Melissa Febos’ stunning new essays confront the pains and pleasures of girlhood.
On this week’s episode, author Melissa Febos discusses Girlhood (Bloomsbury, March 30) with host Megan Labrise and guest co-host Johanna Zwirner. Febos’ “consistently illuminating, unabashedly ferocious” essays contend with precocious sexuality, body-shaming, mother/daughter relationships, stalking, and platonic touch.
Kirkus: “In her latest powerful personal and cultural examination, Febos interrogates the complexities of feminism and the ‘darkness’ that has defined much of her life and career.… Profound and gloriously provocative, this book—a perfect follow-up to her equally visceral previous memoir, Abandon Me (2017)—transforms the wounds and scars of lived female experience into an occasion for self-understanding that is both honest and lyrical” (starred review).
Febos and our hosts talk about extended metaphor and indelible imagery, enthusiastic consent, how Febos sees Girlhood in relation to her other essay collections, writing as a restorative/healing process, cuddle parties, embodiment, and more.
And in a sponsored interview, Megan talks with author Andrea Wang and illustrator Jason Chin about Watercress (Neal Porter Books, March 30), the story of a Chinese American family who pulls their car over to gather wild watercress growing by the Ohio roadside, unearthing memory and deep emotion. Kirkus calls this poignant picture book, “understated, deep, and heart-rending—bring tissues” (starred review).
Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, and Eric Liebetrau join with their reading recommendations for the week.
A Shot in the Arm! by Don Brown, from the Big Ideas That Changed the World series (Amulet/Abrams)
A Time of Fear: America in the Era of Red Scares and Cold War by Albert Marrin (Knopf)
Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (Crown)
Also mentioned in this episode:
Pandemic: How Climate, the Environment, and Superbugs Increase the Risk by Connie Goldsmith (Twenty-First Century/Lerner)
Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines by Tara Haelle (Twenty-First Century/Lerner)
Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy by Larry Tye (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook)
Thanks to our advertisers this week:
Aberrant Behavior by Jim Lively
Meal and a Spiel by Elana Horwich
Patients, Patience, and the Talking Cure by Mary Davis
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.