Length: 08hrs 48mins 23 episodesCompleted
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“Everyone had a clearer vision of my body than I did. It didn’t feel as if my body was really mine.” At fourteen-years-old, Jonathan Wells weighed just 67 pounds, igniting a scrutinizing persecution of his body that followed him into adulthood.As a boy in preparatory day school in upstate New York in the 1970s, Wells’s teacher abuses and humiliates him for his size, forcing Wells, for the first time, to question his right to take up space in the world. Wells’s father, reading his weight as a clear deficit of masculinity, and perhaps sexuality, creates a workout regimen meant to bulk him up. When that doesn’t help, he has Wells seen by a slew of specialists, all claiming he is in perfect health, and yet the problem cannot be denied: he is simply too skinny.Wells’s complicated relationship with his charming but elusive mother does not help matters. As the eldest son, he is privy to the struggles of a fraying marriage in which he, however slight, plays a divisive role. Wells is sent to boarding school in Switzerland, where his size continues to generate controversy, from the merely rude to the violently abusive. And yet, even as he manages to establish an identity of his own, one which must invariably contend with gender norms and conventions, his father’s obsession with his size follows him to Europe, threatening to destroy the space he has painstakingly won for himself.As he grows into an adult, combatting the intrusive liberties others take with his body, Jonathan must define masculinity for himself, ultimately coming to terms with the damage of a father’s love.The critically acclaimed poet and author of the collection Debris, Jonathan Wells gives us a thoughtful, candid, and powerful memoir about the universal exploration of adolescence and self-image, the frailty of masculinity, and all the places we seek comfort in a world trying to redefine us.


  • Self-Help


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