Thank you to the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 18th August 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Anthology, Essays
TW: It discusses a lot of sensitive topics due to the nature of the book, such as body dysmorphia, mental illness, discrimination, and more.
We all experience the world in a body, but we don’t usually take the time to explore what it really means to have and live within one. Just as every person has a unique personality, every person has a unique body, and every body tells its own story. In Body Talk, thirty-seven writers, models, actors, musicians, and artists share essays, lists, comics, and illustrations—about everything from size and shape to scoliosis, from eating disorders to cancer, from sexuality and gender identity to the use of makeup as armor. Together, they contribute a broad variety of perspectives on what it’s like to live in their particular bodies—and how their bodies have helped to inform who they are and how they move through the world. ~ Goodreads
As someone who doesn’t read a lot of non-fiction or anthologies, this book was a beautiful surprise and I absolutely loved it. The contributions throughout vary as much in topic as they do in format which made it a really easy and interesting reading. There will be stories that you relate to, stories that open your eyes to experiences you haven’t shared, stories that make you feel less alone, stories that make you smile, make you laugh, make you cry. It encourages you to embrace the body that you were given as well as to celebrate each body’s uniqueness and wonder in the most perfect way.
One of the things that I like most about anthologies is that you get to read from so many different perspectives and hear so many different voices all in one book. In Body Talk there are contributions from people you will probably know, such as Tyra Banks, but it also introduces you to many more people from many different backgrounds and all contributors are given a voice and a chance to share their experiences in the way that they wish to do it, whether that be an essay, a letter, a list, an illustration, or something else. It also has FAQ sections dotted throughout with important information related to the entries which I really loved.
In just the first few entries, there are already discussions and mentions of disability, sexuality, gender, race, mental illness, and this is just the start of the diversity that follows throughout the whole book. Diversity is something that is really important to me and that I always seek out in the books I read and this is one of the best books I’ve ever read for that. I really appreciate how Kelly Jensen made this such a focus point rather than missing any of these important communities out.
Finally, a great thing about an anthology is the many different ways you can read it and access it. You can read it cover to cover, you can dip in and out of it, you can pick out essays and stories to read as they interest you, you can easily go back and re-read the ones that have stuck with you the most and so much more. Reading an anthology is a reading experience like no other and I love it.
This is such an important book that I think will help many people, especially young people, learn to accept the body that they have been given and to love themselves for who they are. It helps show that you are not alone, that everyone struggles in some way with their image, but that it is possible to embrace it and to see the positives. I hope many people get the opportunity to read it.
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository | Waterstones | Barnes & Noble