Her Body and Other Parties Book Summary - Her Body and Other Parties Book explained in key points

Her Body and Other Parties summary

Carmen Maria Machado

Brief summary

Her Body and Other Parties is a collection of captivating short stories by Carmen Maria Machado. Each story explores themes of desire, identity, and the female experience, creating a unique and thought-provoking literary journey.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Her Body and Other Parties
    Summary of key ideas

    Unsettling Tales and the Female Body

    In Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties, we uncover a world of short stories primarily focused on women's bodies and their experiences. The stories challenge standard norms, mixing elements of horror, psychological realism, science fiction, and fairytale narrative styles. The theme of the female body as the center of attention, whether it be in pleasure, trauma, or both, pervades the book, giving a raw and, at times, haunting image of womanhood.

    The book kicks off with 'The Husband Stitch,' a story that navigates the life of a woman who wears a green ribbon around her neck, which her husband may never touch. It explores her journey through marriage, motherhood, and how her husband's curiosity leads to the unfortunate end of their relationship—revealing a powerful commentary on the desires, curiosity, and entitlement of men toward women's bodies.

    Body, Identity, and Survival

    'Inventory,' another story, gives an account of a woman who recalls her intimate encounters in the backdrop of a spreading apocalypse. The narrative, presented as a 'list' of sexual partners, blurs the line between love, survival, and identity in a world approaching its end. Then, we examine 'Eight Bites,' a tale that offers a reflection on body image, self-worth, and the external pressures that influence them. The protagonist undergoes gastric bypass surgery, after which she is haunted by the physical manifestation of the body she once had.

    In 'Mothers,' a woman struggles with the psychological impact of an abusive relationship, as she navigates through an imagined reality of being a mother to a child whose father is her abusive ex-lover. This tale delves deep into the realm of trauma, custody, and how mental health can blur the lines of reality and fiction.

    Spectral Stories and Queer Desire

    'Especially Heinous' narrates a surreal and eerie set of tales inspired by the television crime drama series 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.' It gives a glimpse into the supernatural as the reader encounters ghostly girls with bells for eyes, doppelgängers, and many unexplained phenomena. In the same vein, 'Real Women Have Bodies' introduces us to a strange plague causing women to fade away and become incorporeal. Through the fabric of a tragic love story, Machado questions the societal expectations that determine 'realness' for women.

    Finishing with 'Difficult at Parties' and 'The Resident,' Machado wraps up the collection with a haunting exploration of trauma recovery and a twisted residence story reflecting on the psyche of an artist. The themes presented question the facets of imagination, memory, identity, and longing in the context of queer desire and rejection of societal norms.


    In conclusion, Her Body and Other Parties presents a series of stories that do not shy away from the unsettling realities many women face. The book explores the spectrum of female experiences, deconstructing societal expectations and gender norms while addressing themes of sexuality, trauma, body acceptance and more.

    With beautiful prose and rich allegory, Machado explores the complex relationship that women have with their bodies, standing as a testimony to the often overlooked experiences of womanhood. This book is a testament to the strength and resilience of women, and the self-discovery process amid societal constraints and personal trauma, making it a remarkable and challenging read.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Her Body and Other Parties about?

    A collection of short stories that blend elements of horror, science fiction, and fantasy to explore the complexities of women's lives and bodies. Machado's writing is both haunting and thought-provoking, delving into themes of desire, identity, and the power dynamics that shape our world. Each story is a unique and captivating exploration of the female experience.

    Her Body and Other Parties Review

    Her Body and Other Parties (2017) by Carmen Maria Machado is a thought-provoking collection of stories that challenges traditional narratives about sexuality and identity. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • By blending genres and exploring themes of desire, pleasure, and power, the book offers a fresh and unique perspective on women's experiences.
    • Machado's compelling storytelling draws readers into each story, keeping them hooked from start to finish.
    • With its bold and imaginative approach, the book pushes the boundaries of conventional storytelling, making it a captivating and unpredictable read.

    Who should read Her Body and Other Parties?

    • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and unconventional fiction
    • People interested in exploring themes of gender and sexuality
    • Those who appreciate imaginative storytelling and unique narrative structures

    About the Author

    Carmen Maria Machado is an American author known for her unique and thought-provoking storytelling. Her debut collection, "Her Body and Other Parties," explores themes of gender, sexuality, and the female experience. Machado's writing has been praised for its inventive and haunting narratives, and she has received numerous awards and accolades for her work. In addition to her short stories, Machado has also written essays and memoirs, further establishing herself as a powerful voice in contemporary literature.

    Categories with Her Body and Other Parties

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Her Body and Other Parties FAQs 

    What is the main message of Her Body and Other Parties?

    The main message of Her Body and Other Parties is an exploration of women's lives and bodies through a blend of fantasy, horror, and dark humor.

    How long does it take to read Her Body and Other Parties?

    The reading time for Her Body and Other Parties can vary, but it generally takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Her Body and Other Parties a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Her Body and Other Parties is a captivating and thought-provoking book that is definitely worth reading. It offers unique storytelling and a fresh perspective on women's experiences.

    Who is the author of Her Body and Other Parties?

    The author of Her Body and Other Parties is Carmen Maria Machado.

    What to read after Her Body and Other Parties?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Her Body and Other Parties, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
    • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Happiness by Richard Layard
    • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
    • The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
    • Justice by Michael J. Sandel
    • The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    • Simply Complexity by Neil F. Johnson
    • Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday