our-bodies-ourselves-and-the-work-of-writing.jpgRemember how I motored through my first two "12 Books, 12 Months" books in only a couple of weeks? Well, that ended abruptly with Susan Wells' Our Bodies, Ourselves and the Work of Writing, which is a mere 280 pages, and I've been working on for at least a month.

First, let me say that the book isn't bad. It's just not at all what I wanted it to be. I was so excited when I saw it recommended by Amazon--finally, someone writing some history about Our Bodies, Ourselves, which was the co-topic of my undergraduate thesis at Reed! I ordered it immediately.

I should have read more closely. It's not history. The author is an English professor, and a her academic work is in, God help us, rhetoric. This book is about Our Bodies, Ourselves less as a historical source, and more as a piece of writing. The analysis is of the text, as a text. Very little of the book is about the moment, or the movement. So, for me, who not only doesn't understand rhetoric but really doesn't care, it was a bit of a slog.

Next I'm on to another non-fiction book for which I have high hopes, Wini Breines' Young, White, and Miserable: Growing Up Female in the Fifties. Breines isn't a historian either, she's a sociologist, but I clearly remember reading and enjoying her essay, "The "Other" Fifties: Beats and Bad Girls" in Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, so I'm holding out hope this one will be more my speed.

3 Comments

I can't decide if this sounds fascinating or disappointing. I imagine it might be of interest to my rhet nerd friends, though.

Sorry this wasn't your cup of tea. Most of the historical stuff is in Chapter 2; also check the short biographical sections on individual writers.

If you want a more movement-centered book on OBOS, there's a great book by Kathy Davis. Happy new year!

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