RaveThe Womens Review of BooksShapland does so much more than define this relationship and retell the author’s life story; she questions the reasons for her intense reaction and articulates harmful shortcomings, not only in Carson McCullers’s biography, but literary history in general: a persistent refusal to tell queer women’s narratives, by downplaying or, worse, omitting desire and relationships between women. In this brilliant debut, Shapland brings the reader along on a quest through libraries and literature and writing communities, as she explores her understanding of Carson’s life as a queer narrative and, most significantly, as a literary, historic narrative in relation to her own queer identity ... Hints of a deeper understanding of Carson pull the reader forward, but it’s Shapland’s meditations on the experience of the research and the motivations of this desire that are most compelling ... In a book with blended, overlapping narratives, with research and personal essay and literary criticism all woven together in a layered text, this is a powerfully clear call to action. Hopefully it resounds.
Rachel Z. Arndt
RaveThe MagazineBeyond Measure is a compulsively readable collection that has measurement at its heart. Arndt’s attempts to control and hone her physical body serve as metaphor and manifestation of the neoliberal self under capitalism: the body as physical experience becomes the body—and person—as marketable product. What is most unnerving about the essays’ tightening focus on selfhood is their slow but inevitable realization that every time we go to the gym or take a pill or make a purchase at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, we are also making ourselves into a product—we are doing it to ourselves.