Boobs

Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts

Edited by Ruth Daniell

At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Boobs is a diverse collection of stories about the burdens, expectations and pleasures of having breasts. From the agony of puberty and angst of adolescence to the anxiety of aging, these stories and poems go beyond the usual images of breasts found in fashion magazines and movie posters, instead offering dynamic and honest portraits of desire, acceptance and the desire for acceptance.

Surrounded by flat-chested co-workers in a male-dominated construction crew, a woman finds pleasure in admiring her body with the occasional glimpse in a window. A new mother in a new city overcomes a sense of isolation through her experience of breastfeeding her son. Breastfeeding plays a role in another’s story when, after identifying as gender non-binary and relaxing into an ambivalent relationship to her breasts, she becomes a parent. In another story, a young woman makes the decision to undergo breast-reduction surgery and appreciates a new sense of ownership and love of her body. A survivor of sexual assault shares her story of shame and healing and how she simultaneously began to recognize she has more to offer the world than her body and began to really, truly love her big breasts. One writer declares that we should “stand up for breasts … playful and shameless as puppies.”

With startling and moving work from established writers including Lorna Crozier, Nancy Lee and Kate Braid, as well as new voices, these stories are passionate, determined, defiant and funny, and–perhaps most importantly–they look honestly and unflinchingly at both sadness and joy.

“The stories represent the diverse experiences that surround breasts: the coming of age stories, the struggles with gender, the trauma, the self-love, the experience of motherhood, the early sexualisation, the struggles of not feeling like enough or feeling like too much—too much of a woman, not enough of a woman, too much cleavage, too little […] But no matter what your personal experiences with them, Boobs will engage you and make you feel things—in the breast possible way.”
— Ljudmila Petrovic, Sad Mag

“Although there are many of them, they are all told in fresh voices and from different angles […] I highly recommend this to anyone.”
— Naomi of Consumed by Ink

Boobs makes a clear commitment to representing the diversity amongst those of us who identify as women, including powerful stories of transitioning from both sides of the binary like Devin Casey’s “Skin Deep” and Sadie Johansen’s “The Balloon Stuffer.” The collection offers memoirs, essays, and poems from mothers, survivors of cancer and abuse, and a military veteran to name a few.”
— Claire Matthews, Loose Lips Magazine

Kelly S. Thompson awarded the 2017 Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay with the Professional Writers Association of Canada for her essay in the anthology, entitled “Strip, Reveal and Sex Appeal”.

Table of Contents:
“Introduction” by Ruth Daniell, p.11
“News Flash from the Fashion Magazines” by Lorna Crozier, p.15
“Variety Pack” by Sara Graefe, p.18
“Bump” by Rebecca Hendry, p.29
“From Scar to Sacrament” by Heidi Grogan, p.36
“Mirror Mirror on the Wall” by Heidi Grogan, p.46
” ‘Always Keep Your Tools in Shape’ ” by Kate Braid, p.54
“Celebrate Your Curves with Free Shipping” by Emily Wight, p.55
“Pinches” by Taryn Hubbard, p.60
“First Class after Lunch -mid-1960s” by Marilyn Belak, p.66
“A Site of Potential” by Nicole Boyce, p.67
“Pep Talk” by Zuri Scrivens, p.73
“Knobs” by Jane Eaton Hamilton, p.81
“The Pencil Test” by Christina Myers, p.83
“A-T-C-G — All the Cancer Grief” by Annie Parker, p.88
“Radiant” by Miranda Pearson, p.96
“Learning to Not Laugh It Away” by Francine Cunningham, p.97
“The Exhibitionist” by Emily Davidson, p.104
“Your Body is Growing” by Laura Ritland, p.111
“Late-bloombing Boobies” by Valerie Hennell, p.112
“Berries” by Moni Brar, p.116
“Breasts” by Susan Gluckman, p.124
“Feathers” by Catherine Graham, p.126
“So Big Men Can’t Help Themselves” by Sierra Skye Gemma, p.132
“Fifteen” by Julia Park Tracey, p.143
“Nipples” by Fiona Tinwei Lam, p.144
“Bridges” by Joelle Barron, p.146
“Taxi” by Miranda Pearson, p.150
“Opening and Closing” by Allison Jane Smith, p.152
“Skin Deep” by Devin Casey, p.160
“The Balloon Stuffer” by Sadie Johansen, p.168
“Amazon” by Betsy Struthers, p.170
“Reclaiming My Thorns” by Maggie Wojtarowicz, p.171
“Milking Montreal — How I Survived the City through Breastfeeding” by Janine Alyson Young, p.180
“Your Boobs” by Dina Del Bucchia & Daniel Zomparelli, p.187
“Strip, Reveal and Sex Appeal” by Kelly S. Thompson, p.188
“The Friend with Boobs” by Ruth Daniell, p.198
“Miriam in Mexico, Postpartum” by Esther Griffin, p.207
“Nine” by Lynn Easton, p.209
“Origin Stories” by Nancy Lee, p.213 (Listen Here)
“Breasts” by Kate Braid, p.219