Imperfect: How our bodies shape the people we become
Affirm Press, $32.99 pb, 318 pp, 9781925584813
A marble statue of a crouching Venus disfigured by age and circumstance appears on the cover of Lee Kofman’s Imperfect. The goddess of love and beauty is a ruin, although one capable of radiating an uncertain allure. Through a deft trick of typography, the emblazoned title can be read as either ‘Imperfect’ or ‘I’m Perfect’.
Kofman announces from the outset that she has attempted ‘to tell as truthful a story as I could about how our bodies can shape our lives, and what we can do about this’. She argues for a deep engagement with the word ‘imperfection’, for societal adoption of the principles of wabi sabi, the Japanese aesthetic philosophy, so that the two titular possibilities are not polar opposites. Her embrace of the word ‘imperfect’ feels bold in a cultural climate that would argue that the word should be discarded, laden as it might be with negative judgement. But being brave is a state familiar to Kofman.