Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Review:: The Camera My Mother Gave Me

I have been trying to review this book for a week but it's been difficult, plus my to-do list lately has been kind of long and I haven't had the time to figure out the best way to write this review. At this point, all I can come up with is this completely random list of bulleted thoughts, which will have to suffice:

*Basically, the book chronicles the author's two year struggle to find out what is causing the pain in her vagina. She has numerous visits with traditional doctors, gynecologists, alternative health practitioners, an internal specialist, a vulvologist, etc but gets no conclusive answers.

*While this is going on, she's living with her boyfriend who likes to have a lot of sex. With her sore vagina. When she doesn't want to have sex he pouts and whines. So not only do we get to hear her complain about her sore vagina (it burns, it feels like it's being pricked with needles, it's hot, and so on), but we also get to hear her complain about her dickhead boyfriend.

*This woman will discuss her sore vagina with anyone, which I guess shouldn't come as a surprise since she did write a book about it, but when is enough enough? Not only does she share her situation with female friends, but male friends as well, and even couples. She describes having dinner at a couple's house and the entire conversation revolves around her vagina. I am beyond amazed that her friends put up with this. You know, I am not above discussing weird and/or inappropriate things with people. I've called my best friend numerous times and started the conversation out with the phrase, "Hey, ya wanna hear something gross about me?" But I have to think that if I just kept going on and on about it that eventually she'd stop returning my calls.

*At numerous times her boyfriend says things to her like, "It seems like you just don't want to have sex." Or, "You don't want to get better." I really don't want to side with the boyfriend, because he does seem like a major jerk, but I agree with him. Her sore vagina completely takes over her life and it does seem like she almost enjoys being nothing more but a giant sore vagina.

*I wanted to like this book because it was written by Susanna Kaysen, who wrote Girl, Interrupted, which I loved. But I really hated this. I felt as if it was the most self indulgent thing I've ever read.

*According to the dust jacket: The title comes from Luis Bunuel's film Viridiana. Some peasants are at a banquet in a country mansion. They ask a maid to take a group snapshot, and she obliges, lifting up her skirt and using the "camera" that's underneath. Ok, I'm going to come right out and say it but I have no idea what that even means. Am I retarded? She took a picture with her vagina? What? I just don't get it.

*I got this book from the library and I've had it laying around. Jay, who's lately been reading a lot of the same books as I have, gave it a look over, dropped it, and declared that he "won't be reading that one." Good call.

*This book may appeal to some people but it did nothing for me. Maybe I'm just insensitive to other's pain because I have a problem free vagina and I can't imagine it any other way. So be it.


Veronica said...

A) Had no idea there was such a thing called a vulvologist. Learn something new everyday!

B) I think i will call people "sore vaginas" whenever they are being sticks in the mud.

Daphne said...

Um, I think I'm with Jay.

And what *does* that title/reference mean? Some sort of gangbang? I don't get it. Although that would make one sore.

(Was that inappropriate? )

Cat said...

You know, with that review, I think I will stick to my murder mysteries this time. And no, I don't get the title, either.

And, I don't entirely think I want to.


Tammie said...

ha! you all are too funny.

veronica: i know! it's now a perfect put down. my computers spell check highlighted vulvologist but when i clicked it, it said "no suggestions" so apparently you arent the only one who didnt know they existed. i had to go back and find it in the book to make sure i spelled it correctly.

daphne: ha. not inappropriate at all. i think when i chose to review a book entirely about a vagina, i opened up the door for comments of all types. but yeah, i kinda wanna see the film now, maybe it will make more sense.

cat: thats kind of where im at. i want to know, but im scared.

im glad im not the only one who doesnt get the reference.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm with Veronica and Jay - I never knew there was a thing as a vulologist and I wouldn't read this book after this delightful review. Although it made me laugh that was you - not the book.

So does her sore vajay-jay ever get better and does she dump her jerk of a boyfriend?
I'm completely and utterly befuddled by the description of the title. I wish mine took pictures. Now those would be some photo's to post on my blog eh?

oh I've been meaning to ask you - whoever got the book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - did they like it? Was it just us who thought it was bonkers?

Tammie said...

peggy: she does leave the boyfriend and her vag. ends up feeling better, but im not really sure how or why. honestly, i stopped caring after awhile.

i would love it if mine took pictures too! with my luck, my 'camera' would break. then i'd be all pissed that id have to take it in to be repaired.

lemon cake went to maria rose over at Little Things are Big. i dont think she ever reviewed it on her blog but i looked on her Goodreads profile and she gave it two stars. i told her she was far too generous. HA!

kraftykash said...

So, wait a minute, this is fiction?!?! I saw the title and thought it sounded good. OMG I would smack my friend if she talked about her vag that much. I am on team Jay, but still love you :)

Dawn said...

Warning: I want no texts about your sore vagina!

Tammie said...

dawn: if anyone is going to get texts about it, you can bet its gonna be you!!!!

mandy said...

Your review is cracking me up.

I hadn't heard of this book, but if I see it at the library I'll be sure to pass it by.

Dani said...

I'm not into vagina-lit, so I too will pass.

Add me to the never heard of a vulvologist club. Although, I just typed this on my phone and it didn't try to auto correct or highlight as a mistake. So maybe the folk at iPhone have indeed heard of vulvologists.

Anonymous said...

I think a " vulvologist" fixes Vulvos, mine which died after 120,000 miles on it. The mechanic said he could't do anymore for it, take it to the junk yard.

Tammie said...

anon: ha ha ha! some things cant be fixed, even by the best mechanics.

jay says he may want to be a vulvologist. frankly i dont see the thrill in looking at only sick/broken ones.

dani: leave it to the people at apple to once again know more than the rest of us.

Tammie said...

by the way: these comments are funny. you folks are clever.

R.H. Ducky said...

wow, this post just gave me a flashback of "Astroglide" and her dried up vag. thanks.

kat said...

I may never look at a camera the same way again.

Tammie said...

alicia: you need to anonymously send her a copy of this book!!!

kat: oh man i didnt even think about that.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

OK, I like to describe my poops to my husband, but this book sounds horrid.
Thanks for the review, and btw I loved the Gillian Flynn books. DARK but very good!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...


You are opening up completely new doors for me....I feel so ignorant and sheltered. But what kind of mind writes about such things?

Run Lori Run said...

These comments are funny. Since I have nothing to contribute, I will just say: ditto.