You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
An intelligent and madly entertaining debut novel reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49,White Noise, and City of Glass that is at once a missing-person mystery, an exorcism of modern culture, and a wholly singular vision of contemporary womanhood from a terrifying and often funny voice of a new generation.
A woman known only by the letter A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality show called That’s My Partner! A eats (or doesn’t) the right things, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials—particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemical dessert—and models herself on a standard of beauty that only exists in such advertising. She fixates on the fifteen minutes of fame a news-celebrity named Michael has earned after buying up his local Wally Supermarket’s entire, and increasingly ample, supply of veal.
Meanwhile B is attempting to make herself a twin of A, who hungers for something to give meaning to her life, something aside from C’s pornography addiction, and becomes indoctrinated by a new religion spread throughout a web of corporate franchises, which moves her closer to the decoys that populate her television world, but no closer to her true nature.
Alexandra Kleeman has written for the New Yorker, Harper's, Paris Review, Zoetrope, Tin House, VOGUE, and n+1. She received her MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has received grants and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. She was the 2016 winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, and lives in New York.
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine 2.3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Not worth the time.
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
I’m not even sure how to explain what this book is about, but here goes… A woman referred to as “A” lives with her roommate “B” and dates her BF “C.” They eat random food, watch weird television, shop at creepy Wally’s stores where the workers won’t help you and the merchandise moves around daily. A family across the street from A’s and B’s apartment suddenly up and leaves, while wearing white sheets over their head, and Dad’s are disappearing only to later turn up disoriented. And that’s nothing compared to what’s happening on the inside of A’s apartment, as B slowly tries to become more and more like A, in a creepy-stalker kind of way. Am I selling this one to you yet?
Kleeman is an exceptional writer, and is able to construct the most disturbingly detailed descriptions of the most random, mundane things (like eating an orange, for example) and make it feel like a religious experience. The plot is twisty and I felt like I never quite knew what was happening, but was pleased as all get out to be along for the ride.
*But*… of course there’s a “but”… the ending was so lackluster in comparison. It’s almost like Kleeman didn’t know what to do, so she just stopped writing and called it a day. It left me feeling a bit ambivalent towards A, because I really thought she was going somewhere, or would end up some place different.
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