The story that affected me most in Carmen Maria Machado’s collection, Her Body And Other Parties (2017), was “Inventory.” A woman takes inventory of her life by making an annotated list of all the men and women she’s had sex with. There’s a compelling story why she’s doing this, but I felt a bit manipulated as a reader following the arc of this story. Most of these stories are fueled by sex. In “The Husband Stitch,” a woman marries a man and promises him she will do anything for him…with one restriction. After two pages, I figured out what the conclusion would be. It’s a variation on the classic story, “The Green Ribbon” and Alvin Schwartz’s In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. None of the women in the eight stories in Her Body And Other Parties seem very happy with their decisions, sexual and otherwise. The only dud is “Especially Heinous” (subtitled “272 Views of Law & Order: SVU”) where Machado provides episode synopses (some are snarky) poking fun at cop TV shows. The “joke” goes on too long. Although Her Body And Other Parties has garnered good reviews, it’s getting a very lukewarm rating from me. GRADE: C
The husband stitch 3
Inventory 33
Mothers 45
Especially heinous 65
Real women have bodies 125
Eight bites 149
The resident 169
Difficult at parties 219

14 thoughts on “HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES By Carmen Maria Machado

    1. george Post author

      Bob, I wish I’d skipped HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES. I’m suffering from “Reader’s Remorse” after finishing this book.

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    I’m always looking for good new short story collections, but thanks for warning me off this one. I’m reading Kipling now, with the new Crippen & Landru collection (James Holding) on deck.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, since you inspired me to read a short story each day (going on 20 years!) I always have a collection or anthology on hand. I try just to read Good Stuff, but once in a while I get tricked by “Good Reviews” and end up reading books like HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES.


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