REVIEW: I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World by Eve Ensler [Villard]
By Bette Bentley
When I encounter "teenage girl" stories, whether in novel, play, or film form, I tend to change the channel. Participating in pop culture's clichéd teen experience is like recalling "simpler times." It is remembering a past we can never get back, because it never existed. I can't think of a time when my life was less defined--popularity was a murky concept, rules were rubber, and perfection was always just out of reach.
Leave it to Eve Ensler to get it right. Her new book, I Am an Emotional Creature, made me want to vomit from its emotional power. Ensler does not coddle the reader; instead she forces us to realize that teenage girls possess the largest untapped energy source in the world. Written in a similar format as her groundbreaking 1996 feminist theatrical work, The Vagina Monologues, Emotional Creature is a disjointed roller coaster of poems, fictional monologues, and scenes inspired by real girls around the world. Much like a quilt, the seams--the disparity between each piece--draw them closer together, even when the girls the stories describe live on opposite sides of the globe.
Ensler's world is a place where one high-school girl is tortured for her Ugg boots and another is mutilated for having a vagina, and she manages to tell both sides with equal degrees of honesty, courage, and heartache. Ultimately about all girls, this is a tale about dreams, nightmares, realities, boyfriends, fathers, body image, sports, friendship, popularity, mothers, piercings, and poetry. It's the God's honest truth, as my mother would say.