Our third book of 2016 was You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine written by Alexandra Kleeman. It’s a post-modern look at consumerism and body image that will give you a terrible fear of eating oranges. This book wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some thought the book was close to terrible, while others really liked it. So this makes it a little hard to just recommend, but if writers like Pynchon, DeLilo and Atwood float your boat, then don’t leave You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine on the shelf just because of a negative review. Here we’ll recommend some other books you might want to read and share some discussion questions in case you’re talking about it with your own book club.
As this was a debut novel, we’re starting with influences rather than other work by the author. In a Reddit AMA Kleeman stated that Valis by Philip K. Dick was the biggest influence on writing this book, especially the idea of one person blurring into another. No one does weird sci-fi better or will make you question reality more than Philip K. Dick and Valis is a great example of this.
Sticking with the idea of body image, we can recommend Binary Star by Sarah Gerard. This book about an anorexic girl and her alcoholic boyfriend even includes a kind of cult, as they go on a road trip and discover veganarchism. They think this might just be the answer to all their societal problems.
And finally, instead of recommending a similar book we’re recommending something different. Alexandra Kleeman and Kathleen Alcott are good friends and they recently both published big-name novels. So instead of recommending books by similarities, we’re going off of friendship and author recommendations. Infinite Home is about a widowed landlady who rents apartments to a strange collection of humans, all in need of shelter in their own ways.
Possible Discussion Questions:
– Why are the characters called A, B and C?
– Would you rather go on ‘That’s My Partner’ or eat an orange – peel and all?
– Discuss the idea of identity. Is it clear who you are or are the lines between yourself and others blurred? Are you the same person with everyone or do you adjust yourself to the situation?
– Did the book make you think differently about eating ‘natural’ food?
– How would you deal with someone trying to take over your identity?