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The Good Body

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,520 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Botox, bulimia, breast implants: Eve Ensler, author of the international sensation The Vagina Monologues, is back, this time to rock our view of what it means to have a “good body.” “In the 1950s,” Eve writes, girls were “pretty, perky. They had a blond Clairol wave in their hair. They wore girdles and waist-pinchers. . . . In recent years good girls join the army. They cl ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 8th 2005 by Villard (first published January 1st 2004)
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In theory, I (generally) like what Eve Ensler has to say- I (kind of) get where she comes from and her feminism bumps up against mine and we sometimes find a middle ground and sometimes... not.

I believe in the idea that underlies this piece. I know what she's saying. I (mostly) agree with what she's saying.

I just detest the way in which she says it. There's a whole load of unchecked privilege present in the text, no real reflection of how women's bodies and lives intersect with the complicated n
Mara Shaw
Relentless, vehement body loathing with a desperate attempt at a hopeful (saccharine) ending of:
"We live in a good body.
We live in a good body.
Good body.
Good body.
Good body."

Ms. Ensler is obviously trying to convince herself, but I'm certain she does not believe it. She's left with hatred of her body, and, sadly, the reader is left with the stories of extreme self-hatred that constitute the book.

Instead of feeling glorious that my body functions and is my "tree" (one of her few attempts to
Not as good as the Vagina Monologues, but still very powerful and funny and wonderful in its own way. My favorite moment of this book was reading it in an airport... My copy had a different cover from the one pictured here. The cover art is a naked female torso with scoops of ice cream instead of breasts. I thought it was a fantastic image that managed to convey the commodification of female bodies, the link between female sexuality and self-denial, the strange way female sexuality and food have ...more
This is a mess. Maybe it's because I don't like the format, or that I think a 90 page book made up mostly of unexplicated quotes is a lazy way to make money, or that I think the whole premise is strangely misogynistic, but I hated the book. There is really no discussion of reasons why women might hate their bodies beyond being damaged by their parents or personally buying into media images of what's beautiful. So who makes the media? What drives our standards of beauty? Is it possible that the e ...more
Ana Rînceanu
original read: 2008

I still remembered some parts of this. It was good.
Most women have something they hate about their bodies. For Eve Ensler it's her stomach, but for me it's less one part and more a laundry list of complaints: the hair on my head (too fine), the hair on my body (too thick), my cheeks (too hamster-licious), my eyes (too wonky), my teeth (too mangled), my stomach (too wobbly), my thighs (too thick), my legs (too short) and my feet (too wide). I've spent a fortune over the years buying products to firm, tone, support, remove and disguise the many ar ...more
Eve Ensler changed my relationship to my body when I saw her perform the Vagina Monologues. I had no idea what to expect (I was a teenager!)She spoke about experiences I was new to and those I had yet to experience. As a nutritionist I've discovered that body image bind us, regardless of body type, age or gender. In this book Eve once again takes women's stories and shares them to provoke and empower. There are the universal tales- how fashion mags make us feel about our ordinary selves, the ext ...more
Kristen Mohr
I loved the Vagina Monologues and was looking forward to reading something else by the same author. Unfortunately, where that was empowering, this just felt vitriolic and full of self-hate. This book is called The Good Body, but almost all of it was stories of women who wanted it to go away. I have a pretty healthy body image and this just made me feel yelled at. Plus, I did this as an audio book to get closer to the stage play experience and sometimes when Ensler is telling the stories of women ...more
Elizabeth A
This is really wonderful. If you get the chance get the audio version and listen to Eve perform the piece - so very powerful. It made me laugh and cry and think. Loved it.
Apr 25, 2014 kim rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio, 2014, adult, nf
like the Vagina Monologues but focused on body fat and body image. the audio version has some really annoying fake accents going on
Just read this. And buy it for all the women you know. And take them to see it performed on stage, if at all possible.
As someone who has always struggled to "fit in" on some level, this just shows me that all over the world, many women feel the same way.
The countries that lack the social media, have the most love for themselves and their bodies. After reading this, I have realized that if I focus too much on what I hate about myself, it will never get better.
Worrying about something so much, just makes your goals seem so unattainable.
Even Ensler is great, and I plan on reading all she has to say; and I want to
McKenzie Richardson
Eve Ensler is absolutely phenomenal. This play speaks to anyone who has ever been insecure in their own body, an audience that encompasses most, if not all, of the planet. This was a great quick-read that really puts body issues into perceptive. I think my favorite part was Leah's section. I loved the metaphor she gave on loving one's own body. Overall, this was an interesting read that helps to clear away some of the shame and guilt that we all feel about our physical appearances and brings its ...more
I had some time to kill this afternoon, so I went to the library, and happened to notice that I was in the section containing this book. Since it's been on my to-read list for a while, I thought I'd take a look. First of all, it's way shorter than I was led to believe, and I read the whole thing in about half an hour. That said, it tries to cram a lot of meaning into that half hour's worth of reading material, and unfortunately I don't feel like it really delivers.

The vast majority of this book
Ian Drew Forsyth
At first I gave this a four, because I thought it brought up some good issues but wasn't as good as the vagina monologues. Then after talking to my female roommate after she read it, she said it didn't make her feel any better about her body, and she said the cover was insulting, eve ensler sneering or smirking bent over, skiny as hell even with her little belly for forty "big deal" and all the flat stomachs behind her.
There needed to be more of a positive enforcement of what women can do to fe
"I'm stepping off the capitalist treadmill. I am going to take a deep breath and find a way to survive not being flat or perfect. I am inviting you to join me, to stop trying to be anything, anyone other than who you are."

Ensler explores Bombay to Beverly Hills, delivering narratives collected in locker rooms, cell blocks, boardrooms, and bedrooms, where she frames their stories with her own personal journey from a self-loathing teenager to a (sometimes) self-accepting adult. "I have bought int
My friend Megan caught me eyeing this book on her shelf and let me borrow it. I really did love it. Eve Ensler has a way of tapping into women's issues in a provocative way that I, personally, envy. She utilizes both subtly and her own unique brand of in-your-face-ness with amazing effectiveness. Reading it, I found myself wishing that my neices were old enough to understand it so that I could share it with them. It really shines a light on the kind of deep seeded body image issues women in our ...more
Jody  Julian
"Maybe because for most of my life I have felt wrong, dirty, guilty, and bad, and my stomach is the carrier, the pouch for all that self-hatred." -preface, Eve Ensler

This is more of a treatise or essay than a book. It's a quick read, yet a powerful and much needed addition to the subject of body acceptance. This time, Eve Ensler takes on her shame, our shame, of what it's like to be reduced to the size of our belly or our thighs or whatever body part each one of us obsesses over in our quest to
This book is short (I read it in one quick sitting), but its brevity packs a powerful punch. It examines, through the lives of women (real and imagined) around the world, the lengths females go to in order to have a "good body." Female beauty standards are a social construct and yet women live (and often tragically) die by them. In her quest to deal with her dissatisfaction over her rounded stomach, Ensler discovers that women are willing to endure endless surgeries, countless sit ups, and fat c ...more
I'm having a tough time reviewing this one. Written by the woman who wrote the Vagina Monologues, I expected something similarly revelatory and moving. So I think this suffers from high expectations. It's also hard to knock a woman for wallowing in self-hatred, but I suppose you expect more from the woman who has college campuses everywhere chanting CUNT and loving their vaginas.

I just felt that The Good Body was self-indulgent rather than moving. It was almost the inverse of Vagina Monologues -
I loved this book not in spite of but because of how petty Eve Ensler sounded when she was discussing her body concerns: I realized judging her for saying aloud (okay, on paper) what most women just think inside their heads was hypocritical, and that self-realization for me turned out to be the whole point of reading the book.

On the actual book: there was a nice variety of anecdotes in "The Good Body." There were some truly touching stories, some laugh out loud funny stories (or at least, secti
There were parts of this that really resonated with me. Parts that almost made me cry because I recognized myself in the self-hatred Eve Ensler describes. But then there was a lot that fell flat, that felt like vulgarity for its own sake or, as other reviewers have mentioned, too much hatred with too little love. I love the idea and I love pieces of the execution, but there was too much that kept taking me out of the experience for it to blow me away.
I cannot love, relate to, and agree with this play more. A topic that every woman has experienced some point in their life. Extremely well-written. Every women in this play has their own very distinct voice and their character jumps out of the page even each of them on only has a short monologue. All the different women from different backgrounds are tied together in the end in a both touching and brilliant way. Love, love this play.
I appreciate her attempts, but this was weak execution. There was some power behind 'The Vagina Monologues,' but there is none in this play. I appreciate that she attempts diversity, but it doesn't come off very well, even with some of these pieces being based on real women. The dialogue itself is weak, and it all comes from a place of rich New Yorker privilege. This was only meh. But short. So there's that.
Jun 28, 2008 MaryAnn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: other women, physical trainers, nutrionists....
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daryl Leyesa
The book is bold, or maybe bolder since the author regarded it as a prayer.

Eve Ensler wrote: “This play is my prayer, my attempt to analyze the mechanisms of our imprisonment, to break free so that we may spend more time running the world than running away from it; so that we may be consumed by the sorrow of the world rather than consuming to avoid that sorrow and suffering.”

"LOVE YOUR BODY. STOP FIXING IT. It was never broken." I say amen to this prayer and hallelujah to all bodies that are fea
Eve Ensler made people think and celebrate and weep with The Vagina Monologues. Now she's focusing on another body part - the stomach. Full of quotable, memorable lines: 'I am going to take a deep breath and find a way to survive not being flat or perfect. I am inviting you to join me, to stop trying to be anything, anyone other than who you are.'

Tell the image makers and magazine sellers and the plastic surgeons that you are not afraid. That what you fear the most is the death of imagination a
Molly G
It is really, really hard to break out of the programming. Books like this and Portia de Rossi's "Unbearable Lightness" really help.

(Because WHY should we break out of the programming? In order to have a little more focus, energy, and effort to give to absolutely ANYTHING and EVERYTHING else!)
I think this is a great book for many people to read. Its super short, and extremely fast to read. And it easily shows just how much body image effects women. I would be interested to hear a guy's perspective on this book, but I found this book so completely relatable. I've had so many of the thoughts of the women in this book, and I've been working over the last year or so to really change my thinking. I only wish that there was more stories about women that have accepted their bodies. There we ...more
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Eve Ensler is an internationally bestselling author and an award-winning playwright whose works include The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body, Insecure at Last, and I Am an Emotional Creature, since adapted for the stage as Emotional Creature. She is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised more than $90 million for local groups and activis ...more
More about Eve Ensler...
The Vagina Monologues I am an Emotional Creature In the Body of the World Insecure at Last A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer: Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and girls

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“Do you say that tree isn't pretty cause it doesn't look like that tree? We're all trees. You're a tree. I'm a tree. You've got to love your body, Eve. You've got to love your tree. Love your tree. (Leah)” 19 likes
“Do you say that tree isn't pretty cause it doesn't look like that tree? We're all trees. You're a tree. I'm a tree. You've got to love your body, Eve. You've got to live your tree. Love your tree. (Leah)” 2 likes
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