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You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
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You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  4,339 ratings  ·  700 reviews
A woman known only as A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality dating show called That's My Partner! A eats mostly popsicles and oranges, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials— particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemic ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Harper (first published July 14th 2015)
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Erin Not scary in the least. Perhaps a bit bleak and existential, but in no way "scary" in the traditional sense of the word. Also: very much recommended!

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Average rating 3.24  · 
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 ·  4,339 ratings  ·  700 reviews

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Aug 11, 2015 added it
Abandoned at page 46. My patience for these self-fellating, aggressively pointless, over-workshopped, look-I-have-an-MFA exercises in pretentious tedium was always pretty low, but I don't know man. I just can't stomach these books anymore. Ever since I choked down that Valeria Luiselli horrorshow and learned that it's not just Brooklyn white bros who pinch these things off, I think that was it for me. I mean while reading this I literally had the thought for a second that I would rather be readi ...more
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine begins as a chronicle of the smallness and aimlessness of everyday life, something that might seem very recognisable to many of us. Remaining unnamed for the entire story, our narrator worries about her creepy roommate, B, and the empty relationship she has with her boyfriend, C. She watches TV advertisements. She goes to work, part-time, at a local office, where she sits in a cubicle designated for freelancers and proofreads copy for obscure magazines with titl ...more
Sep 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
You too can save yourself from wasting your time on this book.

I downloaded this book because I read a review that said the book was so good the reviewer "wanted to hit herself in the head with it," and that she "clung to it like a spider monkey." Well, it turns out, I wanted to hit myself in the head with it, too, but for the opposite reason.

I give the book points for trying to be original in format and idea, but it was so damn boring. "A" lives in an unnamed American city, has a roommate, "B"wh
Think of Alexandra Kleeman as an heir to Dave Eggers and Douglas Coupland, with a hefty dollop of Margaret Atwood thrown in. Her first novel is a full-on postmodern satire bursting with biting commentary on consumerism and conformity. Television and shopping are the twin symbolic pillars of a book about the commodification of the body. In a culture of self-alienation where we buy things we don’t need, have no idea where food comes from and desperately keep up the façade of normalcy, Kleeman’s is ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book feels very late '90s/early '00s in its style and its targets. Consumerism, body image, TV and TV commercials, reality shows, cults, corporate mascots, processed food...

It feels less like Thomas Pynchon and more like Donnie Darko or Being John Malkovich: that very particular brand of turn-of-the-millennium anxiety about the discrepancy between media images and our actual selves, and trying to figure out what exactly comprises our actual selves / actual bodies.

The characters have no spar
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
3 stars

Oh, this book. I think it will forever render me tongue-tied, but I'm unlikely to forget it anytime soon. I'm in awe of Alexandra Kleeman's brain for conceiving something so bat-shit insane as You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine. I'm also irritated that she fished me in twice to read it, with my gleaning no particular insight the second time around. I loved and despised her nameless narrator (presumably named A. only because the other two principal characters are B. and C.) with equal ferv
Emer (A Little Haze)
I have no idea what I just read!!! I only know I liked it. Kinda!!!
Imagine a mash up of weird-assed cults, creepy doppelgänger-esque roommates, sugary-sweet cake fetishes, consumerism to the extreme, incredibly unhealthy relationships with food & eating, and perfunctory romantic relationships with a dash of shark porn and it still doesn't describe this book.

The main three characters in this book are a nameless narrator (A) that tells us her story and two other characters called B and C.
B is the
David Katzman
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having read two books in a row that were surrealist by female authors, I’ve decided to write a combined review comparing my reactions to them. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman and The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips. I will refer to them henceforth as YTCHABLM and TBB.

When I began YTCHABLM, I thought it was going to be a contemporary version of Generation X by Douglas Coupland, and it initially threw me off as it evolved unexpectedly from real to surreal, but once
This book still has me in a bit of a tailspin. For nearly two thirds of it, all I could think was that this is the definitive novel of 21st century U.S., hyperconsumerist, overmediated body dysmorphia that we've been needing, or at least that I've been needing.

For those of you who recall The Day After, the Nuclear War Threat Made Real telemovie that greatly traumatized surely many youths aside from myself - this novel was like that, only instead of fallout and mushroom clouds and cancer and bunk
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
A difficult book to rate as although I think the themes and messages within this book are incredibly interesting (body and self-image mainly, but also commentary on contemporary consumerism), I just didn't enjoy reading this dystopian and oh so very peculiar book. I read a LOT on these subject areas with my degree, and wrote my dissertation on body image...but still this just didn't do it for me. Not a bad book, at all - in fact very clever, very observational - but too slow, too repetitive (but ...more
Nate D
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nate D by: Rachel Khosrowshahi
Ennui. Consumption. Dystopian present. Late Capitalism. Duplication. A sense of dissolving identity.

Like a Ballard protagonist, the narrator here is telling her story out of the depths of the malaise being assessed. She's already entirely compromised by it. This adds to the affective, subjective feel of it, but simultaneously blocks the kind of identification with the character that might make it possible to get truly caught up in her story. Still, theres a scene-by-scene clarity of word and im
Kevin Fanning
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I finished this book a few weeks ago but mentally I am still unable to put it down. Definitely the most singular, weird, fascinating, brilliant, and *new* book I've read this year.

When I try to describe what it's about I also struggle. It's about bodies and food and self-image. It's about marketing, and belonging. It's about the feeling that you are disappearing from your life, but also about the feeling that your life is disappearing around you. It's about wanting things. It's about wanting so
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one is tough to explain.

The main character is simply known as A. She has a roommate, B, who seems determined to become A's double, even cutting off her long braid and then handing it to A to keep. A tells us B has food issues, yet we rarely see A eat a bite. A is dating C. She likes him because he feels simple.

The world they live in is similar to ours but also more extreme. Consumerism is even more rampant in their land than ours. In their world, one of the most popular tv shows tests a c
DNF at p182. I just...can't read this anymore. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Oh my God. This novel so pleasantly intrudes on everything I've ever hoped to write and puts the narrative flesh on the skins of the vignettes I have written. If you enjoy the alternate universe of Atwood's Maddadam trilogy (religious cult re: food and fake food and beauty products) and/or just want to see a novel tackle body dysmorphia in a way that's not grossly chick lit -- in a way that's expressly and uniquely literary -- just read this book.

Kleeman paints a here-and-now that's only slightl
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a book all about body image. Even where it's not -- where it is about consumerism, cults, bad tv, twins -- it all boils down to body image. How do we percieve ourselves, how do others see us, how do we think others see us. And, through that, it's terrifying, essentially a psychological thriller... about body image.

I'm lucky to have never had anything beyond typical body concerns -- I don't love my body, but I'm pretty sure I'll still have that Dr. Pepper tomorrow -- but the book is writ
Sep 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
I hated this book with the fiery passion of 10,000 suns. I seriously considered putting it down after 200 pages, but got bored and slugged through to the end. I just want to throw this book across the room and scream, "stand up for yourself!" And "everyone you know is the worst person in the world!" And take an eraser to my brain to get this "clever little work of satire" out of there.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
It wasn't funny and I didn't get it. What is wrong with book reviewers these days, that they think the stupidest dreck is funny and/or satirical? I couldn't wait for this book to be a ghost.
Mary K
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it
A campy text exploring how the non-transformative mundane can become the basis of a cruel optimism a la Berlant: how notions are humored that we (a very gendered we) can be satisfied with so little. I've seen some reviews that reductively claim that this book is about body image or diet culture, as if satisfaction is only a matter of the most literal definition of appetite. This fails to acknowledge the vaster interpersonal, performative, or desire-producing implications made by the concept of m ...more
Vincent Scarpa
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A deeply strange novel that, by the end, totally disassembled me. You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine is a hilarious, dark, and indignant vivisection of consumerism, of capitalism, of branding, of the synthetic replications that have come to define our world and ourselves, while also asking profoundly important questions, both existential and ontological, about the way we relate to one another, about the slipperiness of our identities we like to think of as fixed. A debut to beat the band. Can't w ...more
Rae Meadows
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alexandra Kleeman is an impressive talent. Her postmodern, semi-surrealist debut is as sharp as a razor. The protagonist loses her sense of self (literally and figuratively) in a consumerist candyland, her body evaporating by the page, as she becomes a detached observer of her own life. Kleeman's book is full of smart, piquant observations about self, projection, and culture. Can't wait to see what she writes next.
Jun 05, 2016 added it
Skimmed a lot of this -- the writing was often gorgeous with mordant bite; ideas feel a lil dated, like 80s Don Delillo translated into 2000s heterocisfeminism. I probably would have LOVED this ten/twelve years ago when I was a heterocisfeminist and wannabe femme (HA); but the ideas and complaints are not terribly compelling to me now, though I appreciate Kleeman's execution.
Not too sure about this one!

I'd say it's good for people that like more challenging pieces revolving around idea rather than story. The first 2/3s is more focused on gathering your bearings and A's slow descent into a different person, and then the last third picked up a lot for me as more things start to happen. Some things I liked:

- the relationship between A and B. At one point, A is asked, "Tell me, is there someone in your life who's been sharing your life too closely?", which essentially
Natalie Draper
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you're like me you've also been hoping Miranda July and Amelia gray would get together and collaborate on a remake of single white female. Except this version has Don DeLillo editing the script into the story of a woman having an existential crisis in a "Wally" an invasive species of chain megastore clearly designed by Ayn Rand. Shoppers are warned "weakness thrives on help". Her roommate has gradually become more her than her, absorbing her boyfriend in the process. She ventures to Wally to ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
There have been some wonderfully satirical books from American writers this year and this is another great one. Kleeman explores consumerism and consumption in an exciting and fresh way. To be honest I'm surprised this book was published and it gives me renewed faith in the American publishing industry. It's so unlike anything else and so strange and wonderful. The descriptions of TV ads is glorious.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book is... weird. So weird I don't know what to make of it. It's like when you have a dream and try to put it into words to tell someone and it just doesn't make any sense. Either this book is a case of the emperor having no clothes, or it's genius but completely above my head. I actually didn't find it a chore to read, but I didn't get any kind of story arc or understanding of what was going on in the characters' minds. I am so baffled right now.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Kleeman has tons of potential. Tons. She'll figure it out 3/5
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelves
fun and unsettling! exactly what i needed
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Weird Psychological Thriller about the Body and Consumerism

For those unfamiliar with great writing about science and nature from the likes of Diane Ackerman, Jared Diamond, Stephen Jay Gould, David Quammen, and E. O. Wilson, Alexandra Kleeman’s “”You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine”, will be a revelation, and more than a few have noted elsewhere how she writes about the human body like no other, in her compellingly readable debut novel. While there is much to admire in Kleeman’s descriptions of
Stacey D.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I must admit the title lured me in, as I thought the book was going to be a funny take on dieting.

Instead, this insightful novel offered a frightening sci-fi glimpse into a dystopia brought on by our rampant consumerist culture, with disappearing "ghost" people and 100% chemically addicting treats called Kandy Kakes. Wally is the krazy megamarket where the narrator and her roommate B and boyfriend, C, shop. There you'll find Wally's wicked product placement system: shelve the most desired, soug
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The Literati: You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman 6 15 Aug 14, 2017 10:58AM  

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