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The Camera My Mother Gave Meby Susanna Kaysen
Synopses & Reviews
The Camera My Mother Gave Me takes us through Susanna Kaysen's often comic, sometimes surreal encounters with all kinds of doctors — internists, gynecologists, alternative health experts — as well as with her boyfriend and her friends, when suddenly, inexplicably,something went wrong with her vagina. The title comes from Luis Buuel's film Viridiana. Some peasants are at a banquet in a country mansion. They ask a maid to take a group snapshot, and she obliges, lifting up her skirt and using the camera that's underneath. Kaysen's The Camera My Mother Gave Me observes what happens when sexual pleasure is replaced by pain. When eros goes away, she writes, it's as if I'm colorblind. The world is gray. But is this a problem of body, or mind? And can clinicians tease out the difference between the two? Spare, frank, and altogether original, The Camera My Mother Gave Me challenges us to think in new ways about the centrality and power of sexuality. It is an extraordinary investigation into the role sex plays in perception and our notions of ourselves — and into what happens when the erotic impulse meets the world of medicine. An engrossing examination of pain and the psychology and philosophy used to confront it. Kaysen's lack of conceit and straightforward prose keeps her story clean and absorbing. She] successfully avoids the self-pity that often seeps into contemporary memoirs. Eve Ensler... pulled a private part out from under the covers. Kaysen dives back in, taking readers with her for a closer look. Even those who still blush when they utter the V word will find themselves completely enveloped. SUSANNA BAIRD, BOSTON MAGAZINE A vagina dialogue: pithy, funny, adventurous, sexy, and eye-opening.... Disguised as plain, brown memoir, this is] a voluptuous exploration of sexuality, aging, the failures of modern medicine, attempts at self-knowledge, and the meaning of pain. KIRKUS REVIEW
The author relates her odyssey through the world of gynecological medicine in an attempt to diagnose a mysterious disorder, and addresses larger questions that arise when sexual pleasure is replaced by pain.
Kaysen's search for a diagnosis and cure for excruciating and incessant personal physical pain.
About the Author
Susanna Kaysen is the author of the novels Far Afield and Asa, As I Knew Him and the memoir Girl, Interrupted. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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