The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson

Personally, I loved the rambling style of the book. At first, it was a little annoying. I was never sure if she was talking to me as the reader directly, if she was talking to her partner, herself, or just the world in general the way any other nonfiction writer might. I was never certain what the topic was or what it might be leaning to. It came together for me when she started talking about how much of the book was written while pumping. 

I've sat and pumped for many cumulative hours as well. I've drifted in and out of the various thoughts on the world that come when you are not with your child but still giving him (in my case, he's a him also) nourishment. I've drifted in and out of that feeling of spirituality that comes with that I am somehow tied to being more animal than human, but never feeling less human than I had before. It's confusing and reassuring and painful, and so is this book. 

It may get a little weird sometimes, but people are weird. I used to think the weird ramblings of my mind were partial to me somehow, that there was something wrong with me. In the long succession of feminist writing that I've read in this fourth wave, I've learned that I am not weird. People are weird. Strange and uncomfortable thoughts come unbidden to our minds. Nelson has shared those thoughts with us. She has opened up her mind and her life for us to see, even for those who feel the need, to judge. That was the really powerful thing about the book. 

She doesn't really make a grand statement on transgenderism or living outside the gender binary or being a lesbian or the LGBTQ movement as a whole. She just exposes the feelings, the way that life doesn't have to be more complicated and the ways that it does. 

I very interesting book. I hope all feminists read it. I'm glad it was on the Our Shared Shelf reading list for May. I look forward to the discussions.