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

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 In the Body of the World: A Memoir

 

In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler
Patti Hall’s review on Goodreads and Amazon

Oct 12, 2013
Recommended to Patti by: Elaine Mansfield
Recommended for: *Cancer victims and survivors. *Anyone with a female in their life.
Read from September 10 to 28, 2013, read count: 2
*I easily concede that this may not be the right book for everyone. I know that I would want to read it if I had cancer, but it may be too raw for others. Ensler does not filter out the horrendous things done to her body during her fight against cancer, nor the horrendous things done to the bodies of females in the Congo. I strongly value the message of hope that she brings to both subjects. Oh, and the “V” on the cover is not an accident.
Any possibility of love and respect for her body was taken away with the violation of it by her own father. Eve Ensler kept her body busy though, with good, bad and ugly actions. Years later, she began talking with, and interviewing women about their bodies. Part of the discussion was about how they could value and protect their bodies. Ensler wrote and published the Vagina Monologues and performed the play on stage. Her character portrayals are pure art. Other artists took on her role. The result of all that wondering and questioning can still be witnessed on campuses and theaters across the country. Ensler continued to interview women from every walk of life, and from around the world. There was only one thing that stopped her, or I should say, refocused her.
The plight of the women and girls of the Congo gave her a new focus. The Congo is a place where the rape, pillage, murder and destruction of females, from infants to grandmothers, are rampant. These crimes against humanity take place in collusion with the destruction of the Congolese earth. These crimes take place in order to mine the earth’s natural ingredients, which feed the rest of the world’s lust for resources and technology.
Not long after Ensler began to envision and ignite solutions with and for the women of the Congo, she encountered the destructive force of cancer within her own body. While the Congo women and earth continued to be attacked, Ensler was forced to retreat (although never out of contact) and fight her private battle. And a horrendous battle it was. Ensler writes about it like a gentle, yet ferocious mother. She writes in awe of the mighty foe. Her writing invokes a woman who is, at once, humble, brave, weak, passionate and grateful. As if that were not enough to compel readers, Ensler is also generous with her unvarnished honesty.The City of Joy is being built and run by the girls and women of the Congo. It is its own powerful force, envisioned and ignited by Ensler and her circle of supporters. When Ensler and her doctors were done slaying her cancer dragons, she went right back to The City of Joy. She continues to travel the world to garner funds for the V-Day movement to end violence against women and girl’s bodies. This daunting challenge is no less heroic than the fight to save her own life.

The loudest lesson Ensler offers her readers is hope.

Author: Patti Hall

Writer, daughter, sister, mom, niece, grani, and friend. Works-in-progress; 3 children's books, some poetry and a memoir series, "Souvenirs from My Heart." Pursuits of happiness include gardening, walking the beach, reading, writing, photography, traveling and genealogy. I am a widow (2009), lost my sis in 2012, my aunt and a precious grandson in 2013.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: In the Body of the World: A Memoir, Eve Ensler

  1. Wow! Ok, this is going straight to the top of my must read list. Having lived in Rwanda (next to Congo) and met many Congolese women, I feel both terrified and called to read this book. I’ve read the Vagina monologues – amazing stuff, but years ago now. Maybe time for a re-reading. Thanks Patti for this exciting recommendation. Hope you’re well:-) Love and hugs, Harula xxxxxx

    • Harula,
      Great relief that you were my first comment on this! You must know that feeling when you post something that may disturb some? Maybe not, your posts are overwhelmingly positive:>)
      It is a tough read and you will probably cry, as I did, It took me many days to read, but the hope is worth it all. And the knowledge. If I can find no other way to help, I can share this knowledge.
      I am doing better every day. Thank you.
      Love & Hugs back,
      Patti

  2. Wonderful review, Patti. I will share it and also ask the woman who monitors the One Billion Rising Ithaca website to post it there.

    ‘In The Body Of The World’ is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Ensler’s powerful writing style and raw personal honesty help me know the suffering and resiliency of life and of women. If I turn my head away and pretend that suffering doesn’t exist, then I’m helpless in the face of my own losses and struggles, as well as the suffering of others and the earth. I believe Ensler’s power comes from her courage to face what is–and when she sees and knows the truth, she moves to do something on behalf of other women and finally herself. After her personal struggle to digest her horrifying childhood experiences and after being stripped to the bone by cancer, she becomes a shining light of compassionate action.

    With gratitude for your piece and this transforming book,
    Elaine

    • To me it is bravery in its highest form. She has seen and heard and lived through things that I can barely read about, yet, as you say, she turns it into compassionate action.
      I’m thankful that you told me about the book and that you are spreading the word.
      Warm Hugs,
      Patti

  3. Great review Patti. Eve is an amazing woman and I look forward to reading her story in the next week even though I know it will be a difficult read.
    Hugs!

  4. You girls rock! You are so inspiring with your posts, Patti and Elaine. So glad I found you and I have someone in mind to pass this book along to. Patti, I see you are good on your word….back to reviewing! You go girl! I need to get my book launched and get back in the loop! 🙂

    • Thank you, Debby. We met here online, just like you and I. When grief it off.slams me, my word is not so steady, but I do get back up and get moving eventually.
      Happy to have you “in the loop” now, the book will just top it off.
      I need to get going on next steps of publishing.
      Thanks for hanging out with us.

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