From Publishers Weekly
Sculptor and Vagina Monologues
producer Shalit asked a group of celebrities and writers to recall a significant memory of growing up female. The result is an uneven collection of 67 short pieces, with unfocused or perfunctory contributions by such notables as J.K. Rowling, Kate Winslet, Vanessa Williams, Brooke Shields and Janis Ian. A few of the pieces, such as those by Patti LaBelle, Rue McClanahan and Lily Tomlin are frustratingly short. Longer and more literary pieces by Joyce Carol Oates, Kitty Carlisle Hart and Tawni O'Dell stand out as moving, thought provoking and completely to the point. Oates writes about her disturbing experiences as a sexually naïve undergraduate in the late 1950s trying to navigate the chaotic rituals of a fraternity party at which her drunken female peers were taking sexual risks. In an affectionately comic piece, actress Hart, born into a comfortable New Orleans family in 1910, describes how she suffered and evolved under a domineering but loving mother, while O'Dell paints a stark picture of herself as a tough, sensitive 10-year-old in the 1970s coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, coming to grips with the critical difference in girls' and boys' natures. (Apr. 18)
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About the Author
is the daughter of Gene Shalit and was the producer for The Vagina Monologues,
which became a global phenomenon. She is also the co-founder and first Executive Direct of V-Day, the worldwide movement to end violence against women that grew out of the play. It was named one of Fortune's 100 Best American Charities of 2002. Shalit is also an internationally recognized sculptor and is the founder of The Touch Foundation, creating the Please Touch! Exhibition, which allowed the sight-impaired for the first time to "see" people of all races as well as famous people whose face they had only imagined. Shalit is the subject of the Emmy-winning PBS documentary Willa: Behind the Mask,
and author of the book Lifecast: Behind the Mask.