This Is Who I Am
Wow. There is no other word for this book but wow.
This is an incredibly powerful work of art that combines nude photos of women of all ages, ethnicity and body shape with short essays written by the woman posing, describing who they are and how they feel about their body. Each picture is uniquely crafted to be simple yet exquisitely beautiful by merely depicting women in a raw, honest way.
While the pictures may be what initially attract readers (it’s hard not to be intrigued by a book with a naked woman on the cover), it is the stories that truly make This Is Who I Am so moving. There is a story from an adopted woman who feels she has never fit in with her family because she looks different from them. There is the story of a breast cancer survivor grappling with the loss of one of her breasts. There is the story from a formerly anorexic woman who continues to struggle with body image issues into her 60’s. There are stories from women suffering from various non-visible diseases, such as fibromyalgia and cystic fibrosis. There are stories of love and acceptance as women discover the true beauty of their bodies through growing a baby, through the love of a spouse, or through the support of their culture. There is advice, there is shared angst, there is pain, and there is love.
I recommend this book to any woman who has ever felt unsatisfied by her body—in other words, every woman. Men can also gain a lot from reading this book, or even simply flipping through the pages and seeing what real naked females look like. There is nothing pornographic about this book. It is art, it is real, and it is beautiful.
Those who enjoy the stories in this book might also enjoy Unbuttoned: Women Open up About the Pleasures, Pains, and Politics of Breastfeeding. Like This Is Who I Am, this book is filled with short stories from women sharing their experiences—both comical and heart wrenching—with breastfeeding. The stories are more substantial than the page-long vignettes in This is Who I Am, but still short enough that they can be completed while waiting in line at carpool. If it’s the pictures from This Is Who I Am that you’re drawn to, try looking through The Bodies of Mothers: A Beautiful Body Project. This book is entirely naked photos of mothers of all ages, in uncensored, artistic poses. If you are drawn to this type of art, it's is a must see.