... uses the female anatomy as a vehicle to detail the way the author’s body has failed her, and society has objectified it, throughout the course of her life. Which might feel as retro as the title in the post-gender world we are supposedly living in, but as Copaken describes it, it is an effort to turn that old patriarchal framework on its head ... It’s a clever organizing principle. But to corral all the aspects of a life into anatomical categories can feel jolting, as Copaken veers among catastrophic ailments, the 'death spiral' of her marriage, freelance writing, an imploding media landscape, the inadequacies of health insurance, sexual harassment, Eastern wellness, her father’s death, Black Lives Matter protests and, eventually, Covid ... There is a gratuitousness throughout, though: with anecdotes serving only to highlight the presence of semi-famous friends and an entire chapter devoted to airing past grudges against those who have diminished, in sometimes sexist ways, Copaken’s past work ... after nearly 500 pages, a reader may be left wondering what this book is meant to be. Is it an exploration of the hardships of being a woman today, a take on the medical industry that doesn’t take women’s pain seriously, or is it an overindulgent effort to prove her worth? It is all of these things, but the latter undermines the former.
Throughout this often overly detailed, highly informative, photographically illustrated memoir, Copaken uses her misfortunes to comment on, among other issues, corporate policies that force working women/mothers out of jobs; income inequality; female sexual harassment; and the many complications of the American unemployment system. The result is a conceptually unique narrative from a talented author that is sometimes undercut by informational excess ... Overlong but sharp and funny and always extremely candid.
... often flimsy ... She writes heartfelt tributes to the people who mentored her and skillfully explores the roots of her own emotional undoing, exacerbated by medical bills and her father’s death in 2008. While funny and tender, the work’s tone is frustratingly inconsistent; Copaken can careen from being urgent at one moment to deeply indulgent the next, while some anecdotes hit with a thud ... The tangle of platitudes yields an amorphous, rushed-feeling narrative. Copaken takes a fresh approach to difficult topics, but the delivery is lacking.