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A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain…

A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain (Sexual Cultures)

by Christina Crosby

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I whizzed through this book. The first sentence gives away the fact that the author is a 50 year old academic who has a catastrophic cycling accident resulting in a broken neck and paralysis. This story is her journey of her recovery, if you could call it that, to the point where she can function as well as is possible. The theme of the book is grief- for the life she has lost, and also grief for the loss of her family, whose deaths have left her with a complicated set of feelings and memories. It is also the story of her pain, which continues to this day and is described exquisitely. I can imagine some readers might have been frustrated with the tangents that the book takes into the past, or into the development of academic ideas, but I liked wandering along with the author's thought train.

So although it made forays into various academic areas such as feminism, gender, literature, sexuality, and even broached some epistemological and phenomenological issues, it treaded those particular boards relatively lightly and challenged me just enough theoretically. I was particularly interested in reading about her relationship: how it was, how it evolved, and how changed after the accident. ( )
1 vote LovingLit | Apr 24, 2017 |
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In the early evening on October 1, 2003, Christina Crosby was three miles into a seventeen mile bicycle ride, intent on reaching her goal of 1,000 miles for the riding season. She was a respected senior professor of English who had celebrated her fiftieth birthday a month before. As she crested a hill, she caught a branch in the spokes of her bicycle, which instantly pitched her to the pavement. Her chin took the full force of the blow, and her head snapped back. In that instant, she was paralyzed. In A Body, Undone, Crosby puts into words a broken body that seems beyond the reach of language and understanding. She writes about a body shot through with neurological pain, disoriented in time and space, incapacitated by paralysis and deadened sensation. To address this foreign body, she calls upon the readerly pleasures of narrative, critical feminist and queer thinking, and the concentrated language of lyric poetry. Working with these resources, she recalls her 1950s tomboy ways in small-town, rural Pennsylvania, and records growing into the 1970s through radical feminism and the affirmations of gay liberation. Deeply unsentimental, Crosby communicates in unflinching prose the experience of "diving into the wreck" of her body to acknowledge grief, and loss, but also to recognize the beauty, fragility, and dependencies of all human bodies. A memoir that is a meditation on disability, metaphor, gender, sex, and love, A Body, Undone is a compelling account of living on, as Crosby rebuilds her body and fashions a life through writing, memory, and desire.--Publisher website. Shortly after her 50th birthday in 2003, Crosby was in a bicycle accident that paralyzed her, and here shares her experience of living her new life.… (more)

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