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Brown constellates the subjects that define her inside and out: a disabled and conspicuous body, a religious conversion, a missing twin, a life in poetry. As she does, she depicts vividly for us not only her own life but a striking array of sites and topics, among them Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the world’s oldest anatomical theater, Eugenics, and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Throughout, Brown offers us the gift of her exquisite sentences, woven together in consideration, always, of what it means to be human: flawed, potent, feeling.
These remarkable essays invite us to look long and hard at our own interior landscapes, and to negotiate exterior ones with as much grace and gratitude as we can muster.
Molly McCully Brown is a barometer, reading the weather of her own body. Her writing is sensitive, intelligent, and above all, clear-eyed and curious about her own experience as a writer, a traveler, and a disabled person. This is an important and beautiful rethinking of how bodies move through the world.
I want to press this book into the hands of everyone I know. Writing from the locus of her own constantly changing, often intractable body, Molly McCully Brown captures the fullness of the human experience -- desire, loss, flesh, faith, poetry, place, memory -- with lyric compression and expansive grace. Reading these exquisite essays made me want to get out and do something with my own body -- kneel at an altar and recite the Hail Mary, stub out a cigarette in Bologna, stand on a hilltop and shout expletives at the Trump administration. Which is to say, these are urgent, compelling essays that remind us how to be fully alive inside our own bodies, wherever we take them.
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