Blackfishing the IUD is a full-throttle flamethrower meant to illuminate and dismantle the way gendered illness is discussed and treated RIGHT NOW!
Specifically, it's about the dangers of intrauterine devices (IUDs) and how the copper elements in the author's IUD triggered a crippling ongoing struggle with RA (rheumatoid arthritis). Interspersed with accounts from other people affected (from online discussion boards, which are numerous), this book is a wake-up call. But it's also a Caren Beilin book, which means it's a wildly stunning mix of references — from Etel Adnan and J. A. Baker to medical history and coffee enemas — and styles (Beilin's writing in all her books can swing from rage to humor quickly and unpredictably). A stunning book. Recommended By Kevin S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Women's Studies. Blackfishing the IUD is a daring and demanding memoir by author, Caren Beilin, about reproductive health and the IUD, gendered illness, medical gaslighting, and activism in the chronic illness community. Rhapsodic and unabashedly polemical, Beilin scrutinizes the literary, artistic, and medical history of Rheumatoid Arthritis, as she considers the copper IUD's role in triggering her sudden onset of chronic autoimmunity. As the title makes abundantly clear, the book is an argument that the copper IUD is sickening quite a lot of women — and that we listen first and foremost to women's testimony to begin to resolve it.
"Dissatisfied with the non-answers offered by medicine, Beilin seeks to understand the harm done by the IUD through philosophy, literature, and daily life. By writing the IUD through literature, philosophy, bookselling, and birdwatching, she identifies it as a problem that reaches far beyond 'women's health' into society at large." Amy Berkowitz
"'Beilin and others who know the risks of being heard and treated as women include us in their generous acts of rage, empathy, gratitude, and information. Reading and writing are witchwork, transforming the isolation of suffering into a tender and common ground. This book reminds us that our bodies are sites of language we can trust and love and offer in forms more radical than we know." Hilary Plum
"As I read I thought of alchemy, Beilin is an alchemist. She transmutes metal, in this case copper, into something that flames and sings and questions and fights. It's a supranatural work that quests after healing but also finds and makes sense in its paradoxes." Johanna Hedva
"Blackfishing the IUD is a necessary and searing polemic. Deftly shifting between literary history and emerging scientific research, Caren Beilin defiantly insists on the truth of her own experience — and demands that medicine take the anecdotal reports of women like her seriously." Maya Dusenbery
About the Author
Caren Beilin is the author of Blackfishing the IUD (Wolfman Books, 2019); Spain (Rescue Press, 2018); the novel, The University of Pennsylvania (Noemi Press, 2014), which in its various forms, has been the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, a finalist in Fence's Modern Prose Prize, and winner of Noemi Press's Book Award for Fiction; and a collection of short fictions, Americans, Guests, or Us (New Michigan Press, 2012). She is a reviews editor at Full Stop Magazine and teaches at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the Berkshires.