Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year by Kjerstin Gruys

There's a lot of books out there now written by people who have tried something out for a year. I thought about what I could try out for a year and then write a book about. What hasn't already been done? I came up with going to therapy for a year. Not just your once-a-week, 50-minute session, but the intensive 50-minute, five days a week psychoanalysis. That would be interesting, and tiring. Is anyone out there willing to fund this for me? Is there any psychoanalyst needing a patient for a year? I do have a lot of dreams that we could talk about! Leave a comment, and I'll get back to you.

Back to this book .This is yet another memoir about doing/not doing something for a year. In this case, Gruys didn't look at herself in a mirror or other reflective surfaces including the day of her wedding. She covered up the mirrors in her house, practiced avoiding her reflection, and came up with outfits and a beauty routine that she could do mirror less.

What made this book a bit different from other year long experiments/memoirs is that Gruys is also a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at UCLA so she has the academic research and education to intelligently and clearly discuss culture, media, and its influence on women and their body image. She combines her own experience with research to make for a pretty thoughtful and entertaining book.

While reading this book, I realized how often I look in the mirror at myself. Those little glances in the bathroom at work or just walking into my room to grab something really do add up! I started asking myself if I really had to look at myself before I washed my face, during the face washing, afterwards, AND after I dried my face. Hum!

I thought the book dragged a bit at the end, but overall, it was an eye-opening read. Gruys comes across as a smart, aware, and friendly woman, someone who would be neat to talk to over a cup of coffee.

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