Body Full of Stars: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood

Body Full of Stars: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood

"This book is an ancient call from our first mothers to connect to our bodies―for our own good and for the good of humanity . . . It is healing, illuminated." ―Laura Munson, New York Times bestselling author of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is... What if labor does not end with pregnancy but continues into a mother's postpartum life? How can the fiercest love for your...

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Title:Body Full of Stars: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood
Author:Molly Caro May
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Body Full of Stars: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood Reviews

  • Ramona Mead

    This is a tough review for me. Based on my reading experience, I would say 4 stars. I bumped it up to 5 because this is an extraordinary work of memoir. The author's honesty and vulnerability is incredible, and when I think about the fact that that her husband and family support her 100% and didn't try to sensor a word in this book, it blows my mind.

    This is an important book, and it's striking up crucial conversations for women. As a woman who has chosen not to become a mother, there were parts

    This is a tough review for me. Based on my reading experience, I would say 4 stars. I bumped it up to 5 because this is an extraordinary work of memoir. The author's honesty and vulnerability is incredible, and when I think about the fact that that her husband and family support her 100% and didn't try to sensor a word in this book, it blows my mind.

    This is an important book, and it's striking up crucial conversations for women. As a woman who has chosen not to become a mother, there were parts that didn't resonate with me, but not as many as I expected. It certainly opened my eyes to what mothers experience in their bodies, and the fact that women I love have gone through this unaware to me, breaks my heart. It also made me realize there is a deep disconnect between women who chose to become mothers and those who don't I am hoping to bring my awareness into my relationships.

    Molly addresses so much more than motherhood when it comes to the female body. Her story of becoming a mother is interwoven with her coming of age, until they become one. It's beautifully done, her writing is raw and vivid. The topics of body shame, sexual awareness, assault, and female rage are timely, Universal, and need to be discussed with Molly's sense of openness.

    This book is in the right place at the right time. Every woman should read it.

  • Katie

    I was initially hesitant about reading this memoir as it reminded me of a very overwhelming and manipulative old friend of mine, who also happened to be a Cancer as is the author, Molly. A noteworthy sentence I took from the novel is Molly's mother telling her "We've all heard enough of your troubles... I just hope you learn how to take care of yourself. I haven't seen you do that yet." This sentence summed up my feelings perfectly towards my old friend and towards my thoughts of the author init

    I was initially hesitant about reading this memoir as it reminded me of a very overwhelming and manipulative old friend of mine, who also happened to be a Cancer as is the author, Molly. A noteworthy sentence I took from the novel is Molly's mother telling her "We've all heard enough of your troubles... I just hope you learn how to take care of yourself. I haven't seen you do that yet." This sentence summed up my feelings perfectly towards my old friend and towards my thoughts of the author initially. The difference is that I was actually able to watch Molly take care of herself and change and blossom into a woman that was could be proud and unapologetic yet knew when she was being toxic and hurtful towards those around her, instead of letting the addictive rage consume her.

    I found this memoir to be incredibly honest and a must-read for all women. Although the memoir focused on motherhood and I myself am not a mother, I was still able to relate to many sections of the memoir as a female that has been hurt, incredibly angry, let down, and viewed as irrational or overly-sensitive by those (particularly men) who did not quite understand what we as females endure on a daily basis. I felt more connected to my body and to other women around me after reading this.

    I also adored the way Molly spoke to her daughter. I wish I was taught and talked to the same way as Molly's daughter is being taught/talked to now. When given a compliment, we are taught as women to either down-play or outright deny the compliment, or immediately compliment the other person back. We aren't taught to simply say "Thank you! I know, I love my hair too." That would suddenly seem egotistical of us to love ourselves and know it.

  • Kristin Boldon

    An excellent, lyrically written, often wrenching memoir about one woman's postpartum struggles with rage and physical healing, while also celebrating the love she has for her daughter, and the connection she builds with her mother and the memory of her grandmother. It sometimes wandered too far for my taste into the mystical, and I occasionally struggled to follow the story, but I was always willing to keep going with this author. It's so important to have stories like this out there, bringing t

    An excellent, lyrically written, often wrenching memoir about one woman's postpartum struggles with rage and physical healing, while also celebrating the love she has for her daughter, and the connection she builds with her mother and the memory of her grandmother. It sometimes wandered too far for my taste into the mystical, and I occasionally struggled to follow the story, but I was always willing to keep going with this author. It's so important to have stories like this out there, bringing them out into the light, and making postpartum challenges something we talk about, and not just in whispers.

    "They say it gets worse before it gets better.

    This is a cultural black hole. We do not take care of our women, especially our mothers. If a woman with a mood shift after birth actually admits to it, she finds herself under the catchall label postpartum depression. It is not always accurate. Some women weep. Some women rage. Some women go blank. Some women cannot shake anxiety. We are nuanced creatures. We don't fit one category. Depression doesn't always look like what we think depression looks like.

    Couldn't the name be, instead, postpartum challenge?"

  • Lisa Eirene

    This is a very important book and I wish I had read it two years ago, when I was in the middle of the post-partum haze. I could relate to this book SO MUCH. I think it’s an injustice to women that the modern birth and pregnancy books don’t really talk about post-partum issues much. Sure, they might give you a checklist of PPD signs but they don’t talk about much of the issues that can happen…

    “Because we are a culture focused on the singular act of birthing, no one tells you what comes before or

    This is a very important book and I wish I had read it two years ago, when I was in the middle of the post-partum haze. I could relate to this book SO MUCH. I think it’s an injustice to women that the modern birth and pregnancy books don’t really talk about post-partum issues much. Sure, they might give you a checklist of PPD signs but they don’t talk about much of the issues that can happen…

    “Because we are a culture focused on the singular act of birthing, no one tells you what comes before or after birth. Not really. How can they? It’s different for every woman. There may not be one narrative. However, there is no truth. Before and after are not times where all you do is glow. [Loc 400]”

    …Like post-partum incontinence (thankful I never had this issue but the author goes into great deal of what sounded like a living hell for her peeing ALL THE TIME no matter what she did), prolapse (again, I didn’t really have this issue but I did have pelvic floor issues that I had to do PT exercises for), among other things. None of the books I read went into detail about these issues, and the pregnancy/labor class I took didn’t cover it, either. They BARELY covered breastfeeding and the issues that can cause.

    “I can’t bounce (the baby). Bouncing makes my vagina “fall out”–and pee, lots of pee, oceans of urine. If I put her down, she screams a baby dinosaur scream I can’t handle yet. There is no way for me to be with her and have my hands free. [Loc 308]”

    So I think this memoir is a must-read for new moms. The author talks about not being a “radiant” pregnant woman, how she felt at war with her body during the entire pregnancy because she was sick all the time. She had a fairly traumatic birth experience, as well, and that caused a lot of issues for her AND her husband.

    “Little do I know this moment is the middle of the beginning of a 2 year quest for my health, a crawl across the parched desert where I will question everything I once knew about my body, about it means to heal, about the woman-mother I so wanted to become. I’m about to lose my whole sense of self. [Loc 437]”

    She talks about how the arrival of their daughter changed her marriage, sometimes for the worse, but they got through it. She talked about how far away she felt from her husband and he told her that it was “hard to move toward a person who snarls.”

    I highlighted A LOT of quotes from this book. I won’t share them all here. I think it’s more significant to read the book and experience the author’s journey to fully understand it. I could relate to a lot of stuff. There were definitely subjects that didn’t speak to my birth/post-partum experience, but it was an eye-opening read anyways.

  • Stephanie Allen

    This is a very important book. There is so little in literature about the post-partum experiences of women. This is a hold-nothing-back account of a woman desiring to be embodied in a body that some would consider "damaged" by childbirth.

    As a future OB-Gyn this journey was very eye-opening for future experiences with patients. This book also made me further realize the dearth of support for pregnant and post-partum women in the American system. There is no space for women who don't "bounce back

    This is a very important book. There is so little in literature about the post-partum experiences of women. This is a hold-nothing-back account of a woman desiring to be embodied in a body that some would consider "damaged" by childbirth.

    As a future OB-Gyn this journey was very eye-opening for future experiences with patients. This book also made me further realize the dearth of support for pregnant and post-partum women in the American system. There is no space for women who don't "bounce back" by their six-week post-partum appointment, and this fails countless women.

    I was also really struck by May's incredibly detailed portrayal of family/marriage dynamics. I love that her husband and parents did not censor the book and were supportive. I also really loved that her husband and mother continued to come alongside her and learn and grow with her, even when things were dark and difficult.

    And, of course, absolutely gorgeous writing: simultaneously dark and bright. So much vulnerability. Loved it.

  • Janelle

    BODY FULL OF STARS by Molly Caro May - Thank you so much to Counterpoint Press for providing my free copy - all opinions are my own.

    I found this book an extremely personal, necessary, and important work that all women should read. I am not a mother but I was still able to identify and empathize with much of what was written. I have very close friends who are moms that have struggled in similar ways. Although I am not a mom, and even though I can’t possibly understand everything, the contents of

    BODY FULL OF STARS by Molly Caro May - Thank you so much to Counterpoint Press for providing my free copy - all opinions are my own.

    I found this book an extremely personal, necessary, and important work that all women should read. I am not a mother but I was still able to identify and empathize with much of what was written. I have very close friends who are moms that have struggled in similar ways. Although I am not a mom, and even though I can’t possibly understand everything, the contents of this book gave me a better understanding of how pregnancy and motherhood affects women. I was completely captivated and fascinated throughout the entire read and I found myself highlighting passages and taking notes throughout.

    May’s writing is honest, descriptive, thought provoking, and beautiful. A BODY FULL OF STARS covers a wide range of topics from motherhood, to postpartum, to body image, to sexual assault. It’s gorgeously done and is very relevant in the current climate. Highly recommended!

    For all my reviews, please visit

  • Alex Templeton

    I have probably mentioned in other reviews how my favorite new subgenre of memoir are motherhood memoirs, especially early motherhood memoirs. I became a mother four years ago, so I enjoy commiserating with authors about their experiences of this nutty time. I looked forward to reading this one, as it promised to explore the emotion of rage, and that is something that I've struggled with. There have been many times where it all just seems! So! UNFAIR! And I don't CARE if I'm rational or not! I t

    I have probably mentioned in other reviews how my favorite new subgenre of memoir are motherhood memoirs, especially early motherhood memoirs. I became a mother four years ago, so I enjoy commiserating with authors about their experiences of this nutty time. I looked forward to reading this one, as it promised to explore the emotion of rage, and that is something that I've struggled with. There have been many times where it all just seems! So! UNFAIR! And I don't CARE if I'm rational or not! I took heart in the way May laid bare her own moments of rational/irrational feeling about the changes that took place when she was tasked with the charge of a tiny helpless human. I thought she also did a great job explaining the betrayal that postpartum women can feel from their own bodies - and how it causes a great deal of rage her husband cannot understand. The only part of the memoir I couldn't completely relate to was, for lack of a better term, May's "hippie" relationship to her body and nature (I apologize if that sounds judgmental; it's supposed to be descriptive). I think people who are really in tune to their bodies and the natural world would relate to the author in some ways more than I did, as I am sadly not in tune with these things! All in all, a worthy addition to my new favorite subgenre!

  • Mel

    *I received an ARC of this book in a giveaway in exchange for an honest review*

    Sometimes a book in the giveaways stands out as one you are particularly excited about, despite the odds of actually winning. This was one of those books. Although I have never been pregnant and have no plans on it in the near future, the element of body fluency caught my attention. Plus, the cover is gorgeous. After getting about 50 pages in, I went back and got a p

    *I received an ARC of this book in a giveaway in exchange for an honest review*

    Sometimes a book in the giveaways stands out as one you are particularly excited about, despite the odds of actually winning. This was one of those books. Although I have never been pregnant and have no plans on it in the near future, the element of body fluency caught my attention. Plus, the cover is gorgeous. After getting about 50 pages in, I went back and got a pencil and started re-reading and marking the parts that stood out to me or made an impact: discussions of food, body healing, and the inextricable link between how we treat the earth and how we treat women. The postpartum challenge, as May calls it, is a reality that is pressing, yet unsurprisingly hidden. This is a story that needed to be told. Body Full of Stars is about more than postpartum challenge(s), though. It takes us to womanhood at its core.

    I very much appreciate how, although this is not a queer book, May sprinkles throughout an acknowledgement of the inseparable connection between lesbian connections/women loving women in this.

    I give this book four stars. After getting 150 pages in, I lost some steam because the incessant need to be noticed and honored became somewhat gratuitous and self-indulgent. Yet, I recognize the necessity for this. After all, a key part of the story calls attention to the need for women to finally be heard, to gain attention, to be the epicenter of conversation. My mixed feelings on this went until the end of the story. Additionally, it read heavily like a female rage and mental/emotional/spiritual connection with one's body version of Eat, Pray, Love. This can be a good thing but can also get quickly tiresome.

    Overall, I recommend this book, and I am glad to have read it.

  • Devon Steven

    3.5 stars. Lots of lovely writing and phenomenal ideas about motherhood, female rage, and our bodies, but it meandered on for longer than served its purpose, resulting in an overall feeling of navel gazing instead of philosophizing.

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