by Megan Baxter
The Ohio State University Press, 2023
Paper: 978-0-8142-5868-2 | eISBN: 978-0-8142-8282-3
Library of Congress Classification CT275.B427A5 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 612.00922

“A pensive inquiry, often breathtakingly beautiful and relatable, into how and where and with whom we fit.” —Kirkus

The essays in Twenty Square Feet of Skin tell their stories through the body—encased as it is in “that greatest of organs, that membrane that protects the individual from the universe”—as Megan Baxter’s entrée to and home within the larger world that surrounds her. What does a tattoo mean? How can plastic surgery transform? What is the history of pedicures? Where does the mind wander on a long run? Through every example, Baxter writes toward a greater understanding of how self-knowledge is forged through physical experiences.
With the input of Prince, Walt Whitman, Don Johnson, Andrew Wyeth, Meriwether Lewis, and others, Baxter reflects on love, identity, and belonging by looking closely at her skin, toenails, and DNA. Playful, wandering, and deeply felt, Twenty Square Feet of Skin weaves a strange, rich tapestry of flesh and bones, art and body, skin and scar. In embracing the beauty and peril of physicality in crystalline detail, Baxter asks us all to ponder what makes us human within these frail, flawed, powerful, and wonderful bodies of ours.

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