Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado Review


Title: Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
Author: Carmen Maria Machado
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Anthology/Short Story Collection
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                I’ve been wanting to read Machado’s debut set of stories for a long time; the first couple times that I tried to read it, I had to return it to my library before I could actually read it. As soon as I was finished with Come November, I pushed it to the top of my library stack. This collection of seven stories was dark, comic, feminist and shocking, and I loved every single one of them. Carmen Maria Machado has become one of my new favorite authors, full of talent and dark truths. I cannot wait to see what comes next from this amazing, wonderful new talent; this set of stories is unforgettable. I was laughing, crying, and gasping. Machado grabs the horror genre and turns it on its head.

                A wife refuses her husband’s pleas to take off the green ribbon around her neck. A lonely woman recounts her sexual history while a plague ravages humanity. A salesclerk at a thrift shop in a mall makes a gruesome, horrible discovery inside of used prom dresses. A woman decides to have a weight reduction surgery and receives an unwelcome and unpleasant houseguest in return. And the novella that has garnered the most attention in the collection reimagines seven seasons of the hit crime show, Law and Order: SVU. I loved this bloody, dark, and gory collection of stories; all of them were unique, some retellings and some original tales. I loved the way that it seemed to peel off the skin of the female psyche; reading this book made me feel both exposed and hidden, like Machado had peered into the deepest parts of my heart and soul. The stories in this collection were about hunger, desire, and the hidden longings that we speak of rarely, if at all. I can’t even decide which story was my favorite, because they all ended up affecting me in different ways. By the end of the book, I was sad it was over, and felt like there were new parts of myself, unearthed by Machado’s lush words. Reading this collection felt like nothing less than a shock, and I cannot wait to see what comes next for this talented, exciting new author. The bottom line: Surprising, wry, darkly funny and honest, I loved Her Body and Other Stories! Next on deck: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett!

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