Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: In the Body of the World: A Memoir by Eve Ensler

On the jacket: 

From the best-selling author of The Vagina Monologues and one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Changed the World, a visionary memoir of separation and connection—to the body, the self, and the world

Playwright, author, and activist Eve Ensler has devoted her life to the female body—how to talk about it, how to protect and value it. Yet she spent much of her life disassociated from her own body—a disconnection brought on by her father’s sexual abuse and her mother’s remoteness. “Because I did not, could not inhabit my body or the Earth,” she writes, “I could not feel or know their pain.”

But Ensler is shocked out of her distance. While working in the Congo, she is shattered to encounter the horrific rape and violence inflicted on the women there. Soon after, she is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and through months of harrowing treatment, she is forced to become first and foremost a body—pricked, punctured, cut, scanned. It is then that all distance is erased. As she connects her own illness to the devastation of the earth, her life force to the resilience of humanity, she is finally, fully—and gratefully—joined to the body of the world.

Unflinching, generous, and inspiring, Ensler calls on us all to embody our connection to and responsibility for the world.


Reading this memoir was difficult. Emotionally and for the mind. But what comes throw the pages of this book, is Ensler, who is surely a warrior and a survivor. Abused by her father, Ensler grew up to spend years of her life as an activist for women who have undergone physical violence. On top of this, she get diagnosed of cancer. 

This book made me cry; there are descriptions which we, the little-more-fortunate can never even build up in our imaginations. In the book you see a woman, so broken, that even if she gave up, it would have been okay. But she didn't. Cancer is difficult to read about. Added to it, the abuses committed against women's bodies. Parts made my heart grieve. Ensler has a scary story to tell, but I say you read it. It's honest and in your face. It will make your heart cry, but the book doesn't present itself as anything less than strong. 

A must, must read.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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