Charlotte's Reviews > I am an Emotional Creature

I am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler
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's review
Mar 19, 2011

it was ok
Read in March, 2011

I had the opportunity to see Eve Ensler (yes, the woman largely responsible for diminishing the stigma of the word 'vagina' through the popularity of her episodic play "The Vagina Monologues," bringing the utterance of the word out of medical establishments only and into the mainstream) read/perform/talk at my mom's school, and unfortunately could not make it. I did, however, read a copy of her latest book "I am an Emotional Creature." The book is a collection of poems/fictionalized monologues in the voice of teenage girls around the world about everything from their bodies, relationships, sex and pregnancy, to friendship, poverty, sexism, assault. These poems/monologues are interspersed with the occasional 'Girl Fact,' like 'Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart,' and 'More than 900 million girls and women are living on less than a dollar a day.' The format of the book is unusual and experimental, and feels a little disjointed. Some of the poems/monologues seemed downright hokey, others more poignant, but in a book like this one the experience of the pieces will be very subjective.

The basic premise of the book is that teenage girls, as they grow into women, are denied their emotional natures, learn to repress them, and as a result are worse off. If harnessed and channeled correctly, all these strong emotions could instead be a powerful force for good and for change. While I appreciate the basic message, it bothers me that there is no acknowledgment that men face this problem as much as (I would say more than) women, since our societal definition of "masculine" involves little display or talk of emotions.

I didn't feel strongly one way or another about the book. I think Eve Ensler's writing is really meant to be performed, so maybe if I had heard her read, or had heard girls perform parts of the book, the words would have felt more powerful. As it stands, I'm decidedly 'meh' about this one.

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