Cover Image: Ladyparts

Ladyparts

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Member Reviews

This book was gripping. I was sucked in and could not put it down! The concept was so unique, I loved this book.
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What a rollercoaster!  If you are a woman you are likely to find yourself nodding along as you read about the trials and tribulations that Copaken details in Ladyparts.  From divorce to childcare woes and sexual harassment, she runs the gamut of the female experience that will have you horrified one minute and laughing the next.  If you are a man, check out this book and maybe you can get a glimpse into what life is like when you are the "fairer sex".

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is very surprising. Copaken details her entry into single motherhood and the battles she (and her body) have waged. She takes on subjects like the healthcare system and availability of daycare. 
Her writing is quick, with just the right amount of detail. The book is also a little exhausting, just do to the fact that she seems to have a high level of drama in her life.

discussed on Episode 136 of the Book Cougars podcast.
https://www.bookcougars.com
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Be warned: Along with all the ladyparts described in this book, you need a very strong stomach to get through it. Gallons of blood both monthly and in one frightening  night are described in the first few pages. This is in the service of the author’s point that women are ill-served by the medical community and society in general and are expected to bear pain and tragedy far greater than what men are allotted. Five years ago her statistics might have shocked and surprised her readers, but today, not so much. I am left with the feeling she had to up the grossness factor to keep her audience engaged. 
Perhaps I didn’t give her a fair chance, but frankly anyone who tells her doctor  for 16 years that her menstrual symptoms are nothing she can’t handle, while she is gushing blood 15 days out of every month, bears some of the blame for the situation she finds herself in. I don’t know if she has a chapter on her posterior, but I stopped reading when the primary emotion II found myself with was giving her a swift kick in hers.
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Thank you to Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Deborah Copaken’s memoir, Ladyparts, in exchange for an honest review.

Writer and photojournalist Deborah Copaken’s Ladyparts, begins over a decade after her first memoir, Shutterbabe, which detailed her early career as a war photographer in Afghanistan. In Ladyparts, Copaken chronicles her separation from her husband, Paul Kogan, and the subsequent stress, health, and financial issues that followed.

I can’t remember the last time that I read a memoir that made me feel every single emotion. All of the feels. Mostly, I felt anxiety and rage towards Copaken’s struggles. To be clear, Copaken is not seeking pity, but Ladyparts serves to shed a light on the inequalities in our society, especially those that women face. 

When she sought divorce from her husband, she was left with the bills and childcare, while he restarted his life in California. This situation, along with job loss and health problems, such as a cancer diagnosis, caused extreme instability in Copaken’s life. She saw her savings dwindle to the point where she had to put off having critical surgeries or even reconsider taking not just an ambulance, but a cab, to the hospital during a health emergency. Copaken offers many statistics that show not only a severely flawed US health system, but specifically where the health system fails women. It made my blood boil.

She gives startling examples of how women’s health is simply not given research funds, and how many gynecologist are not trained to help post menopausal women. It’s terrifying and makes me livid. I have a family history of gynecological cancers in my family, and now I am the same age as both my mom and aunt when they had endometrial cancer. I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt very triggered and anxious when reading these sections of Ladyparts, especially as I’ve also been in Copaken’s position of not having health insurance. It’s terrifying and I don’t take it for granted now that I have it. 

Copaken is so brave and honest. She gives a raw account of her medical situation, including a very graphic retelling of massive blood clots that expelled from her body after a complication from surgery. A complication that she was never briefed could happen, therefore making it even more serious and scary. At one point, she is explaining this at a dinner party and a friend cautions her to keep the details private, as it is not proper. Copaken refuses to be silent or tone down her story.  I want to commend and thank her for sharing the details. It is important for women to be heard, especially in situations like these, where her story could help save lives. 

My anxiety peaked when Copaken detailed her various problems at different companies. It was a reminder that freelancing (which I’m currently doing) is uncertain, and that the changes in technology and work culture have devalued the contributions of writers. Also, the idea that being middle-aged can be viewed as a liability or another reason to be devalued, made me feel ill. I worked for the same company for nearly fifteen years and it took me a long time to realize that there is little loyalty and no such thing as job security. I was raised by a mom who essentially worked for the same company her entire career and preached the gospel of finding a place and staying loyal, but that is simply not the way the world works now and Copaken’s experiences highlight this new way of doing things. 

The #Metoo movement looms large in the last chapters of Ladyparts, as Copaken’s private life goes viral when she outs Ken Kurson, a major editor and friend of Donald Trump, for harassment, stalking, and derailing her career. The details are shocking, but ultimately this story breaking is a huge win.

Speaking of wins, one of the most poignant and beautiful moments comes towards the end, when Copaken encourages her son to “break the rules” and join her on their apartment rooftop to view Fourth of July fireworks bursting over the New York skyline. It’s an intimate moment between a mother and her son. Copaken reflects on time and makes an affecting comment on how our bodies are borrowed, and how we don’t know how much time we have in them, so we should live to the fullest. This resonated with me.

Ladyparts might be one of the most important, perspective changing writing that I have ever encountered. It certainly wasn’t an easy read, as I had to brace myself for the emotions every time I picked it up, but I absolutely recommend it to everyone. Copaken writes without mercy and is a force. Also, Copaken’s friendship and advice from Nora Ephron is fantastic.
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This memoir was hard to get through. The most shocking parts were the graphic pictures. Yikes! I wish I would've been warned a head of time. Otherwise, this was a good non-fiction read. The writing was decent, but sometimes it was all over the place. Deborah Copaken has been through hell and back when it comes to her health. She's a true champion and she's very brave to let the world know all her struggles/setbacks. Not for the faint of heart. This memoir might make you depressed and uncomfortable, but I think for some readers, this book might be a lifeline. The cover is GLORIOUS! 

Thank you, Netgalley and Random House for the digital ARC.
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How is too much information?  Copaken walks that narrow line in this memoir pinned to her medical and emotional traumas.  It's always hard to review memoirs because it feels as though you are judging an individual or that individual's life choices.  This can be very emotional in parts and then detached others. Copaken has lived a big life and she's got a lot to say about a lot of issues, some of which will resonate.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.
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All. Of. This. Yes. A million times yes. I felt seen even though this took a third wave feminist stance that I normally don't adhere to. It was definitely a feel good read for those who have felt misunderstood.
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As a sufferer of chronic pelvic pain, I was sucked right in from the title and the subject matter. I loved this autobiographical account of a woman as her body slowly falls apart.  Thoroughly engaging take on her experience peppered with appalling facts of the lack of equity in health care.  Loved it.
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I am 100% in the minority here, but for some reason I just couldn't get into this one... I practically worship at the Altar of Nora Ephron, so this really surprised me. But for some reason I just felt like the pieces were disconnected and I was struggling to find the threads that tied them together.  Perhaps that was my mistake - and they are connected in the sense that they are all one woman's experiences, rather than in some narrative format. In that case it is most likely my issue, not that of the book. Or perhaps it's because I don't have anything much in common with the parade of horribles that Copaken has undertaken throughout the course of her life... I felt a lot of sympathy for her, but I just didn't connect to the book on a visceral level like I was hoping - or expecting - to...
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Read if you: Want an unforgettable, powerful, maddening, and brutally honest memoir about divorce, single parenting, and the inequality of healthcare and the workplace for women. 

I read many memoirs. This is one of the best I've read in years. Be aware that Copaken gets quite graphic with her descriptions of her health issues (which is necessary; there are also photographs at times). It can be quite hard to read at times, but luckily, the ending is quite emotional and satisfying. 

Librarians/booksellers: Your memoir fans won't be able to stop talking about this one. Don't miss it. 

Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review for Ladyparts

Full feature for this title will be posted at: @cattleboobooks on Instagram!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir/essay compilation of women's health throughout the years. Funny and poignant!
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Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced copy.

I was unfamiliar with the author, but after reading Ladyparts I want to go back and read her previous work of Shutterbabe. I also watched Emily in Paris and Younger, I did not realize she was also associated with these shows.  Though the more I know now, I am angry for her and how she was mistreated with regards to Emily in Paris.  This author has been through so much, I could not believe all that has happened to her.  Being a divorced single mother, constantly struggling to earn a decent wage to provide her children with a safe apartment, who would have thought that could be so hard. Deborah is a strong woman, constantly hustling.
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An honest raw real memoir the author holds nothing back.From her marriage to a difficult man who shows little emotion and she finally realizes he is on the spectrum & finally after much difficulty gets divorced.On the happy side of her life she shares with us her group of dazzling fiends from the Nora Ephron  who was a mentor a BFF till the day she passed away to name dropping worthy friends like ayelet yes the one,She shares the hardships of finding work being a single mom & yes dating.I devoured this book and will be gifting girlfriends with it a fantastic read.#netgalley#randomhouse
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Deborah Copaken wrote her first searing memoir about her years as a war photographer in Europe and the Middle East. I always wonder what becomes of an author after a spectacular period of their life, and the conclusion of their telling of their story.

In her sophomore memoir, we find out. And, man, do we find out!  In the years following her meeting the man who would become her husband and the father to her children while she was overseas, she began the process of separating from him. And, in the process of becoming the sole breadwinner for her family (as he moved across the country to begin a new business), she encountered the sexism, poverty, loneliness, and lack that follows women in the US when we no longer depend on a man and have needed to be independent.

Most of all, this tome is an advocate for Medicare For ALL persons, including dental, hearing, and vision aids. Ms. Copaken has many physical issues, many physiological but some also as a result of enormous stress. She is unable to obtain adequate medical care, both because of her dire financial situation but also because of being female in a male-dominated profession.

Additionally, her search for paying work is futile and she becomes a victim of sexual harassment and abuse several times over. Her finanacial situation, along with her health, suffers enormously.

It is a relief when she encounters respite from the enormous stress of legal issues, health issues, work and financial issues. She meets wonderful friends and attentive lovers who help her emotionally and financially.

Overall, this is a searing portrait of being an independent, free-lance writer and single mom in the US today. Highly recommended.
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This memoir gave me all. The. Feels. So beautifully written with great care and self empathy but without ego.
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