5 out of 5 stars
“As a female, anger was never an appropriate emotion, and I was taught to feel guilt around that anger. Guilt was digestible, more feminine, easier to control and manage, after all.”
I have followed Michelle Elman for a while on Instagram and she was one of the first people who taught me about body positivity. It wouldn’t be fair to not give you a little bit about how this movement changed my life and my perspective on my body. As far as I can remember I’ve had red bumps all along my body and have gone through so many products trying to scrub them off myself because they “looked ugly” until a dermatologist finally said it’s keratosis pilaris and nothing you do is going to help. It was around that time I came across the body positivity community on instagram and started my journey to loving my body and embracing all aspects of it.
I had read other body positivity books before and they were helpful so when I saw that Michelle Elman had written a book I knew I had to read it. She was the first body positivity account with someone who had scars that I knew about. I had already learned to love my body’s size but couldn’t get over loving the skin condition that I had been told my whole life to figure out how to get rid of. Through following her I found others in the body positivity community who taught me to love my body, skin condition and all so I knew I had to read her book.
I had been keeping an eye on my public library’s book selection for a while hoping they would one day have access to her book. I would’ve bought it but I didn’t have the funds to purchase it so I cried when I saw that Hoopla had finally received it. I had wanted to read this book since I knew that it came out.
Michelle Elman tells you the story of her life through many hospital visits and her journey towards loving her body. Having known about her before kind of changes the way I read her book in a positive manner. Since I had been following her I loved learning intricate aspects of her life and learning more about what she shares on instagram. I found it fascinating, and her journey was relatable while still being her own.
I love how she discusses the ways that media and others had an impact on how she viewed her body. Rather than skirting around some of the difficult issues such as eating disorders, mental illness, and medical problems she addresses them head on. She tells you her feelings that surround these issues and how they impact her life and her relationships with others. I love how she talks about her experiences in boarding school and how others treated her for her surgeries and her weight.
I love the advice that she gives in her epilogue because I think we sometimes forget that our body positivity journey is our own and no one else. I love that she reminds us of that and reminds us not to compare our bodies with others and not to compare our progress to anyone else.
I decided to listen to this on audiobook since it was the only way I could gain access to it but I was a bit wary about it. You see, I hardly ever listen to audiobooks because I find it hard to keep track of the story line but the narrator of this book is great to listen to. The narrator fits the story quite well and doesn’t take away from the book or the story being told. This was something I was able to listen to on my commute to places and as I was doing other things at home.
I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with their body image and others who want to learn about body positivity.
About the Book: In today’s world of supplements, celebrity diets and social media, it’s very easy to be hard on ourselves about the way we look. With all this pressure to strive for ‘perfection’ aesthetically, it is easy to forget how damaging this can be psychologically. Michelle Elman is a leading part of the body positivity movement that has been gathering momentum to liberate people from these unrealistic standards, recognize that all bodies are equally valuable and broaden the billboard definitions of beauty.
Am I Ugly? is this inspiring woman’s compelling and deeply personal memoir that describes her childhood experiences of life-threatening health problems, long stays in hospital and fifteen complex surgeries that left her scarred, both mentally and physically. The narrative follows Michelle’s journey from illness to health, and from childhood to adulthood as she deals with her body-confidence issues to embrace both her scars and her body – and help others to do the same. This remarkable book grapples with the wider implications of Michelle’s experiences and the complex interplay between beauty and illness.
About the Author: Michelle Elman is a body-positive activist and 5-board accredited body-confidence coach. She has amassed 170k followers on Instagram across two accounts (@scarrednotscared and @bodypositivememes). She is a guest contributor to popular Youtuber Hannah Witton’s successful Young Adult book DOING IT; contributed to the recent bestseller BODY POSITIVE POWER; has appeared on Sky News, BBC Radio London, Channel 5 News, LBC and also runs the Body Positive Book Club. Her TedX talk “Have You Hated Your Body Enough Today?” has been viewed over 30k times and Women’s Health recently named her as one of the five women changing the game when it comes to body image in the UK.
About the book and about the author borrowed from Goodreads.
If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.amazon.com/Am-Ugly-Michelle-Elman-author/dp/1788541847/ref=asc_df_1788541847/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312674999652&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3376528962063734623&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030930&hvtargid=pla-680770979032&psc=1 or look for it at your local library.