Y's Reviews > Skin: Talking about Sex, Class and Literature

Skin by Dorothy Allison
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's review
Feb 15, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: theory-and-ish, i-taught-this

having gone to an undergrad institution that prized itself on the humanities and majored in american literature and womens studies (much to the horror of my parents, who couldnt understand how those degrees would lead to an optometry career), i spent an insane amount of time between the ages of 18 - 21 talking about all the -isms and -obias that plague both this nation and the world. and yet there was a disquieting silence surrounding class, and to this i am not sure if this is because of the classes i chose to take, or because i just tuned out.

in any case, reading skin: talking about sex, class and literature was a monumental experience for me; when allison speaks of the mythical poor and of being an academic, i almost bristled with the tension that she was speaking of, since that tension is something that i have felt all of my life. to grow up working class, to aspire for academic satisfaction, and to be human, and not some kind of angel living in the streets, paired with the idea of literature as both salvation and damnation, no one id read to that point had articulated that existence so amazingly as allison has in this collection of essays.

her novels are not as strong as her non-fiction, sadly, but allison is someone i find deeply moving in her unaffected style and presentation.
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