Book review: “My Moment” is best eaten in bites | Books


Havana Chapman-Edwards was the only child from her school to participate in the 2018 outing. Celia Bell chose the afterlife of her mother. Emily Cain found herself laughing after losing her election to Congress. Jean Braden learned to negotiate for herself when her husband died.

Although these women are unique to each other, they all chose to fight for themselves.

“My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves” features short essays ranging from a single sentence to a few pages, each accompanied by a black and white portrait of the author. The voices on “My Moment” span the gamut of age, race, gender, ability and privilege. Its immense diversity provides many opportunities for readers to connect with the situations and people found there.

Many of the answers follow a pattern – naturally, as they’re based on the same prompt – where the storyteller describes a time when they were somehow shot down, decided enough was enough and moved on from that moment, he recognized his personal value and defended himself. or others.

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Some answers, however, have little to do with the original question: “What was the time in your life when you realized you were ready to fight for yourself?”

The compilation kicks off with a single line from musician Chrissie Hynde. Later there is a free-form poem. It only takes a handful of these stories to see that it doesn’t matter what form the answers take. In fact, the eccentrics among them serve to accentuate the theme of the entire book: these women have had enough and will do what they believe is right, even if – especially if – it doesn’t fit the prescribed mold.

Variety aside, “My Moment” becomes tiresome and repetitive. After all, as the title suggests, there are over a hundred.

More monotonous sections would have benefited from a simple rearrangement of the stories. Other sections sounded strange and showed a lack of attention and care.

Although they have completely different messages, some essays have been loosely grouped by a perceived common theme. For example, four mismatched narratives about addiction, eating disorders, and healthy and unhealthy weight loss all blend together in a confusing confluence of transformed perceptions of body and beauty. Of themselves, the stories move. Together they are discordant.

Fortunately, the defects of the text are not shared by the images. “My Moment” contains absolutely breathtaking images. The photographers are the authors themselves, their mother, their sister, their partner or their best friend, and they capture all of their subjects. Each portrait is loaded with personality and serves as a fine complement to the short essay that accompanies it.

If you’re looking for challenging back-and-forth reading, this probably isn’t it. “My Moment” is a lovely coffee table book – something to pick up and go through one room at a time, skipping to a section of a woman you admire or flipping a page at random to see where it takes you. .

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