A compelling must-read for kids, young adults, and adults! Body Talk is the kind of no-holds-barred, thoughtful compilation that I wish I had access to in school. It's time to demystify our bodies and break down the barriers of ignorance and taboo surrounding our bodies and our physical differences.
Why do we give our bodies such a hard time? Why do signs of physical difference or ability mark some of us as "Other?" At the end of the day, why are we so hard on each other and on ourselves?
These are just a few of the questions that Body Talk raises, and they're great starting points. I'd go so far as to the say that this anthology could be considered a primer for students in health class, because honestly there are things in here that kids (and us adults!) should be thinking critically about.
What is the correct way to refer to a disabled person? Where did the phrase "body positivity" come from, and is it the inclusive term we think it is? Why is a woman's pain treated as insignificant in a doctor's office and often misdiagnosed? Did you know that young men should be aware of a specific kind of cancer?
Some of these tales come from a place of education—the author is telling us about a subject in an an almost impartial manner, and it works. Some of these stories are bullet points, some are from medical professionals.
Other tales come from places of pain and joy—authors who live on the other side of the social norm due to their physical form—which is outside of their control—and they're sharing their experiences with themselves on a personal level and with their surroundings. These are the stories that I will remember the most, because some of them cut deep and others highlighted some of my own biases, fears, and judgments.
We all have conceptions of physicality and what it means to have a "normal" body. What many of us don't think about is how it feels to live on the other side of that line, and how our "normal" ideas can be damaging, ignorant, or at times just confused.
This book is covers a LOT of topics, and everyone could read these stories and get something different out of them. We've got stories on disabilities, yes, but also on body size and shape, gender, female issues and male issues, stigmas in different communities, and windows into other people's experiences.
A valuable book, and worth a read to all of us with bodies to care for and love. (So... all of us, unless the person reading this is an embodied spirit or cyborg, in which case you've got your own issues.)
Thank you to Algonquin Books for Young Readers for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.