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Vagina Warriors

This collaborative effort between two activist artists is very well-meaning and does have some strong content. It evolved out of Ms. Ensler's conversations with women who approached her after the earliest performances of The Vagina Monologues, women who felt the need to witness to her, to tell their own experiences. However, very little of that detail exists in these many pages, and the effort feels more like an overgown pamphlet than a real book. That is a shame, considering the true excellence of Ensler's and photographer Joyce Tenneson's work, as well as the strength of the "V Day" cause that sales of this work help to raises funds for. In 2004, V Day had grown to 2300 events and had raised 25 million dollars to support women's rights. The Vagina Monologues gets much of its considerable power from the specificity, the viscerality and the humor of the play. Yet all of these elements are missing from this collaboration. The book is laid out rather cheesily, with portraits of "Vagina Warriors" next to very brief statements that speak to the idea of the Vagina Warrior in modern society. In the end, this is a souvenir, not really much of a book. Ensler's text is minimal, and the photographs are not even given full-page treatment, nor are they printed particularly well. But if what you want is a souvenir for a truly amazing movement, it's certainly fine as such. --Mike McGonigal

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