Skip to main content

Book 1 of 52: Clear Cut: One Woman's Journey of Life in the Body by Ginny Jordan

I had a hell of a medical year in 2012. I spent many hours in doctor's offices and labs, having one test, another, a repeat of the same. I had nine vials of blood taken from me at one time and, when that wasn't enough, another three. I've had to face the possibility of very bad news too many times to count. Fortunately, it seems that I can put the worst of those fears aside. Maybe. More tests must be done.

So I came to Ginny Jordan's Clear Cut: One Woman's Journey of Life in the Body
 I already feeling like my body had betrayed me. Hers has too. Jordan has undergone two mastectomies - 17 years apart - surgery for Meniere's Disease, and had her ovaries removed. I felt ashamed of myself for self-pity on my year of horrible testing compared to what she's lived through. Despite the aching pain throughout, it's a beautiful memoir. I don't usually go for these types of books, but she choose her words very carefully, poetically, and the lyricism in her prose is enchanting instead of overwrought, even about such difficult topics.

In a passage about time leading up to having her ovaries removed, she writes: "In a few weeks, my ovaries will be tossed up on the beach, like bleached nautilus shells. I fantasize that some little girl with a ponytail and a tiny bikini will collect them in her turquoise beach bucket. She will take them home along with the other shells and place them on her bedside table and store them together, inseparable. I hope she keeps them her entire life and tells her daughter the story of how she found them on vacation with her parents, how the shells glowed in the dark--like moonlight, like little lamp oracles--and contained a miracle.

"I came home renewed. The ocean moves inside of me, washing up and down my legs. The full moon rises in my belly, and my uterus is lined with shiny wet sand."

I had to put the book down and take a deep breath after reading that one. It's so sad, yet so beautiful - this passage and the book.

I've had a copy of Clear Cut: One Woman's Journey of Life in the Body since the summer, and couldn't bring myself to read it. I think I needed to get through the worst of the questions first. The timing, a year later, was just right.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 23 of 52: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

More romance? Of course! The world is on fire, and I can't ingest all the fires all the time. Sometimes I want to turn to genre fiction as an escape, even if an escape is into a patriarchal society where it's SCANDAL that a woman sometimes, when riding a horse, wears pants. Because of Miss Bridgerton is the first book in Julia Quinn's Rokesbys Series , which are prequels to her enormously popular  Bridgerton Series  (and now a  Netflix show ). These books are similar, of course, but instead being set in the Recency era of the 1810s, these books take place at the same time as the American Revolution (though still in England).  Here we meet Sybilla "Bille" Bridergton, who is stuck on the roof of a building because she chased a cat up there. She climbed up herself (scandalous woman!) but also twisted her ankle in the process, which is why she needs help to get down.  That help comes from George Rokesby. Their families are neighbors, and they've known each other

Book 12 of 52: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi is an author and graphic novelist who grew up in Iran and, as a tween and teen, lived in the country through  the Iranian Revolution before her parents sent her to Europe for school, and for her safety.  As an adult, she wrote Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood ,  a nonfiction graphic novel, originally in French. I read the English translation, which was published in 2003, three years after the original. It was a critical success, won a slew of awards, and became a movie . I haven't read the sequel, Persepolis 2 , but I hope to (you can also  buy them in a set . I found Persepolis  in a Little Free Library, or I'd have bought them combined).  In the tradition of Art Spiegelman's  Maus , which is about the author's father talking to him about the Holocaust,  Persepolis  is a memoir of trauma told through a mix of images and words that when combined, combust into powerful, beautiful and soul cracking art.  For example, Satrapi portrays the 1978 Cinema R

Book 26 of 52: The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown

I'm not going to write a long review of Tina Brown's The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil  for two reasons. First, it's been hashed to death already, as anything about the royals is, by people who are far more invested in this whole thing than I am. And second, I'm in the frantic "do I really need a jean jacket AND a windbreaker" level of packing before a long trip. I can say that I didn't mind listening to this nearly 18 hour audiobook while the rest of the world is on fire, although of course they are not insulated. We can pretend that the Royal Family lives in a bubble, but they are enormously influential; touched by the same issues of race, class and gender; and Queen Elizabeth II is one of most influential politicians of modern times — and she is a politician, no matter what anyone says. Her death will be a global, cultural moment. Same thing with the Pope, on both fronts. I listened to Brown's  The Diana Chro