Contrary to what the title of this post suggests, this is not about thigh gaps or cellulite-free gams. (We’re barraged with body image messaging, both positive and negative, on a daily basis as is. I have no desire to add to the noise.)
Instead, this is an ode to the novel by Tom Robbins, which I ordered on a whim and ended up devouring at every free moment. True, I haven’t met a book I didn’t like (although it must be said that I’m particular about any additions to my little library)—but Skinny Legs and All was so different from my usual picks and still, I adored it. It was rich, smart, and entertaining from beginning to end.
Robbins’s dexterity with words is extraordinary. He’s playful yet sophisticated, adding humor to subjects like gender, femininity, and religion without being reductive. Instead, it adds value to the conversation—and combined with genius construction, the content becomes more relevant than ever. How chance that I would start this book the same day I stumbled upon the Guggenheim’s Hilma af Klint exhibit, weeks before International Women’s Day, in this political and social climate, in the midst of my own journey towards embracing femininity after a lifetime fighting it?
“…the mission of the artist in an overtechnological, over-masculinized society, was to call the red magic back to life…”
All I could think about was Klint and her dedication to the divine and the feminine, even as the outside world—patriarchal, Puritanical—refused to acknowledge the abstract. And O’Keeffe, with her lifetime exploration of the female and the sensual—through nature and self. Two real-life versions of Ellen Cherry, the protagonist, whose journey of self-discovery, told through the unmasking of seven veils, revealed the truth behind religion, humanity, nature, and beauty.
If you loved Women Who Run with the Wolves, read this. If you have a collection of Anaïs Nin’s diaries, indulge in this—skinny legs and all.
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