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Catherine Simpson: One Body


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‘A deep and soulful meditation on what it means to be a woman … powerful insight into … living through the unenlightened attitudes of the Seventies and Eighties’ Sunday Times


In this searing, frank, and funny memoir by the author of When I Had a Little Sister (‘A superb memoir’ Sunday Times), a crisis causes Catherine Simpson to reflect – and to see how her body tells the story of her life.

By the time she reached her fifties, Catherine had experienced period pain, childbirth, and early menopause, alongside love and laughter, a career in journalism, and raising two daughters. Like many of her peers, along the way she’d dieted, jogged, sweated, tanned, permed, and plucked – always attempting to conform to prevailing standards of ‘acceptable womanhood’. But when a medical crisis comes along, she can no longer pummel her body into submission and is forced to take stock. From growing up on a farm where veterinarians were more common than doctors, and where illness was ‘a nuisance’, she now faces the nuisance of a lifetime.

One Body is the demystifying, relatable, often hilarious, and sometimes hair-raising story of how Catherine navigates her treatment and the emotions and reflections it provokes. And how she comes to drop the unattainable standards imposed on her body, and simply appreciate the skin she is in.

Catherine Simpson is a novelist, journalist, poet, and short story writer. In 2013 she received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for the opening chapters of her novel Truestory, which was published twoi years later. Her memoir When I Had a Little Sister appeared in 2019 to great acclaim. Born on a Lancashire dairy farm, she is now based in Edinburgh.


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