cover image Vagina Love: An Owner’s Manual

Vagina Love: An Owner’s Manual

Lili Sohn, trans. from the French by Sara Sugihara. Street Noise, $19.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-951491-13-0

Sohn’s English-language debut, a lighthearted but educational delve (so to speak) into the vagina, combines practical information and personable anecdotes. After being diagnosed with breast cancer at 29, Sohn froze her eggs and faced medical monitoring of her reproductive system—which she realized she didn’t know much about. She wasn’t alone, as a summary of cultural myths (the roving uterus) and individual misconceptions (an acquaintance tried to put a tampon “in the back”) reveals. Sohn covers puberty through menopause with sections on orgasms, body hair, toxic shock, and nymphoplasty (plastic surgery on the vulva), and while she’s hardly the first to tackle bodies, sex, and reproduction from a feminist point of view, she offers a refreshingly gender-inclusive perspective alongside bon mots such as “the whole [menstrual] cycle thing kind of pisses me off... like I am just made to make babies.” In cartoony drawings with cheery shades of green, pink, and purple, she draws herself—a bespectacled figure with reconstructed breasts—alongside helpful anatomical diagrams, altered historical images, and a mural of vulvas. The handbook will prove most useful for younger adult readers, but it also serves as a welcome reminder to all that bodies are silly, miraculous, and worth getting to know. Agent: Nicolas Grivel, Nicolas Grivel Agency. (Feb.)