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Easy Beauty: Book summary and reviews of Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones

Easy Beauty

A Memoir

by Chloé Cooper Jones

Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones X
Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones
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About this book

Book Summary

From Chloé Cooper Jones - Pulitzer Prize finalist, philosophy professor, Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant recipient - a groundbreaking memoir about disability, motherhood, and a journey to far-flung places in search of a new way of seeing and being seen.

"I am in a bar in Brooklyn, listening to two men, my friends, discuss whether my life is worth living."

So begins Chloé Cooper Jones's bold, revealing account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Jones learned early on to factor "pain calculations" into every plan, every situation. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis which affects both her stature and gait, her pain is physical. But there is also the pain of being judged and pitied for her appearance, of being dismissed as "less than." The way she has been seen—or not seen—has informed her lens on the world her entire life. She resisted this reality by excelling academically and retreating to "the neutral room in her mind" until it passed. But after unexpectedly becoming a mother (in violation of unspoken social taboos about the disabled body), something in her shifts, and Jones sets off on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she'd been denied, and denied herself.

From the bars and domestic spaces of her life in Brooklyn to sculpture gardens in Rome; from film festivals in Utah to a Beyoncé concert in Milan; from a tennis tournament in California to the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Jones weaves memory, observation, experience, and aesthetic philosophy to probe the myths underlying our standards of beauty and desirability, and interrogates her own complicity in upholding those myths.

With its emotional depth, its prodigious, spiky intelligence, its passion and humor, Easy Beauty is the rare memoir that has the power to make you see the world, and your place in it, with new eyes.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Jones, a 2020 Pulitzer Prize finalist for feature writing, takes aim at beauty standards in her dazzling debut. Born with a rare congenital condition that left her with a curved spine and 'mismatched hips'...she challenges society's rules of attraction with razor-sharp wit and intellect...This makes a brilliant case for the beauty of complexity." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Soul-stretching, breathtaking...A profound, impressive, and wiser-than-wise contemplation of the way Jones is viewed by others, her own collusion in those views, and whether any of this can be shifted...A game-changing gift to readers." - Booklist (starred review)

"Cooper Jones ruminates on and reckons with her disability as well as her identity as a whole...By turns revelatory, tedious, entertaining, and entirely human." - Kirkus Reviews

"Cooper Jones's book will encourage readers to view bodies (their own and others') in a new, more graceful light. Recommended for most memoir collections." - Library Journal

"[An] exquisite memoir. Here Pulitzer finalist Jones reflects on our standards of beauty from the perspective of a disabled woman whose rare congenital condition affects her stature and gait, and leaves her in constant pain. But it's ultimately motherhood that liberates her, and prompts her to reexamine the limitations she has accepted as givens." - O Magazine

"Cooper Jones challenges the unspoken social taboos about the disabled body, unpacking myths of beauty and our complicity in upholding those myths. Blending journalism, philosophy, and memoir, it's a book that everyone will be talking about this Spring." - Lit Hub

"Easy Beauty is bold, honest, and superbly well-written. Chloé Cooper Jones is ruthless in probing our weakest and darkest areas, and does so with grace, humor, and ultimately, with something one seldom finds: kindness and humanity." - André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name

"This book is utterly remarkable. I was spellbound by the style, the ideas, the vulnerability, the talent." - Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

This information about Easy Beauty was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Chloé Cooper Jones is a philosophy professor and freelance journalist who was a finalist for a 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. Her work has appeared in publications including GQ, The Verge, VICE, Bookforum, New York magazine, and The Believer, and has been selected for both The Best American Travel Writing and The Best American Sports Writing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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