The Body Is Not an Apology

Book review by
Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media
The Body Is Not an Apology Book Poster Image
Ambitious exploration of the power of self-love.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Includes snippets of research that support the author's ideas, such as a sampling of laws that are unfriendly to the body,  information about rates of suicide and violence, and statistics on how much people spend on makeup and diet advice. There isn't a significant amount of specifically educational content.

Positive Messages

Loving yourself unconditionally is the foundation of well-being, compassion for others, and social justice. It starts with your body.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The book declares and then examines the idea that all human beings are worthy of unconditional self-love and should give the same to others, regardless of age, size, race, disability, or gender.

Violence

A few potentially upsetting descriptions of violent incidents, including the story of a trans girl who dies via suicide by stepping in front of an 18-wheeled truck.

Sex

Includes a section about masturbation to orgasm as an expression of self-love.

Language
Consumerism

The author is founder of a business that offers paid retreats, online courses, and workshops on this topic.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief mention of addiction as one of the results of body shaming.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Body Is Not an Apology, an extended essay by Sonya Renee Taylor (Celebrate Your Body),  communicates the message that radical self-love, beginning with your own body, is the foundation for social justice and individual well-being. The book includes a section about masturbation to orgasm as an expression of self-love. And there are a few potentially upsetting descriptions of violent incidents, including a story of a trans girl who dies via suicide by stepping in front of an 18-wheeled truck. Expect brief mention of addiction as one of the results of body shaming. The author is founder of a business that offers paid retreats, online courses, and workshops on the same topic.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In THE BODY IS NOT AN APOLOGY, poet/workshop leader Sonya Renee Taylor expands on the ideas expressed in her poem of the same name. The line that introduced the book's title phrase went viral, along with a social media post of Taylor in a corset. She now curates an online community, promotes a movement, and operates a speaking and training business to empower people around accepting their bodies and others'. This book explains her concepts of "body shame" and "body terrorism" and their antidote, "radical self-love."

Is it any good?

The techniques that make Taylor's poetry intriguing don't all translate well to prose in The Body Is Not an Apology. The poem consists of a series of metaphors for broken or devalued things that the body is not. Here, this multitude of metaphors isn't as effective. For example, body-shame is both "a fog" and "an assassination." Trying to reframe thoughts about your body is both "trying on a new coat" and "free diving despite feeling fear."

In addition, the book's primary point of view is "we." While that's meant to be inclusive, it often feels presumptuous, imprecise, or both. Sometimes the "we" encompasses discrete groups of people, including both people who say things like "I don't see color" and people of color who feel erased by that language. And at other times, Taylor writes "we" when seemingly describing a personal experience of her own or a specific belief or experience that readers may or may not share. Still, the book's exercises and inquiries are interesting and can be useful for starting conversations about self-love and the acceptance of others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Body Is Not an Apology defines radical self-love and how that concept differs from self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-acceptance.

  • What does the author mean by "apology"?

  • "The body is not an apology" began as a poem. What can a poem do that prose can't? What can prose do that a poem can't?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love inspiring reads

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate