Note: This review is part of the 2016 Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight.
My Body, Herself is one of those ambiguous tales you have to read for yourself and get what you need to get out of it because it’s about many things but you’ll see what you need to see when you read it.
My Body, Herself has so much going on as it touches on death and loneliness, being trapped in certain versions of ourself and the safety we feel or don’t feel within those versions, awareness of the choices we make (both good and bad), the weight we carry when we run, we climb, we jump, and hope.
I love that we follow a main character who gets to see a rebirth, a new version of herself and from what I understood, she never really knew if that version could hear her. It’s maddening but as a whole, this story is really quite fascinating. I really enjoyed the writing, loved the imagery throughout. I can definitely see myself reading this again, a number of times because this feels like a short story that you can read a thousand times and always see something new and different, always find a thought provoking detail.
This isn’t a straightforward story with predictable story structure so that was really refreshing. That said, this is very much a story heavy on metaphor so if that sounds like something you’re up to dissect, this is the short story for you. This is the first work by Carmen Maria Machado that I’ve read and I’m definitely intrigued.
At first, I was trying to figure out the story and ground myself in the character and her world. It was frustrating in the beginning, because I thought I knew what was happening and then as I read on, my mind adjusted to how the story was actually playing out. But in saying that, I think that’s the beauty of this story, you can navigate it in many ways. So read this once, twice, how every many times you need. Each time, you’ll find something to appreciate.
(In death, hope is like eating an apple while smelling an onion: your body tells you a terrible thing but your mind tells you something sweeter.)
Read My Body, Herself by Carmen Maria Machado at UncannyMagazine.com and the September/October 2016 Issue of Uncanny Magazine today.