The Camera My Mother Gave Me takes us through Susanna Kaysen’s often comic, sometimes surreal encounters with all kinds of doctors—internists, gynecologists, “alternative health” experts—as well as with her boyfriend and her friends, when suddenly, inexplicably, “something went wrong” with her vagina.
The title comes from Luis Bu˝uel’s film Viridiana. Some peasants are at a banquet in a country mansion. They ask a maid to take a group snapshot, and she obliges, lifting up her skirt and using the “camera” that’s underneath.
Kaysen’s The Camera My Mother Gave Me observes what happens when sexual pleasure is replaced by pain. “When eros goes away,” she writes, “it’s as if I’m colorblind. The world is gray.” But is this a problem of body, or mind? And can clinicians tease out the difference between the two?
Spare, frank, and altogether original, The Camera My Mother Gave Me challenges us to think in new ways about the centrality and power of sexuality. It is an extraordinary investigation into the role sex plays in perception and our notions of ourselves—and into what happens when the erotic impulse meets the world of medicine
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This isn't a book you'll want to pull out on a crowded train, with clinical terms like clitoris and vulvologist, not to mention earthier ones like the F word, on virtually every page to attract the startled attention of the passenger in the next seat. Bluntly describing her yearlong effort to deal with a searing pain in her vagina, Susanna Kaysen doesn't stint on the details of what this malady did to her relationship with her boyfriend (nothing good), nor is she forgiving of the callousness and stupidity displayed by some of her doctors and various alternative health practitioners. Yet her appalling saga is compulsively readable, thanks to Kaysen's propulsive prose and sharp dialogue. She's particularly good at capturing the way people talk about their ailments over dinner and in the middle of other activities. Conversations with friends ramble from her medical problem to tiger maple furniture in an utterly convincing way, and one darkly funny scene shows a pal urging Kaysen to buy a coral necklace following a particularly horrid visit to the doctor because, "You have to get a nice thing after that appointment." Kaysen's laconic humor keeps the book from seeming self-pitying, though her terseness tends to muffle its emotional impact; she expresses her emotions without really conveying them to the reader in any depth. Nonetheless, the pared-down candor that made her portrait of mental illness so gripping in Girl, Interrupted also distinguishes this account of a decidedly physical affliction. --Wendy SmithFrom the Publisher:
"A vagina dialogue: pithy, funny, adventurous, sexy, and eye-opening. . . . Disguised as plain, brown memoir, [this is] a voluptuous exploration of sexuality, aging, the failures of modern medicine, attempts at self-knowledge, and the meaning of pain."- Kirkus
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Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0679443908 Ships promptly from Texas. Bookseller Inventory # HCI8652NGGG041217H0451
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0679443908 . Bookseller Inventory # HCI6333MXGG041917H0896P
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0679443908 Never Read-may have wear due to age, shelf life or handling-publishers mark-Good Copy- I ship FAST!. Bookseller Inventory # SKU01182
Book Description Knopf, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition; First Printing. New. DJ not price clipped ($21) no names, notes, or ANY markings. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 159 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 49554
Book Description Knopf, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First edition. 1st stated. 0679443908 New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 176 p. Audience: General/trade. Bookseller Inventory # 0002113
Book Description Knopf, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0679443908
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97806794439021.0
Book Description Knopf, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0679443908
Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Included. 1st Edition.... New York: Knopf . First edition. First printing. Hardbound. New/new. Very fine/very fine in all respects. A pristine unread copy. Comes with mylar dust jacket protector. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # jill499
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2001. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition (stated). FIRST PRINTING of the First Edition (stated). The frank memoirs of a woman experiencing tremendous vaginal pain and her long journey through a variety of medical internists, gynecologists, vulvologists, alternative health experts, her boyfriend and her other friends, the psychological issues related to sexuality that she came to understand, the impulses of eros itself, much more. Hardcover with dust jacket, 157pp. A very nice copy. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 00013138