Easy Beauty

Avid Reader: S. & S. Apr. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781982151997. $28. MEMOIR
Cooper Jones (finalist for a 2020 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing) presents, with unflinching honesty, this memoir about living with disability. Cooper Jones was born with sacral agenesis, a rare congenital spine condition affecting her outward appearance and causing great physical pain. She describes struggling to fit into an American society that relegates people with disabilities to otherhood. She also confronts her own complicity in contributing to disability stereotypes—especially stark after she unexpectedly became a mother. Cooper Jones recalls, with humor and candor, the journeys and far-flung adventures on which she explored the world and her place in it—traveling from her home in Brooklyn to see Beyoncé perform in Milan, to attend a tennis tournament in California, and to visit the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. Cooper Jones’s travels take her, mentally and physically, far from where her memoir began—in a bar with her friends, engaging in a philosophical debate about whether her life is worth living. Readers will appreciate the book’s portrayal of self and of living with disability, and the author’s honest confrontation of beauty standards and motherhood.
VERDICT Cooper Jones’s book will encourage readers to view bodies (their own and others’) in a new, more graceful light. Recommended for most memoir collections.
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