Reckoning: Writing into Existence

Bloomsbury. Jan. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781635579048. $28. LIT
The pandemic “stopped time and expanded it” for author V, formerly Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues), and gave her the opportunity to trace her obsessions and curiosities into a book of reckoning. The result is a compassionate collection of 45 essays, sermons, speeches, and poems detailing the Tony Award-winning playwright and activist’s thoughts about everything from AIDS to access to abortion. The works are separated into themes, such as Mother Hunger, Femicide, and Grief, and surrounded by an introduction on lifesaving writing and an epilogue explaining V’s chosen name. As a five-year-old child named Eve, she was molested and abused by her father. Throughout this collection, V shows the impact of that pain on her relationships with her mother, who did not acknowledge the abuse until later, and her connections with women throughout the world who are victims of sexual terrorism, live in poverty, and are denied access to quality medical care. Political opinions are prevalent, especially related to the patriarchy in government and its impact on women.
VERDICT This is a fierce and empathetic look at the world and its many struggles.
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