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I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World    by Eve Ensler order for
I Am an Emotional Creature
by Eve Ensler
Order:  USA  Can
Villard, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Acclaimed author and playwright Eve Ensler, best known for The Vagina Monologues, now brings us a new set of free flowing monologues, this time 'scripts for girls' resistance', that are 'a call to question rather than to please.' At the back of this edition are a set of thought provoking Discussion Questions.

Ensler begins her Introduction 'Dear Emotional Creature' and continues to affirm that 'I believe in your authenticity, your uniqueness, your intensity, your wildness ... It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, with being this alive, this intense. I just don't want you to have to wait that long.' Interspersed throughout her fascinating monologues are Girl Facts, some poignant but most disturbing.

From You Tell Me How to Be a Girl in 2010 to her concluding Manifesta to Young Women and Girls, Ensler's monologues (mostly in free verse) are indeed emotional, intense, and questioning. She asks 'How come we have money to kill / but no money to feed or heal?' and 'What happened to teenagers marching and refusing / instead of exploiting and using?' She deals with girls' desperation to fit in, high parental expectations, teen pregnancy, anorexia, abuse, and different forms of exploitation.

In I Dance (I), Ensler says 'I shake off the burqas and bindings / and corsets and diets ... I dance to the heartbeat of life / I dance because girls are ultimate survivors'. Regarding young female activists, she argues 'Don't deny us, criticize us, or infantilize us.' She advises women of all ages to ask themselves, 'Why am I adding a question mark at the end of all my sentences? / Why am I apologizing every time I express my needs?'

Though I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World is aimed at teenagers, it will be appreciated by women of all ages, and is an excellent resource for young women to discuss their lives, options, and dreams together.

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