Women Write About What They See When They Look In The Mirror
“Anne Burt and Christina Baker Kline asked women writers, some quite well-known, to reflect what they see in the mirror, mirror on the wall. It’s not always the fairest of them all. These women’s essays are poignant, wry, arch, redolent of memories cherished and inescapable, more revealing than any photograph could ever be, and most of all, irresistible.”
– Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Cage of Stars
In About Face, twenty-three women write about the simple yet radical act of looking — really in the world and which examine the societal prism through which we view — and judge — each other, the contributors in this collection take the cultural conversation about beauty to a deeper level.
Looking in the mirror without turning away—and then talking about it honestly—is a radical act. In ABOUT FACE, women writers take on this challenge in twenty-three intelligent, insightful, and deeply affecting essays.
Contributors include Kathryn Harrison, Jennifer Baumgardner, Alix Kates Shulman, Patricia Chao, Catherine Texier, Meredith Maran, Alice Elliott Dark, Kamy Wicoff, Benilde Little, Marina Budhos, and Pamela Redmond Satran.
For a complete list of contributors, click here.
The women you’ll meet in About Face define a new “All-American” standard of beauty – one that includes a wide range of backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and ages. The youngest writer in this book is twenty-two; the oldest, seventy-five. They hail from all around the United States – some with families who emigrated from countries as far-flung as India, Mexico, Italy, and Iran. Some have learned to embrace the faces they see in the mirror; some are still actively engaged in the struggle. What they all have in common – and what they share in their essays – is that each has had a moment in her life when she realized that, for better or worse, the face she sees in the mirror defines something about who she is in the world.
– From Bobbi Brown’s foreword to About Face
“In this lively, thought-provoking collection, writers speak with rare candor about the most intimate object in a woman’s possession, and the most revealing expression of her subjectivity. About Face is a book that illuminates not only the great variety of faces that make up the American mosaic, but the changing forms and possibilities of femininity.”
– Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation
“Twenty-five female writers had one assignment: Look at yourself in the mirror, then reflect on what you see. The resulting essays are as beautiful and unique as each author.”
– Shape magazine
“What woman hasn’t looked in the mirror and turned away? Seeing yourself as you really are can be a radical act, as these 23 brilliantly insightful essays from women of all ages, races and backgrounds prove … From blow-drying our hair to hiding behind concealer, About Face reveals the way we learn to see ourselves and appreciate our differences, and that’s really beautiful.”
– Dame magazine, “August’s Best Books”
“Every girl who has ever done a double take in the mirror understands that the love/hate relationship women have with their appearance is a unifying plight of the fairer sex. In About Face, editors Burt and Kline create a discourse around this often taboo subject, asking 24 writers of various ages, races, and nationalities to share their inner monologues about vanity, insecurity, and identity, ultimately shedding some light on how the way we physically see ourselves affects the way we live … Their words will certainly resonate.”
– Nylon magazine
“Often funny, frequently reflective, and always relatable.”
– Curve magazine
“A treasure trove of irresistibly intimate, honest, and charming essays that are perfect for any woman who has ever looked in a mirror and wondered what she really sees. About Face provides a deeper understanding of the true nature of female beauty—and it’s a delightful read.”
– Laura Schenone, author of The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken
“Too often, beauty and body image are dismissed as superficial issues. I would encourage [anyone who thinks that way] to read About Face—a collection of twenty-three essays written by women talking about what they see when they look in the mirror. This is certainly not fluff or frivolity. The writers in this anthology share deeply personal stories that build a compelling case for the central message of this collection: It’s complicated…. I hope that others will read their words and be inspired to stage their own radical acts, whether in the bathroom mirror, in the rearview mirror, or even passing by a store window. These reflections offer opportunities for positive change.”
“Enthralling … About Face goes way beyond skin-deep observations to breathtakingly personal essays by an impressively diverse array of women.”
– The Montclair Times (NJ)
“This book consists of essays by women of varying ages and races – and from many different walks of life – candidly writing about what they observe when they take a good long look in the mirror. The thoughts they share run the gamut from funny to inspiring to heartbreaking.”
– Mount Desert Islander (Maine)