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In the Body of the World

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From the bestselling author of The Vagina Monologues and one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Changed the World, a visionary memoir of separation and connection—to the body, the self, and the world

Playwright, author, and activist Eve Ensler has devoted her life to the female body—how to talk about it, how to protect and value it. Yet she spent much of her life disassociated from her own body—a disconnection brought on by her father’s sexual abuse and her mother’s remoteness. “Because I did not, could not inhabit my body or the Earth,” she writes, “I could not feel or know their pain.”

But Ensler is shocked out of her distance. While working in the Congo, she is shattered to encounter the horrific rape and violence inflicted on the women there. Soon after, she is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and through months of harrowing treatment, she is forced to become first and foremost a body—pricked, punctured, cut, scanned. It is then that all distance is erased. As she connects her own illness to the devastation of the earth, her life force to the resilience of humanity, she is finally, fully—and gratefully—joined to the body of the world.

Unflinching, generous, and inspiring, Ensler calls on us all to embody our connection to and responsibility for the world.


240 pages, Hardcover

First published April 30, 2013

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About the author

Eve Ensler

33 books1,048 followers
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 activists, and inspired the global action One Billion Rising. Ensler lives in Paris and New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 367 reviews
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
916 reviews13.9k followers
July 30, 2018
4.5 Stars

TW/ rape, sexual assault, abuse (esp. graphic mutilation and domestic violence), extreme content warnings relating to the harm women's bodies and

Your dying, my dying is necessary and irrelevant and inevitable. Do not be afraid, no, death will not be our end. Indifference will be, disassociation will be, collateral damage, polar caps melting, endless hunger, mass rapes, grotesque wealth. The change will come from those who know they do not exist separately but as part of the river."

I had this on my TBR shelf and as an audiobook on Scribd, and when I saw it, I honest to God was about to just unhaul it because I didn't think I'd ever get to it. I ended up turning on the audiobook for a few minutes just to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. This book has some great feminist quotes like "Hysteria--a word to make women feel insane for knowing what they know." This book is dark and revealing and goes far beyond discussing Eve's body and feminism.

The chapters in this were short and gripping. I often found myself turning off the audiobook and reaching for my physical copy to be able to underline passages and internalize the message fully. Her writing and descriptions were so lush, and when she described being in the Congo, I could taste the fruit and see the colors on the women's clothes. I will certainly pick up anything Eve publishes in the future, and this book's uncensored prose will probably linger with me for some time.

The parallels between her sexual assault as a young girl and how she was treated as a cancer patient in the hospital was haunting. This isn't just a woman telling her story of survival; it reveals patterns in our society that transcend medicine, namely corruption, abuse, and disregard for the environment and humanity. It's as much a story about the world's issues at it was about Eve's body and her experience with healing, and she uses her circumstance to reveal a larger truth about the dangers of the world we live in. The last chapter was startlingly effective as a call to action, which I was not expecting of this book. If Eve went into politics, she could probably move mountains. I envision myself thinking about this book often in the future.
December 23, 2021
Eve Ensler is an inspiration to women, and is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Having read The Vagina Monologues some years ago, and being able to get so much from it, I thought I'd buy Ensler's memoir, which mostly focuses on her battle with uterine cancer.

The moment a person hears the word "cancer" it stops life right there and then for the person diagnosed with it, and for their family and friends. My Mum was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer, completely out of the blue, when I was 17. To say it was a shock is an understatement. It changed our lives, not only for the worse, but almost for the better, and by that I mean that I became more appreciative of what I had, and I took less for granted. It really hits home that nobody is untouchable. But honestly, I'm not going to lie, it was a very difficult year, and I think seeing such vulnerability from a person that is supposed to there to protect me, definitely had a major impact on me.

Ensler describes her time of when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer, with all of the rather personal and somewhat grim details involved with that. I noticed that some people put this book down due to how much mention there was of "poop" or "vomit". Well people, Ensler tells it how it is, and battling cancer definitely isn't no pleasure cruise! I think these particular people misunderstood the point of this memoir altogether.

I like how Ensler makes a list of possible reasons as to how or why she developed uterine cancer. She is trying to find some satisfaction in finding answers to her illness, but unfortunately, in the case of cancer, we usually never know.

During the second half of the book, the writing took a nose dive, and it didn't work as well for me. It seemed rushed, and not all of it made sense. I realise these are Ensler's personal thoughts, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first half.

Overall, this was a rather powerful memoir, that takes us on a journey which doesn't show us a sugar-coated view of cancer, but shows us one that is real, and leaves nothing untouched.
Profile Image for Kristy.
78 reviews5 followers
December 10, 2013
I didn't need an excuse to adore Ms. Ensler more than I already do. I did make the mistake of reading some reviews before finishing the book though. There weren't bad reviews, but some that ventured to say that she talked about shit and poop too much. For those poor, comfortable women all I can say is you missed the point you sad creature. She reminds us of who we are, where we come from and what happens to us in this toxic world. Then shows us the beauty within it all. Within the shit. Everybody poops! Beyond that everybody is brave, fearful, stupid, alone, love, just passing through, accountable and responsible. So take care.
Profile Image for Ellie.
1,475 reviews372 followers
October 15, 2016
I read this book in one sitting-it was so amazing, painful, brilliant, mesmerizing, that I couldn't stop even though I had other things that needed doing.

Eve Ensler recounts her battle with cancer, with life itself, and her discovery of what love is, what matters in life. This story is woven into another story: her work in the Congo with the women there who have been raped, brutalized beyond belief but who have come together to build The City of Joy.

This book is frightening and awe-inspiring. I don't like uplifting but if I did, this would be it.

I hate cancer stories, they terrify me. But this book was as necessary to me as breathing. I can't believe I haven't already read it.

Ensler doesn't make the cancer story beautiful but she makes her own story real. Frightening, as I said, but also filled with love - from others, for others. She made me grateful to be alive and ashamed of my privilege in a world where so many have nothing. She made me want to be a warrior like her.

I will be living with this book for a long time. As I hope she continues to live and fight and inspire others.
Profile Image for Holley Rubinsky.
Author 4 books12 followers
June 19, 2013

I fell into Eve Ensler's In the Body of the World: A Memoir without preconception; the book was at the library and a volunteer handed it to me. And, while it may be hard to believe, I hadn't followed Ensler's career, even missed "The Vagina Monologues" when it was performed locally.

Through the first half of the book, I was reeling, feeling that this was a definite buy for my own shelf--I was glazed, amazed and deeply pleased by her honesty, her focused, beautiful writing (New-England formal, few contractions), confident language, pacing, and so on. I wanted to scribble particular quotes from the book, for example, about a doctor's treatment.."Abruptly he makes some final adjustments, takes off his radiology gown, and, without even looking at me, walks out. I lie there on the table, stunned, achy, bruised and raw. I know these bruises. I know this stunned moment after."...Wow. Powerful writing referencing earlier crimes against her by her father.

However, I found that by the last third I realized the world is _so about her_. (This is not a fair thing to say about a person who has given so much and helped so many, but I speak only of the book; in fact, one may need a great needy personality, one that fears being ordinary, as she writes, in order to accomplish the many, many good works that Ensler, in fact, has.) However, I found myself diligently working through the rest of the book, slightly distanced by the confessions, even her confessions quasi-apologizing for her good fortune, boundless friends and helpful family.

And, yes, ecstatic writing (near the end) does distance me. You stand outside, watch the wind, admire the dance.

Not having read Ensler before, I don't know if she's written about her mother--just so well-drawn, you know you've met this woman. Definitely a book by a brilliant, driven mind. Because Ensler's work is (to be quick) about women's suffering due to fundamental disrespect, l was surprised that in the acknowledgements the physicians are Dr. FirstName LastName and the nurses are Sara, Rhonda and Diane.

Profile Image for Paya.
288 reviews245 followers
November 3, 2020
Tak się cieszę, że książkę tę przeczytałam teraz, a nie kilka lat temu. Dawna "ja" pewnie nie mogłaby wytrzymać z charakterem autorki-narratorki, pewnie oceniałabym ją bardzo surowo, za jej donośne stwierdzenia, wszędobylską energię, nieposkromiony apetyt na życie, zbyt intymne szczegóły. Teraz, czytając tę książkę, porwała mnie niezwykła szczerość Ensler, jej pełne bólu i wściekłości wspomnienia, i jednocześnie jej chęć niesienia dobra. Kiedyś taka osobowość u kobiety dla mnie była niezrozumiała i wywoływała dyskomfort - teraz chcę czytać tylko takie książki. O kobietach, które nie dają za wygraną, które nie przepraszają, gdy nie ma za co przepraszać, które próbują raz za razem i jeszcze raz, które sprawdzają życie na różne sposoby, które wiedzą, że daleko zajdą i nie wstydzą się o tym mówić. Bardzo polecam Wam tę książkę.
Profile Image for Sara J. .
113 reviews367 followers
October 3, 2018
Es muy duro leer a Eve, pero este libro es una batalla contra el cáncer, la violación -contra ella y contra todas las mujeres. Es la memoria de una activista, es increíble ver cómo lleva su lucha hasta el límite.
Profile Image for Rama Rao.
735 reviews103 followers
August 29, 2017
Memory Monologues of Eve Ensler

This is a fascinating book in which author, Eve Ensler,7 narrates her life experience as an activist for women's rights. She speaks of atrocities committed against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the war-torn parts of former Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. Her experiences in working with less fortunate women and her inner thoughts have evolved into a beautiful and creative work of scholarship. She challenges us; who will join those who lived through the atrocities of war; who have lived in the deserts, forests, in the projects, and the cramped cities, and these brave women have carried the sacs of physical and emotional pains, some much scarred, and yet their work and sacrifices are not in vain as the world continues to roll into the future. She writes that the world burns in her veins just like chemotherapy at the Mayo clinic when she was being treated for her uterine cancer. She calls for action; to turn pain into power, victimhood to fire, self-hatred into action, self-obsession into service. Be transparent as wind and be relentless in being a part of the larger humanity that keeps evolving.

When Ms Ensler was young, she drank herself to the extreme, did drugs at 16, snuck-out with much older men, lived naked in communes, stole things, and wrote about suicide. She worked as a caretaker of in a Chelsea House of Schizophrenics, and as a group leader of a homeless shelter. Took acid for three days and made love to a famous Jazz musician. In college, she lived half-naked, lived as exhibitionist, experimented with both gay and straight sex without landing firmly in either court. She gave a commencement speech at the college and spoke against racism and sexism and sat down and drank from a bottle of Jack Daniels in a brown paper bag. Eve Ensler was an outrageous woman much of her life. Her theatrical work, "Vagina Monologues," was bold but also ruffled many conservatives.

This outstanding memoir begins with her body and the abuses she faced. She has focused much of her latter life on reclaiming her body and herself and leading others to do the same. When she was on her sickbed at the Mayo Clinic with terminal stage IV uterine cancer, Ensler recalls her life, the turmoil, and the men and women she befriended over the years, and the end of the of humanity she saw through the eyes of sufferings in Congo. It is during this tumultuous time of her life she looks back to understand that her cancer and the mankind's ruthless violence are in fact very similar. She successfully fights off the cancer surrounded by her friends, family and well-wishers. She goes back to Congo, a country she cared so much, to meet her old friends and acquaintances. She persuades the doctors at the Mayo clinic to offer their services to the needy people of Congo. This book is full of her thoughts and experiences; it is very touching.
Profile Image for Sophy H.
1,243 reviews61 followers
June 24, 2022
This was a very passionate, raw, unapologetic account of Eve Ensler's experience with cancer.

She pulls no punches here, literally spilling her guts on the truly visceral process of organ destroying operations, stomas, abscesses, infections, chemotherapy.

She also discusses the sexual and emotional abuse she suffered when she was younger, her subsequent self-destructive behaviour as a young woman, and then the experiences of thousands of women she has met and spoken to in the Democratic Republic of Congo who have suffered intolerable abuse to their bodies from angry, embittered, heinous men. Eve exposes the juxtaposition here between her modern first world treatment of her life-changing symptoms, and the Third World lack of treatment for those Congolese women who are left with horrific injuries and truly devastating side effects.

The book is fairly harrowing and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is triggered from reading. Nevertheless the writing is powerful and emotive.
Profile Image for Viji (Bookish endeavors).
470 reviews147 followers
October 8, 2014
The Himalayan hole..

This book is about the author's fight against her cancer and memories of her father's exploitation of her. Touching and nauseating at times,this book acts like a mirror held against the atrocities that are done against women throughout the world,and especially Congo. Few cases are explained in detail and those are enough to make you so shocked that you might not want to do anything for a while. Just imagine the case of Angelique who had to see

"the pregnant womb of her best friend sliced wide open by a soldier and a half-formed baby tumbling out,and then tossing the baby into a boiling pot,one of them with knife,jabbing at the boiling flesh,raising it from the pot and shoving it at the women,scorching their mouths."

Just try to imagine the plight of these women who were asked to eat the baby or die. Just imagine them trying to get the horrible taste out of their mouth even now.

"Shaking women,weeping women,women with missing limbs and reproductive organs,women with machete lashes across their faces and arms and legs,women limping on crutches,women carrying babies the color of their rapists,women who smelled like urine and feces because they had fistulas-holes between their vaginas and bladder and rectum-and now they were leaking,leaking."

All because of a hole.. And it's not the hole in the female body,it's the humanity-shaped hole in this world I'm talking about. The hole through which all the bad deeds seep into this world. Like the hole in the ozone layer,this hole is causing much damage to the world. And yet,we remain silent.

Passivity has its prices..

Like always,we wait. We wait for someone else to change the system. We never realize that it's us who make the system. That every single one of us count. It's not hatred,but indifference that matters. Most of us are indifferent to what's happening around us,as long as we are clothed and fed and has a place to lie our head on. It's these people that make the majority. As it is said in the book,

"Do not be afraid,no,death will not be our end. Indifference will be,disassociation will be,collateral damage,polar caps melting,endless hunger,mass rapes,grotesque wealth."

It is very similar to what Elie Wiesel said in his Nobel prize acceptance speech.

"“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tor- mented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are en- dangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”

Yes. We mustn't wait. Nobody is going to come to solve all these. We have to act.

About the book..

I do not think this book is much good in terms of literary merit. At most places it looks like diary entries of someone who doesn't remember what she was talking about the previous minute. But literary merit is not what this book is about. It's about the fight,the fight this woman had against her abusive father,against third-stage cancer,and against the system. And not many of us can make through what she had been through. So I guess,that in itself calls for a hats off.
Profile Image for Mandi.
551 reviews37 followers
March 26, 2013
This memoir was a stunning work of art. It is simultaneously brutally honest and beautifully eloquent. It should have been a short read, but I had to keep stopping to read and reread passages that stopped me in my tracks and made me think of the world in a completely different way. Eve Ensler is, without a doubt, a brave pioneer of a woman. She calls herself a "force of nature" in this memoir. Underneath that tough veneer is a vulnerable, emotional woman and she let that lesser known part of herself shine in this exquisite book.

As I mention quite a bit on this blog, I am a nurse. As I was reading this memoir my primary thought was that every medical professional should read this book. Ms. Ensler has a lot of very profound things to say about the way we treat our patients here in the United States. It is time to listen. Time to treat our patients for what they are- people, not diseases. Whether or not Ms. Ensler meant for her painfully honest account of her experiences to be a war call- I believe it is. May we all demand the care that is deserved by all of us- ourselves, our children, our parents and those who have no one to speak for them. Let us come together and demand better for the sick and ailing in this country and around the world.

Full review at:


5 reviews
July 10, 2013
There are a number of reasons why I might be predisposed against the book. At times, it can drift into the New Age loftiness of "Eat, Pray, Love." In that vein, it can also tend to the "white woman discovers herself in an exotic country as she makes use of the white privilege she criticizes." Also, for a memoir of a famous person, its scope is narrowly focused.

That said, the work is worth the read. Her writing is raw and, at times, self-deprecating. She successfully makes use of the metaphors of the body of the self and the body of the world. She examines the cancer that is destroying her body as the news reports on the cancer of war, injustice, and global warming that is destroying the body of the world. Rather than providing a history of her work and writing, "In the Body of the World" gives the reader a lens to look back on and better understand the Vagina Monologues.

Even though the book is short, it is dense. Beyond the heaviness of the topics chosen (cancer, rape, genocide), the language used tends to the poetic. This demands a slower, more meditative read than is usual for a memoir.

If you wish to know Eve Ensler through her struggles and self-doubts, this is the book to read.
993 reviews16 followers
April 6, 2023
This book stunned me. I knew that Eve Ensler (now known as V) was famous for writing The Vagina Monologues but when I heard of her association with Dr. Denis Mukwege and the City of Joy in the Congo, I decided to read this book about her stuggle/fight with cancer. Every physician in the book has noted that she overworked herself, did not pay attention to the pains and problems in her body and most of them probably thought she was going to die. At times, she thought she was going to die also. Family and friends helped her, fed her, bathed her and kept her alive. When I finished reading the book, I thought for certain that she had died. She did not, she rose stronger than ever in emotional ability to fight for women, especially abused women. This book digs down into the bold pain, the feeling that she was not going to live through this awful battle. Cancer first appeared in one place, then migrated to another place because she was so busy helping women in the world, she ignored all the signs of illness. Physically and emotionall abused since childhood, Ensler turned her mind, her words, her creation of plans and poetry to helping the world. This is not a book for everyone. It is a book for those seeking mercy, willing to accept help from others, willing to learn from others. I recommend this book to any woman who has been abused at the hands of a parent or a man. Be prepared to feel pain.
Profile Image for Sneh Pradhan.
414 reviews70 followers
June 3, 2014
If every woman in the world could but read even a single book by Eve Ensler , the world will become a phenomenally better place to live in .
The fact that people like her exist , is enough reason to maintain some essence of sanity in a world with lopsided foundations of generations of patriarchy and misogyny .
This book is a memoir, but not just a catharsis for Ensler's shocking and traumatic past , but one for any woman who reads it, as well . As women, we all have probably gone through the same crucial questions that she just simply asks here , we have silently repressed it , or been laughed at by others for posing such " crazy" questions .
The very questions, the exact repression , the existential ( female) alienation from the self that we women are conditioned to undergo .......... Ensler's words touch those raw places, those kingdoms of vulnerability and strength that reside within every woman .
The book won't leave you , and it just as well should never leave you alone ................. their truths hit unremittingly with well, shock waves .................
Ensler's sexual abuse at the hands of he who should have been her greatest protector , ....her mother's denial , ........a society's denial ( Ensler says " I remember raging at the mythology created by my family that he was an outstanding father and a loving man " ) , ........and her own denial to the pain and betrayal that raged inside her , that had silently formed a life of its own , that ultimately manifested in self-subsuming cancer ...........
............ the horrific effects of mass rape and violence that the women of Congo lived with ......
........the casual nonchalance of the medical fraternity and the indignity of being named just a "case" , not the petrified and numb human being who was witnessing her life slipping away from her ( I can relate to this coz i am a doctor and I admit i have made this mistake before) .
................. the politics of shame that is used to prevent women from talking about their own bodies ............The omnipresent, omniscient labelling of women as "Hysterical" !!! ( How can one not be affected ? What is the "non-hysterical" way ? Would removing my uterus "cure" me from being hysterical ?? )
....................Oh, you shouldn't think about death !! (Why shouldn't I even when it's the biggest thing that will happen to me ? )
............ And Still ,
The countless rape survivors who wanted to find a joyous life ....
Cindy , the Fart Facilitator .....
..... The African mother who refused to let her daughter undergo the ritual of genital mutilation .....
............The minute priceless stars which still light up a dark sky , not the least among them being Ensler !!!
Profile Image for Marina.
2 reviews3 followers
June 7, 2013
I was lucky enough to not just read this book but to see Eve Ensler do a book reading of select parts. The parts she selected I now hear in her voice, with the urgency and the love and the pain that she infused in them. One of my favorite passages in the book was one that once I read on paper, did not pop out the way it did when Eve read it. It was the story about Cindy, the woman who helped patients fart. When Eve said the line, "Cindy was a volunteer." I just about broke down. The absolute love and respect and appreciation and awe in Eve's heart for Cindy and women like Cindy was infectious. It was beautiful. Another passage that was similarly moving in person more so than on paper was her discussion on hysteria. I have had not only that feeling before but even expressed it in almost the same words. How are you NOT hysterical? "What would be the non-hysterical response to..." fill in the traumatic blank. I loved reading her raw emotions on paper. It was incredibly cathartic. Also,I loved her discussion of love and how she always yearned and reached for an all-surrendering love without really seeing the love that was already in her life. Basically her retirement of the partner-is-the-only-type-of-real-love myth. But I think my favorite part of this book was her discussion about fistulas. That mind/body/spirit connection and how it manifested in her was just so real and was also kind of a self-care guide. Don't absorb too much. Aside from "parts" of the book, I really appreciated this book because I learned a lot about Eve. In fact, it dawned on me that her fictional role in the L Word where she plays a book publisher and tells Jenny that she wrote her story (which was about self harm and sexual abuse) but couldn't publish it because there was no positive message was not fiction after all. Not really. I felt like I connected with Eve as we have similar struggles as youth and similar goals today. It helped me to see someone else's resilience but also their continuing struggles. It kept it real.
2,922 reviews28 followers
April 13, 2013
This was a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you so much for this wonderful gift.
Every woman needs to read this book and then pass it on to everyone she loves.
Eve Ensler is simply an amazing woman. Someone you would want to sit down to dinner with just to hear her ideas, but without opening your own mouth since you felt you had nothing of value to share.
I was reminded, over and over as I read this book, how insulated and sheltered my own life has been. I knew of all the conflicts and historical incidents, on a peripheral level, that she lived or participated in… the nuclear power plan disasters, the demonstrations against nuclear proliferation, the disaster in the Congo. So many of us read or hear about these things, but don’t become personally involved. Others she may introduce you to include the Center for Women War Victims in Zagreb, the pointlessness of the UN, and the City of Joy in the Congo which is not just a place but a belief system.
As she battles the cancer that has exploded throughout her body, she comes to grip with her past and begins to question her future. Word association or brainstorming ideas truly are useful tools! Through this process, the reader is forced to ponder her own role in the world.
Notable ideas and quotes:
• that being raised in America translates to each of use looking towards the future without allowing ourselves to simply enjoy the present
• that a drug to fight cancer, Taxol, is derived from the needles of the yew tree
• that an abusive father’s most unforgivable action is the way in which he was able to isolate each member of his family from the others
• that our tendency not to think or talk about death even though it is the biggest thing that will ever happen to us is part of our American culture
• that the City of Joy is a ‘metaphor for a new beginning, for building a new world.’
• that we all need to give up on ‘things’ and give instead to each other
Profile Image for Eddie.
182 reviews5 followers
December 6, 2013
A beautiful, gut-wrechingly honest book. I loved it. I wish more Eves existed in this world. I wish Eve was the majority of this greedy, self-serving, violent psychotic world we mostly turn a blind eye to and even accept as normal or just shrug and say, what can I do about it? Eve Ensler is a beautiful soul, it seems. The things she writes are so powerful and sometimes haunting and even gross, but goddammit, it's honest and not one bit robotic, like most people I know personally. Her intertwined personal story on struggling, and to this day, beating cancer and the ways of the world she lived and the world as she sees it was absolutely heart wrenching, but again, honest.

I don't know Eve, but through this no filler, no bullshit memoir, I feel that I do. I loved her eyes and the way her brain interprets the struggle of herself and the struggles of mother nature, and through those struggles, like the story of the Phoenix, rises from the ashes and pushes forward, giving anyone who reads this book hope that this toxic world can be done differently and maybe healed.

I'm not a believer in any God, but I can't tell you how much I wish for humanity to be given some grand fairwell so we can stop being the, mostly, parasitic predators of this world, of people of all things big and small. I really do. But I'm sure we will be our own demise before anything grand and theatrical, maybe even biblical occurs to us. But I can wish. But since I'm here still, I will enjoy the ride as best as I can, smile, struggle, love, scream and read as many books as possible.
Profile Image for Lorra.
196 reviews12 followers
May 29, 2013
This was a beautiful memoir, full of heartbreak and horror.

It made me swoon, cry, and it made me insanely furious. Mostly at the medical world. Yes, it saved Eve from her cancer, but as she heals she is eating burgers and pancakes and god knows what else - where is the true healing? The medical system is disgusting - reading about how they basically tore her body to shreds with surgery and chemo, without once mentioning how to actually care for her body, was infuriating, especially since this woman is a BEACON OF HOPE for others, a very important woman - yes she is alive, thank goodness, but the memoir is a testament to how HORRID the system is as well.

This book also decimated me with a couple of paragraphs about an incident in the Congo. Beware, if you are sensitive. Or if you are just a human being. You don't even need to be sensitive, because this particular section was gutting. Quite literally. To know that people are capable of this in the world, things I could not even have imagined...and I have heard and read and seen MANY horrible things...this was possibly the worst visual I've ever had, and all I read was the words on a page.

I recommend this book, and Eve's others, highly. Even for the faint of heart, I encourage you to be strong and read her words, even if you have to put down the book to cry and puke.
Profile Image for Magdelanye.
1,649 reviews202 followers
December 30, 2016
If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world, which then appears to be other than you or separate from you, rather than the living condition to which you belong.... Philip Shepherd , from preface

This book is like a cat scan, a roving examination capturing images, experiences, ideas, memories, all of which began in my body. p9

With fierce determination and joy, EE recounts the process of her healing journey.

We make stories to protect ourselves...these little myths and fairy tales keep us from the existential brink. p158

Written with honesty and respect, the drama is in the content not the prose. It is this simplicity that accentuates the courage of this remarkable woman.

...joy...requires abandon. It grows from gratitude and cannot exist where there is ...cynicism or distrust...You will touch this joy and you will suddenly know it is what you have been looking for your whole life but you were afraid to even acknowledge the absence because the hunger was so encompassing.P206

Profile Image for Franko.
49 reviews
September 9, 2020
Charged, emotional and touching.

I picked this book up off the street, not knowing what to expect. I found a powerful telling of life and death, of community, care and becoming.

Ensler pulls back the curtain on her battle with cancer with heartfelt rawness. While she navigates her own physical struggle, she draws parallels and recounts her experiences with women and victims ravaged by sexual violence in the Congo and around the world. She masterfully weaves through anecdotes from her relationships with an abusive father, reluctant mother and tribe of supportive friends.

Traces of the same 'hope' that Rebecca Solnit so adamantly puts forward, and the anger of the countless victims of senseless evil that leave anyone with a soul scratching for answers.

The 'City of Joy' is home to Congolese women who find strength in shared experience and community. It's celebrated throughout this book. Three of the ten principles governing her are (a) tell the truth, (b) stop waiting to be rescued and (c) give away what you want the most.

Highly recommended to anybody seeking their own second wind.

Profile Image for A Librería.
437 reviews88 followers
October 26, 2018
Sin duda De pronto, mi cuerpo es un libro duro y valiente, como su autora, que hace que nos enfrentemos con la brutalidad de la finitud y degradación de la carne en las mujeres, sujetos fuertemente violentados por el sistema patriarcal en distintas partes del mundo. A Ensler la conectó con los cuerpos de sus hermanas el conflicto del Congo; a nosotras puede que lo haya hecho la Guerra de Bosnia. Esta historia de superación y lucha infranqueable solo se entiende desde el cuerpo: el cuerpo de una mujer.

Crítica completa en: https://alibreria.com/2018/10/26/de-p...
Profile Image for JoAnna.
605 reviews8 followers
January 16, 2023
Three-line review: After the success of The Vagina Monologues, Ensler landed in the Congo, where she worked with sexually traumatized women, and then was diagnosed with aggressive cancer that spread throughout her body. This brutally honest and vulnerably raw memoir holds no punches as Ensler bares it all about self-loathing, pain, addiction, family friction, incest, privilege, and love. Ensler is a beautiful -- often lyrical -- writer, and listening to her read this audiobook was breath-taking at times.
Profile Image for Kaitlyn Red Wing.
126 reviews33 followers
April 22, 2017
This started off really strong but half way through I just couldn't get myself to keep reading. I'm not entirely sure where the narrative switched. But it just didn't end up being the book I thought it was going to be. Sadly, I'm disappointed.
Profile Image for Amanda.
2 reviews3 followers
July 2, 2017
I think this might be my favorite book I've ever read. Aside from the book being incredibly lyrical and well-written, the main message and endless honesty from Ensler inserted her passion into my own heart. This work is a must-read.
Profile Image for Lisa.
456 reviews6 followers
July 16, 2018
I almost have no words for a book this powerful. Although I have seen the vagina monologues a number of times, and even performed in it, I had never known what she has gone through. I’ve never known anyone who has made a difference the way she has. She is a true hero.
Profile Image for Terri Potoczna.
26 reviews
February 28, 2022
Ensler brilliantly draws a parallel between her own individual suffering and the collective suffering of the oppressed. She lets it all hang out. No details are spared. It's brilliant and may even offer comfort to people enduring similar ordeals.
Profile Image for Kevin Craig.
Author 26 books230 followers
February 9, 2023
I expected this to be a hard read, because of the subject matter. What I did not expect was how beautifully poetic it was.
Profile Image for Shannon.
19 reviews
December 21, 2018
I feel deeply grateful for Eve Ensler and her life affirming, life saving, truthfulness. This story is so necessary.
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