My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 day
Pages - 320
Publisher - Harper Collins
Source - Review Copy
Blurb from Goodreads
An honest, funny, neurotic, and totally gross love child of Mindy Kaling and Mary Roach.
Mara Altman's volatile and apprehensive relationship with her body has led her to wonder about a lot of stuff over the years. Like, who decided that women shouldn't have body hair? And how sweaty is too sweaty? Also, why is breast cleavage sexy but camel toe revolting? Isn't it all just cleavage? These questions and others like them have led to the comforting and sometimes smelly revelations that constitute Gross Anatomy, an essay collection about what it's like to operate the bags of meat we call our bodies.
Divided into two sections, "The Top Half" and "The Bottom Half," with cartoons scattered throughout, Altman's book takes the reader on a wild and relatable journey from head to toe--as she attempts to strike up a peace accord with our grody bits.
With a combination of personal anecdotes and fascinating research, Gross Anatomy holds up a magnifying glass to our beliefs, practices, biases, and body parts and shows us the naked truth: that there is greatness in our grossness.
Well this was certainly different that is for sure. Altman takes us on a journey down the female body, our hang ups, embarrassing problems, why we are ashamed or embarrassed of some things in our body. Using humour, research and speaking to professionals in their fields about things that happen or puzzle us or even affect us so much we resort to surgery to change the appearance of a particular body part we have an eye opening journey.
Altman is brutally honest about things that she questions on her own body, some thoughts/accounts will make you blush or squirm. One section about headlice had me clawing as I was reading. She doesn't just tackle her own hangups, she examines why so many females have issues with so many things, from excess hair, to removing hair from areas, odours, sweating, discharge yup if that word makes you uncomfortable this book will NOT be for you. She refers to the female anatomy with the P word and even the C word sneaks out a few times in conversations in the book. I could feel myself going red reading some paragraphs and the book wasn't about me and I don't embarrass easily.
I think she has been really brave tackling some of the issues in the book, why do we feel the need to go to extremes to deal with hair, sweating, odours, aesthetics it is really interesting in parts. I love that she spoke to specialists, examined research that had been conducted and added very honest confessions about her own "issues" hangups and experiences.
It is very uncomfortable reading at points but a lot of it is very valid and I am sure many females will be nodding when reading parts of the book. It is not the easiest book to read purely because it is so honest and the things she discusses are things many people, even some of the experts wouldn't engage her in chatting about. She challenges some ideas, pushes some boundaries and I think many will find it empowering to be so honest about so many things we shy away from. 3/5 for me this time, although this was my first dance with this author I would look out for more of her offerings. If you like a book that pushes you a wee bit, this would be perfect for you to pick up. Honest, funny, cringe, mortifying, embarrassing, well researched and I think you would struggle to find a more personal book that tackles issues that I would be surprised if any female didn't relate to something in the book.