The Vagina Monologues Hardcover – Dec 26 2007
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"I say vagina because I want people to respond," says playwright Eve Ensler, creator of the hilarious, disturbing soliloquies in The Vagina Monologues, a book based on her one-woman play. And respond they do--with horror, anger, censure, and sparks of wonder and pleasure. Ensler is on a fervent mission to elevate and celebrate this much mumbled-about body part. She asked hundreds of women of all ages a series of questions about their vaginas (What do you call it? How would you dress it?) that prompt some wondrous answers. Standouts among the euphemisms are tamale, split knish, choochi snorcher, Gladys Siegelman--Gladys Siegelman?--and, of course, that old standby "down there." "Down there?" asks a composite character springing from several older women. "I haven't been down there since 1953. No, it had nothing to do with [American president] Eisenhower." Two of the most powerful pieces include a jagged poem stitched together from the memories of a Bosnian woman raped by soldiers and an American woman sexually abused as a child who reclaims her vagina as a place of wild joy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ensler's powerful, funny, incisive, insightful meditation on one of the most proscribed, vilified, taboo-tainted, shame-shrouded bodily organs in our phallocratic culture is based on personal reminiscences and on interviews with dozens of women of various religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Its topics include the many attitudes women have about their vaginas, ranging from fear to fascination, and the ways those attitudes reflect and influence attitudes about sexuality, health, body image, and even spirituality. Even in the wrong hands--say, of a dry academician--Ensler's material would be enlightening. Fortunately, Ensler is first and foremost a storyteller and has fashioned her material into a highly readable script in which interviews are distilled to pithy brevity or reformatted as emotionally charged prose poems. Reading it, it is not hard to see why the off-Broadway one-woman show Ensler also crafted from its material met with critical and popular success and won Ensler a coveted Obie award. Jack Helbig --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
How anyone could say such horrible things about Eve and the monologues is beyond me! #1, Eve didn't "write" the 'logues, she compiled the "stories" from interviews with hundreds of women. #2, the inception of the plays and the book were to increase awareness of vioence against women and raise money to support organizations to ensure safety to these women. #3, the story of the "pedifile" was not told by the 24-year-old, but rather the 13-year-old. #4, the only "gross" piece was the one about rape BECAUSE IT WAS ABOUT A WOMAN WHO WAS RAPED.
The most meaningful monologue of me had to do with Bosnia women and the issue of rape. I also like the monologue of the young mother (her daughter in law) giving birth. And the Bob monologue. But I agree 100% with tammyl84 about the monologue about the thirteen year old girl and the adult 24 year old woman who have sex. If this had been a male 24 yr old we would hear (rightly so) demands to prosecute and punish.
And yet, the author in her HBO production went out of her way to speak of and to women who had been sexually abused, raped and taken advantage of by adult men, and that wasn't Ok, yet an adult woman taking sexual advantage of a child was? I wish that monologue had not been included.
I couldn't put the VM down: There were several outstanding monologues in it, including a collection of women's stories about getting their period for the first time, and one with a grandmother who shyed away from her vagina most of her life. I also enjoyed reading Ensler's commentary on the pieces. To be sure, the book made me more conscious of my feminist side and I felt a sheer sense of pride in being a woman after reading it. However, the content wasn't top-notch. There were surprisingly few segments and not each of them was great. I thought Ensler definitely could have expanded on the pieces themselves and done a lot more with her subject matter.
If one wants to judge the book by its actual writing and content, I wouldn't recommend it in particular. But I think that Ensler's real goal was to get women to understand about their femininity, their sexual sides, and, above all, their vaginas. And if that was what Ensler was aiming to accomplish, I would readily say that she achieved it in me and many others.
(I would love to see it performed live, too, whether by Ensler or others.)
The first problem that I had with this book is that it simply doesn't work well as a book. I didn't laugh. I didn't cry. I didn't anything. The monologues are written as performance pieces and simply don't stand up without the performance. It isn't their fault, just the nature of the thing. As a sidenote; I was able to see the monologues sometime late, which really brought home the point to me - it needs women to make it come alive.
The second problem that I had with The Vagina Monologues was that I felt it missed the mark. As with so much feminist literature it mixes up freeing women/relieving oppression with a sort of 'no holds barred' abandonment of any type of morality. As a result, I have very mixed feelings about the monologues. I feel some are very important and need to be heard by more people (such as the monologue which illustrates why rape as a tactic of systematic warfare is a very bad idea). That monologue (for me) speaks to the idea of acknowledging women's suffering and seeking to do something to stop it. On the other hand, I felt that some of the monologues were in very bad taste that borders on criminal. I'm thinking specifically of a monologue which details how a grown woman makes love (I call it molests) a thirteen year old girl. I'm sorry if I seem too conservative for the times, but I don't see how it is liberating to women to be commiting pedophelia upon them.
Which brings me to another point about The Vagina Monologues. The author's message of freeing women from the bonds of oppression gets all mixed up with a 'lesbians are good' message.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues are masterful and include so many disparate voices talking about issues that don't get enough focus otherwise. Read morePublished 17 months ago by AliKira
Vaginas are not often talked about, which is quite sad, given the high in vaginoplasty surgeries. Women in the book (play) explain how they were warned to leave their "down... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Book Cupid
I have both read and seen The Vagina Monologues in person. I have to say that reading it was so much more powerful. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2010 by Michelle Brew
This is a cry from women to find their spiritual, sexual, and beautiful power that is within them. There are stories that will make you laugh, stories that will make you think,... Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by Elizabeth
Words and thoughts once taboo are now mainstream due in large part to "The Vagina Monologues," a funny, moving exploration of women's thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears by the... Read morePublished on June 13 2004 by Gail Cooke
Words and thoughts once taboo are now mainstream due in large part to "The Vagina Monologues," a funny, moving exploration of women's thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears by... Read morePublished on June 13 2004 by Gail Cooke
Eve's courage and strength shine through the stores of women she interviewed about their bodies, their thoughts and their lives. Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by Kerry A. Walsh
A neurotic female that is obviously obsessed with stimulating herself in a public venue while shouting obscenities. Read morePublished on June 9 2004
The Vagina Monologues explores female sexuality and strength through a series of stories that are at times funny, sad, graphic or horrifying. Read morePublished on May 28 2004 by A. Vegan
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