Guest Post by Kevin Brown
In Easy Beauty: A Memoir, Chloé Cooper Jones shares that she was born with sacral agenesis, a congenital condition that affects her stature and the way she walks. While her memoir focuses on the physical pain she suffers, she is more interested in examining how others see her and how she sees herself. She travels to a variety of locations, often under the guise of doing research—as when she travels to Cambodia to explore why people visit monuments to horrific events—but really to think through her self-image, largely shaped by how others see her as different and lesser-than. Her son’s view of her complicates this search, as she doesn’t want to communicate her emotional discomfort at moving through the world to him (doctors had told her she was unable to get pregnant, so her having a child at all was not a development she expected). Throughout the work, she explores beauty and the myths that have accrued around it, whether that’s through classical art or watching Roger Federer play tennis. While her writing and travels help her develop an idea of beauty that includes her and her view of the world, ultimately her relationships help her find the beauty she already possesses.
Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones. Avid Reader Press, April 2022.
Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.