Easy Beauty: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Easy Beauty is a profound meditation on disability, motherhood and identity. Chloe Cooper Jones is insightful, sharp, thoughtful and incredibly honest. She's a keen observer and writes about what it means to be defined as "disabled" - to travel around the world to Italy, Cambodia, attend a Beyonce concert and to be a mother when others view you with an absence and a lack. She invites us into the inner chamber of her heart and recounts her own restlessness as a mother and as a wife. Easy Beauty shows we must choose to love ourselves, our partners and our families every day and lets us know it's ok when some days it's not an easy decision. This memoir shook me to my core - not just because I was forced to confront my own abelism. But also because I felt a kinship. "I lacked the language," she says at one point. When you do not fit the mainstream perceptions of beauty and being (able-bodied, white, straight, cis gender) there is very little room in language to allow yourself to see yourself. Being Asian and Brown, this is a feeling I know too well. There is a likeness I could identify with even though our experiences are so vastly different. Reading this book not only has pushed me to confront the binaries that still exist in my mind, but also a pathway to a new language and new way of being. Easy Beauty is a revelation and everyone should read it. — From Michelle's Picks (page 1)

April 2022 Indie Next List

“The subtitle ‘memoir’ doesn't do justice to this spectacular, sui generis meditation on art, disability, parenting, and travel. It's about more than memory — it's about living in the now and creating the future we want for our children.”
— Rebekah Shoaf, Boogie Down Books, Bronx, NY


“Gorgeous, vividly alive.” —The New York Times
“Soul-stretching, breathtaking…A game-changing gift to readers.” —Booklist (starred review)

From Chloé Cooper Jones—Pulitzer Prize finalist, philosophy professor, Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant recipient—an “exquisite” (Oprah Daily) and groundbreaking memoir about disability, motherhood, and the search of a new way of seeing and being seen.

“I am in a bar in Brooklyn, listening to two men, my friends, discuss whether my life is worth living.”

So begins Chloé?Cooper Jones’s bold, revealing account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Jones learned early on to factor “pain calculations” into every plan, every situation. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis which affects both her stature and gait, her pain is physical. But there is also the pain of being judged and pitied for her appearance, of being dismissed as “less than.” The way she has been seen—or not seen—has informed her lens on the world her entire life. She resisted this reality by excelling academically and retreating to “the neutral room in her mind” until it passed. But after unexpectedly becoming a mother (in violation of unspoken social taboos about the disabled body), something in her shifts, and Jones sets off on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied, and denied herself.

From the bars and domestic spaces of her life in Brooklyn to sculpture gardens in Rome; from film festivals in Utah to a Beyoncé concert in Milan; from a tennis tournament in California to the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Jones weaves memory, observation, experience, and aesthetic philosophy to probe the myths underlying our standards of beauty and desirability and interrogates her own complicity in upholding those myths.

“Bold, honest, and superbly well-written” (Andre Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name) Easy Beauty?is the rare memoir that has the power to make you see the world, and your place in it, with new eyes.

About the Author

Chloé Cooper Jones is a philosophy professor and freelance journalist who was a finalist for a 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. Her work has appeared in publications including?GQ,?The Verge,?VICE,?Bookforum,?New York?magazine, and?The Believer, and has been selected for both?The Best American Travel Writing?and?The Best American Sports Writing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Praise For…

"A rich, decadent book that rewards close reading... anyone who immerses themselves in Chloé's writing will come away with a greater understanding of everything beautiful about the human experience, and how to behold it." —Isaac Fitzgerald, The Today Show

“[An] exquisite memoir.” —O Magazine

"Easy Beauty is bold, honest, and superbly well-written. Chloé Cooper Jones is ruthless in probing our weakest and darkest areas, and does so with grace, humor, and ultimately, with something one seldom finds: kindness and humanity." —André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name

“Written with the curiosity of a scholar, the compassion of a mother, and the keen insight of a person who has lived on the margins of what is deemed acceptable, Easy Beauty is a rare, poignant gem of a memoir... Transcendent.” —Bookreporter

"Jones resists sentimentality and is as unsparing on herself as she is on other people, yet she writes with such graciousness, too. A wonderful debut." —Buzzfeed

"Transcendent... In keeping the reader close as she navigates the world, Jones lets us in on the effort it takes to move through the world in a disabled body... This is all rendered in sentences, insights, and metaphors so precise and evocative that demonstrate her literary mastery." —Oprah Daily

"Soul-stretching, breathtaking... A profound, impressive, and wiser-than-wise contemplation of the way Jones is viewed by others, her own collusion in those views, and whether any of this can be shifted... A game-changing gift to readers." —Booklist (starred review)

"Jones’ writing is thoughtful and deeply felt, and her stories will fascinate anyone who wants to look at the world in a new way."  —Apple Books (Best of the Month)

"Perceptive, stylish, and darkly funny, Easy Beauty is an act of grace, and a reckoning. Chloé Cooper Jones is a remarkable writer—I would follow her mind anywhere." —Anna Wiener, author of Uncanny Valley

"I recommend Easy Beauty to anyone who has wanted beauty badly, even without knowing quite what it is, but who could never seem to access it. At least, I'm that sort of anyone, and I could feel and recognize parts of myself in every moment of this book. Chloé Cooper Jones' writing pierces right through and lets a light in." —Mitski 
Product Details
ISBN: 9781982151997
ISBN-10: 1982151994
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 5th, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English