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My Body Is a Book of Rules Paperback – August 12, 2014
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In a reliably honest, original and frank fashion, Washuta’s ruminations lift the veil of her chronic (and highly medicated) bouts of mental illness to reveal the confused, frenetic and often traumatic reality of living with overwhelming bouts of depression and mania.”
Although Washuta’s story is not an easy read, the fact that Washuta has been able to build a life for herself is a credit to her fierce strength. It’s one that parents, educators, mental health providers, and young women will find immensely valuable.”
Elissa Washuta is an extraordinarily original and gifted writer, and My Body Is a Book of Rules is an extraordinarily original and often brilliant book. Its formal innovations are in the service of a sustained and powerful investigation of body in relation to mind, and body in relation to culture.”
My Body Is a Book of Rules chronicles the Chutes and Ladders-style descent into the body and ascent out through the head that is our present coming-of-age myth. A sweet soul will spill out; they just do. We’re lucky that every now and then, someone as thoughtful as Elissa Washuta takes the time to record what this feels like.”
Kristin Hersh of the band Throwing Muses and author of the memoir Rat Girl
Bodies are us. And not. How do we figure out which is which? Elissa Washuta takes you on a fearless ride of sex, drugs, mood disorders, self-improvement, dieting, internet dating, ethnic identity, and why she isn’t Catholic anymore. My Body Is a Book of Rules is a funny, scary, unpredictable book; it reads like the inside of your own head.”
A genre-bending ode to the bi-polar brain, Washuta’s venomous, lyrical chapters link to form a memoir that’s daring, vulnerable, caustic, and raw. Reading this book, you find yourself in a staring contest with a writer who won’t look awaynot from her devastating betrayals of body and brain, nor the chronic search for a chemical cure. She explores the nuances of blood quantum, Cosmo, catechism, psychotherapy, promiscuity, fencing, and Law & Order SVU in a voice that embraces its self-deprecating, self-destructive, humorous, bedazzled contradictions.”
About the Author
Elissa Washuta, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, is the author of My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Weeklings, Filter Literary Journal, and Third Coast. She serves as adviser for the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington and nonfiction faculty for the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
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Top Customer Reviews
This memoir is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I am grateful to have met Washuta, and equally grateful that she dares to write such a beautiful book.
The book started in an AMAZING way...Washuta is gifted in painting us a dark picture of her college life consumed by alcohol, sex, and meds.
I had two problems with the book that were so major, it ruined the enjoyment of it for me. One: she had three central ideas that never weaved together, but should have (Native American Identity, her rape, and being bipolar). I felt like she was leading to this big conclusion with all three tied together, but she never got there. Something was missing and I was left wondering, "What the heck was the point of this memoir? Where was she going with it?" I only saw her wallowing in her problems and then in the last chapter she attempted to be optimistic, but it fell flat.
Two: oh boy, was she ever repetitive! Three times, I read about the same pills, the same reactions to said pills, and the same reactions health "professionals" gave to her "sad" stories. Tell me once. I got the point. Going along with her repetitiveness, I read the same story of her wallowing in self pity about her rape over and over in different formats! It was so bad I almost gave up, but she's so creative in her formatting I wanted to see if she would redeem herself. I'm glad I kept going because at p. 130 it finally started to get better as she dug deep into her bipolar struggles. The pages before that could have been summed up into two tiny chapters: "psychiatrists and meds in college" and "he raped me".
If you are willing to put in the work reading a torturous 130 pages before it gets semi-good, go for it. If not, move on.
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