves surprisingly disappointed by each one.

    In all honesty, I was

    to what Machado was trying to do here, to what she was trying to say. But, she didn't say it with enough force. Some of her stories, such as "Real Women Have Bodies" and "Eight Bites" seemed to not

    Carmen Maria Machado's

    is a collection I was so excited to read I dragged a friend in to read it with me. We handed off back and forth who got to pick the next story, never going in order, and found ourselves surprisingly disappointed by each one.

    In all honesty, I was

    to what Machado was trying to do here, to what she was trying to say. But, she didn't say it with enough force. Some of her stories, such as "Real Women Have Bodies" and "Eight Bites" seemed to not amount to much more than a harsh whisper, if that, never fully realizing themselves. I wanted more--

    from a voice that dared to tackle such bold topics as the female experience and psyche. And by "more" I don't mean argumentative or domineering in tone; some of my favorite short stories

    crept up on me with a gentle breeze at my neck only to bowl me over in the end with words just as gentle. Machado and

    didn't do that for me. In fact, what I remember most about this collection is my buddy reader's and my disappointed-mounting-to-annoyed reaction as each story was read and discussed. For such a topic that spoke to us, we both wanted to learn something, to feel something--

    . This collection just fell flat in so many ways.

    Here's what I will say: Carmen Maria Machado clearly has something to say, though I, myself, didn't hear it loudly enough. I

    enjoyed her use of Gothic elements--vaguely supernatural devices used to convey her thoughts, to tinge her messages in wonder. Yet, some of her works were too referential without adding enough to the conversation to warrant the blatant references (to "The Girl with the Ribbon Around her Neck" and

    in particular). "The Husband Stitch" was my favorite story, because of the unique and haunting asides inserted into the narrative, but the ending failed to shock or move me, so even that story did not live up to the hype around this collection. Every story I read left me wishing there was more--not length but meat and substance, not words but voice and resonance. As we all know, fabulously original ideas must, too, be supported by the execution of them, and

    I did not see impressively done here. 2.5* rounded up to ***

  • Simon

    A crazy sometimes conflicting collection of fabulist tales. When this collection works, on tales of women with ribbons on their bodies, sexual encounters during a world ending epidemic, women literally vanishing in their skin and people who can hear the inner thoughts of adult film stars when they are watching porn, it is amazing. But occasionally like with a twist on an America hit series and all it’s nine seasons of episodes or a tale of mothers that gets too other, it lost me a touch. That sa

    A crazy sometimes conflicting collection of fabulist tales. When this collection works, on tales of women with ribbons on their bodies, sexual encounters during a world ending epidemic, women literally vanishing in their skin and people who can hear the inner thoughts of adult film stars when they are watching porn, it is amazing. But occasionally like with a twist on an America hit series and all it’s nine seasons of episodes or a tale of mothers that gets too other, it lost me a touch. That said the brilliance won over. It’s a crazy, creepy, queer, quirky, fantastical, fabulist, sinister and sexual collection, read it.

  • Larry H

    I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

    If you think of works of fiction like works of art, Carmen Maria Machado's debut story collection,

    , is an abstract painting. It's undoubtedly gorgeous and attention-getting, there's no one right way to interpret the things you see (or read), everyone will see something different in it, and each time you look, you'll catch something you didn't see the first time. You may also find yourself wondering, "What did that mean?"

    Seven of the eight stor

    I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

    If you think of works of fiction like works of art, Carmen Maria Machado's debut story collection,

    , is an abstract painting. It's undoubtedly gorgeous and attention-getting, there's no one right way to interpret the things you see (or read), everyone will see something different in it, and each time you look, you'll catch something you didn't see the first time. You may also find yourself wondering, "What did that mean?"

    Seven of the eight stories in this collection are a mesmerizing combination of atmosphere, sexuality, emotion, and gorgeous, gorgeous storytelling. There is also a strange undercurrent of creepiness running through many of the stories. I'll admit I was a little bit nervous while reading, and I kept waiting for something horrible, for a bogeyman to reveal itself, or some shocking event to occur. That tension is almost addictive, because you want to keep on reading, wondering just what Machado has up her sleeve.

    The stories that stood out the most for me were "Inventory," in which a woman recounts her sexual exploits as the world is slowly being consumed by an unexplained plague; "Real Women Have Bodies," where a young woman working at a prom dress shop makes a shocking discovery about what makes the store's gowns so unique; "Eight Bites," about a woman visited by an unwanted houseguest after weight loss surgery; the immensely creepy "The Resident," in which a writer at an artist's colony has trouble with the lines blurring between past and present, fact and fiction; and the sexy, mysterious "The Husband Stitch," where a woman's husband has been begging her for years to remove the green ribbon from around her neck, but she never has.

    The one story, which is more of a novella, that absolutely didn't work for me, was "Especially Heinous," a spoof of sorts of

    , which provided brief synopses of 272 episodes of the show, adding supernatural elements, ramping up the show's sexual tension and emotional instability, and throwing in some mundane twists as well. I just didn't get it, and it dragged on far too long for me, but I've seen other reviews refer to this as the best in the collection, so what do I know?

    is a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, and it is truly the debut of a dazzling, fearless new voice in the world of short stories. While I wish I could talk to someone about what they think happened in some of the stories, I honestly can't stop thinking about the worlds Machado created, and how masterfully she reeled me into them.

    This isn't a collection for those who like their stories to be more straightforward, or those uncomfortable with sex scenes both implied and explicit, but if you're in the mood for some genre-defying fiction, pick up this collection. You'll get to witness the start of what is sure to be an incredible career.

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • Joe Valdez

    is the debut book by Carmen Maria Machado, whose movie reviews I was familiar with in the

    . Published in 2017, I bit on this short story collection with the publisher's promise of fiction that "borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism." I found it to be rough in terms of quality control, a talented beginner trying way too hard. The first and second of eight pieces are terrific but everything tha

    is the debut book by Carmen Maria Machado, whose movie reviews I was familiar with in the

    . Published in 2017, I bit on this short story collection with the publisher's promise of fiction that "borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism." I found it to be rough in terms of quality control, a talented beginner trying way too hard. The first and second of eight pieces are terrific but everything that follows alternates wildly between undeveloped workshop draft and smart ass social media post. Obscurity overwhelms clarity.

    "The Husband Stitch" is the tale of a woman who wears a green ribbon around her neck that she never removes. At seventeen, she meets the man she'll marry, and manages to keep her ribbon and its secrets secure until their son goes off to college. The Writing (with a capital W, ugh) is style heavy--which should have been a red flag for me--but Machado did keep me unsettled throughout by grounding her story in the patterns of an old wives tale or urban legend. The piece has momentum and does lead the reader somewhere. For those like me who've never read Machado's fiction, this piece easily made me want to read more beguiling tales of women on the edge of reason.

    "Inventory" is one woman's diary of her sexual partners. The seventh entry in her little black book indicates that all may not be right with the world as an epidemic spreads from Northern California, impacting each of her subsequent entries. This is bar none the best piece. After the style choice of diary format gets familiar, there's an actual story here. Machado's writing is fraught with tension and put me on edge. I wanted to know more about the world that was developing and how her narrator would survive it. This piece had me sold that I had a great debut book on my hands.

    "Mothers" is about a woman whose bad romance (with a woman named Bad) culminates in her lover delivering a baby. It was not clear to me what the fuck was going on in this story. This is one of those pieces you discuss at book club, with everyone taking a turn describing what they think they read and together, you figure out what happened. Was there really a baby? Was the narrator really going crazy? What really happened in the house? Really? This sort of Writing is not for me and may not be for anyone who likes story and characters. Machado is also doing things in Capital Letters at this point. She seems to be trying too hard.

    "Especially Heinous (272 Views of

    )" are little joke synopses of fake episodes of the long-running detective show. Apparently, Machado is a big time

    fan and might have been compelled to write what she knows, but this is one most obnoxious things I've ever read in a book. A blog post or series of Tweets this dopey wouldn't have bothered me because social media and snark go hand in hand. As a fiction reader, though, I hate jokes. After three pages, I gave up and skipped to the next story, hoping that Machado might regain some quality control over the book. Not every pitch is going to be a strike ...

    "Real Women Have Bodies" is about a college grad working at a Forever 21 type store in a mall. She's seduced by a girl who supplies the retailer with women's garments and in a twist that gets the book back on track, women around the world are becoming non-corporeal, losing their mass. This piece comes closest to having story and characters and I did find myself becoming affected by the romance. The dark fantasy conceit isn't given priority and Machado is still too vague to be completely satisfying, but this was a decent piece.

    "Eight Bites" is about a woman who has a gastric-bypass type medical procedure and is sort of visited by the entity she shed. This conceit cannot hold the story built on top of it and on that basis, I checked out of it.

    "The Resident" is about a woman who drives into the mountains to take part in a funded fellowship for writers and artists so she can finish her novel. The residency also happens to be on the same lake she attended Girls Scouts camp at. Of course, the woman will experience strange things. Of course, the reader will wonder if what she's experiencing is real or has some Meaning. Of course, I hated this.

    "Difficult At Parties" is about a woman who experiencing some bad trauma coming home and trying to adjust. Her relationship with a man is as unclear as what happened to her or what she's experiencing.

    may be best recommended for those who enjoy writing, with lots of meaningful themes intentionally woven into them. I can't think of anything worse to spend my time reading. Maybe an alt-right manifesto. Some have described the book as "feminist," but I don't know what that means in terms of fiction. An author either creates a compelling story and characters, or she doesn't. There isn't a single piece in this book I'd want to tell someone about and for that reason, I can't recommend it. Machado errs on the side of obscurity, and errs a lot.

  • Emily May

    This is a difficult review to write because I have a lot of mixed feelings.

    is like most short story collections I have read in that some of the stories worked for me far more than others. It is

    that often crosses into fantasy, dystopia and/or magical realism. Some of the stories stepped out of the land of weird into, I feel, the land of nonsensical and absurdist. I liked these stories less than the others.

    Perhaps it is somew

    This is a difficult review to write because I have a lot of mixed feelings.

    is like most short story collections I have read in that some of the stories worked for me far more than others. It is

    that often crosses into fantasy, dystopia and/or magical realism. Some of the stories stepped out of the land of weird into, I feel, the land of nonsensical and absurdist. I liked these stories less than the others.

    Perhaps it is somewhat plebeian of me to say so, but I preferred the stories with actual, you know,

    and a structural narrative. My favourites were the much-lauded "The Husband Stitch", "Eight Bites", and "Difficult At Parties".

    "The Husband Stitch" is a retelling of "The Green Ribbon" with emphasis on the demands men and society place on women, and their sense of entitlement toward women's bodies. I especially liked how the author played around with form, including stage directions for the reader who is “reading this story out loud”.

    "Eight Bites" is about a woman's relationship with food and her fat self as she considers and then gets bariatric surgery. Machado's evocative writing really worked when delving into a food/body obsession.

    "Difficult At Parties" - about a woman trying to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault by watching porn - is another narrative that got right under my skin.

    I also enjoyed "The Resident", in which an artist's retreat in the mountains leads to a writer slowly coming undone. It contained a darkly comical line that is one of my favourite quotes in the collection:

    "Mothers", on the other hand, was a bit too abstract for me. I'd be lying if I claimed to really understand what happened. Though my least favourites were "Inventory" and "Especially Heinous". The former lists the narrator's sexual experiences throughout her life in snippets, as a vague post-apocalyptic scenario plays out in the background.

    "Especially Heinous" should have been called "Especially Tedious". It rewrites the episode plot summaries for twelve seasons of

    in snippets that gave me flashbacks to

    . It's just page after page of disconnected plot summaries that didn't come together and do anything. I wanted it to end.

    However, just in general - and this can hardly be considered Machado's fault - I am growing a little tired of these feminist tales that hold such a grim definition of womanhood and femininity. Where we are painted as humans owned in parts by various men and corporations, where sex is cold and passionless, where we are seen to be masturbating furiously whenever our vaginas aren’t bleeding, which seems to be 80% of the time with all the hymens, birthing and, of course, menstruation. Maybe this is to make women seem harder, more brutal, less maternal and nurturing and cuddly and weak… but it’s a bleak alternative.

    This book, in particular, is heavy on the sex. I have no problem with sex and sexuality, but it's extremely detached and unemotional. It's an orgasm with a straight face. It's this quote from "Real Women Have Bodies" when the narrator's girlfriend is dying/fading:

    It is sometimes very strange how sex and coming are the most important things in scenes where it seems like far more important things are happening. It made it especially difficult to read through "Inventory", which is little more than a repetitive listing of unsexy sex throughout a woman's life.

    My personal thoughts about the direction of feminist lit aside, I thought

    was pretty mixed overall. I would recommend Gay's

    , 404 Ink's

    or Enriquez's

    before this book. Though some stories are definitely worth checking out.

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