Scarred: A Feminist Journey Through Pain

NYU. Apr. 2023. 232p. ISBN 9781479817092. pap. $27. WOMEN’S STUDIES
Building on Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score and utilizing an intersectional approach akin to adrienne maree brown’s seminal scholarship on how race and gender complicate the ways in which trauma is written on bodies, Saraswati (women, gender, and sexuality studies, Univ. of Hawai‘i–Manoa; Pain Generation: Social Media, Feminist Activism, and the Neoliberal Selfie) examines what it means to live with pain. Theoretically astute yet intensely readable, this book suggests that all of us carry pain—and that everyone also inherently possesses the ability to work with pain instead of fighting against it. The book emphasizes that pain is integral to people; it’s not an incidental feature of circumstances. Saraswati sometimes uses jargon best suited for scholars, and the book is written from a transnational feminist lens that, at times, may feel off-putting to some readers. Yet if they are willing to wade through the introductory framework, they’ll gain insightful observations about trauma, pain, and perception.
VERDICT An exceptional discussion of strategies for processing pain with and through the body.
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