Book Reviews of The Camera My Mother Gave Me

The Camera My Mother Gave Me
The Camera My Mother Gave Me
Author: Susanna Kaysen
ISBN-13: 9780679443902
ISBN-10: 0679443908
Publication Date: 10/2/2001
Pages: 176
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.

2.9 stars, based on 34 ratings
Publisher: Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

12 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 102 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The 'boyfriend' pissed me off. I think this book raises a lot of interesting points that would make for wonderful discussions. How, for instance, most of us are defined by our 'parts' and are never considered as a whole, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty truth-telling, how do you really feel about me. Once you can no longer supply that other person's 'needs'(wants), should that relationship end, or was it ever truly a relationship to begin with? At what point do I as person begin? Or should we all be considered as commodities, and who is the best bargain. I think this book was very interesting. Would probably never have requested it on its own, but was taking advantage of an offer in the Book Bazaar and I am so glad that I did get it! Of course, Girl Interrupted was a much better book, but this one did not disappoint me at all!
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The book is about Kaysen's vagina. Seriously, that's it--her vagina. It hurts. And hurts. And hurts some more. No one knows what's wrong. She tries wacky things like sitting in tea and she tries antidepressants (and a million other things). Nothing really works. The whole book is her complaining about her vagina. It was not interesting to me. It reminded me of the worst (in my opinion) monologue in the Vagina Monolgues--the my vagina is me one. I am more than my vagina; Kaysen is apparently not. I feel for the poor trees that were sacrificed for this.

Believe it or not, I didn't actually hate this. It was just okay. Turns out I just don't care that much about Kaysen's vagina.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
By the author of "Girl, Interrupted," Kaysen is witty and insightful about the travails of having "something go wrong" with her vagina, which sends her on a series of encounters with gynecologists, alternate health healers, internists, her boyfriend and her wonderful circle of friends. This writer is wry, precise and delightful. I'd read her grocery lists.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I finally got a chance to read this book last week and was surprised how much I liked it.
Warning*** if you are easily offended, don't read this one. This is by the author of Girl Interrupted and deals with her "female problems"

Unlike the previous reviewer, I don't feel Susanna was whining. She had a serious pain problem that was affecting her entire life. Perhaps I am more sympathetic as I suffer chronic pain (though not in that area!) If you've ever been in severe pain day in and day out, you'll sympathize with the author. If you consider it whining, or are easily offended or easily agitated when someone shares how awful and scared they feel, skip this one.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 342 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Well, this book is about a vagina, and how it hurt and how it healed, sort of. A very quick, interesting read by the author of Girl, Interrupted.
"I wanted my vagina back...I wanted the world to regain the other dimension that only the vagina can perceive. Because the vagina is the organ that looks to the future. The vagina is potential. It's not emptiness, it's possibility, and possibility was exactly what was missing from my life."

~~~excerpt from The Camera My Mother Gave Me by Susanna Kaysen.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 103 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thought the first half was really good, but then it dwindled a bit and I didn't like the ending a lot. It's an interesting story and concept, but it could've ended better.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
this is by the author of girl, interrupted, but is basically about her vagina. a quick read.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 163 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was an odd little book and I'm still not sure what it was really about other than her "vagina hurt". Maybe it went over my head or something. A really quick read but even with that in mind, I know the only reason I finished it was my hope of finding out what in the hell was going on. The ending was quite a let down for me...I'm like "what?" Not sure why I even bothered to read or review this one.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 242 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I've struggled for a while about what to say about this book.

It started out really really good. Fast paced, gives a good emotional slide into her world as her vagina goes nuts. The desire to want it fixed, then just want it gone..that comes across as real and connects with the reader.

The ending, however, is less than ending. Obviously, her problem hasn't been fixed, but I just can't relate to the horror that she was attracted to someone who didn't jump into bed with her. Nor do I think life is completely gray if one isn't wet all the time. I just don't relate. I think she is being incredibly whiny, that she used to live very stupidly, and that maybe she needs to think with the rest of her body for once. Geesh.

I also want to smack the author about her treatment. Medical science doesn't know what causes vestibulus (or vulvodynia or any other similar thing down there), but there are treatments that work for some women. While avoiding surgery makes sense (it really does seem like a last resort), and I realize that the medical profession as a whole isn't the most....sympathetic or reliable when it comes to females & medicine, I still want to smack the author repeatedly.

Her idiocy over pills irritates me. For example, anatryptaline is a drug that usually takes a couple weeks to build up enough in the system to have an affect. Like most drugs that work in the brain, it has a ramp-up period to adjust the body to it, and slowly raise the dose. (Why the pharmacist didn't mention that, I don't know, else she didn't bother to put it in the book). Yes, side effects can hit early--but it's also a drug that you body has to adjust to and the side effects will (sometimes, usually) fade. I do have to question if she really wanted to treat her pain if she wasn't willing to give it the couple weeks required for the body to accept the drugs. A lower dose might have been called for, but dropping an adjustment-required drug after one dose? One dose that WORKED? Good grief! *insert more author whining here*

Try SOMETHING (other than whining at the universe), and give it time to work! What's the point of all the research (good idea) if you aren't going to pursue any of the treatments anyway? There were quite a few options given -- some of them pretty drastic with limited success rates (surgery), others less drastic, less invasive, more able to be done on a trial version. She didn't want to do ANY of them--and then whined that nothing got better. Yes, it sucks to have the pain. But it's not going to just magically go away (probably not, at least, though admittedly no one knows why it's there in the first place), and I have a hard time sympathizing with someone who appears to primarily want to shake her fist at the world and yell "Not fair!".

It's also very hard to accept as "normal" the ability to discuss her vagina with hordes of friends, many of which happen to be assorted medical professionals. Great for her, but very different from what a normal woman would go through.

I can't say I'd recommend this book. It starts out so well, and it's a book I think needs to be written. But not by her. By someone with more normal friends, by someone with less of an instant-gratification-demand of life and the medical profession. By someone who is less of a whiner.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 73 more book reviews
this is really hysterical!! I could not quit laughing during my commute while listening to the author tell of her vagina problems!!
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 100 more book reviews
Sorry, I just did not like this book at all. I got a few chapters into it and decided I wasn't reading any further. Maybe it's just a personal thing and others would enjoy it more.
reviewed The Camera My Mother Gave Me on + 168 more book reviews
I loved this book! It's a very personal, funny, introspective look at one woman's journey through an intimate medical anomaly. Highly recommended!