The First Time I Thought I Was Dying - Sarah Walker - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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If you were a drama kid in high school, The First Time I Thought I Was Dying by Sarah Walker is a must-read.

This essay collection explores the body in art and society: sex and violence on-stage, shape and Photoshop, revulsion and intimacy, advertising and anxiety. Walker writes towards the idea of dismantling shame through honesty and humour, encouraging us to “embrace our own chaos”. My friends at UQP were kind enough to send me a copy for review.

The First Time I Thought I Was Dying has been compared to Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Bri Lee’s Beauty; I’d add that it’s along the lines of Fiona Wright’s fabulous essay collections, too.

Not every essay was as sharp as I would have liked, and sometimes the humour was a little inside-baseball, but Walker certainly gave me a lot to think about – particularly in the context of our changing relationships to our bodies in the context of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Of course, given the subject matter, the collection warrants a few trigger warnings around consent and coercion, and body shaming, but assuming you can deal with those, this is a very interesting and insightful read.