Book Reviews,  History,  Womens Literature

Book Review: Butts: A Backstory

Butts: A BackstoryButts: A Backstory by Heather Radke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ll admit that my inner child gleefully jumped on this book, but after that kid got over giggling at the peachy cover art, I started reading with my grown-up eyes. And what an eye opener this was. I didn’t expect to be so fascinated – usually I’m reading 4-5 books at a time, moving between them as my mood dictates. But (butt!) all other books just had to wait while I remained riveted to this fascinating account of something we all possess yet probably have never fully understood.

We started at the VERY beginning, 1.9 million years ago, when nature was still figuring out how to arrange our various bits and pieces. Fascinating stuff! After spending time learning about the why and how of our butts, we leap ahead to the early 1800s to meet Sarah Baartman. I’d known of her before reading this book, but there was so much I needed to learn about how Sarah was treated in life, and in death. There’s a lot written about Sarah, but that’s good. Her history needs to be understood as so much future culture depends on it.

I also appreciated the deep dive into the world of bustles! I’ve been fascinated by the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian eras since childhood and thought I knew pretty much everything about bustles. But I soon realized that while I did understand the physical side of these butt-enhancers, I had a lot to learn about the cultural meaning and usage of them.

Eventually we move ahead to modern times, and examine the butts of well-known celebrities. I could have happily stayed back in the 1800s a while longer, but will admit that even this old lady had her eyes opened as to what’s been going on in recent years.

It’s been a while since I read a book that captured my interest as both an academic AND entertainment work. Anyone who’s ever sat down or worn pants will get a lot out of reading this book.

My thanks to author Heather Radke, Avid Reader Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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