Copaken's irreverent inventory of both the female body and the body politic of womanhood in America, the story of one woman brought to her knees by the one-two-twelve punch of divorce, solo motherhood, healthcare Frogger, unaffordable childcare, shady landlords, her father’s death, college tuitions, sexual harassment, corporate indifference, ageism, sexism, and plain old bad luck.
... 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.