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4.0 

I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

By Marisa Crane
I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards
Finalist for the Libby Book Awards

Dept. of Speculation meets Black Mirror in this lyrical, speculative debut about a queer mother raising her daughter in an unjust surveillance state


In a United States not so unlike our own, the Department of Balance has adopted a radical new form of law enforcement: rather than incarceration, wrongdoers are given a second (and sometimes, third, fourth, and fifth) shadow as a reminder of their crime—and a warning to those they encounter. Within the Department, corruption and prejudice run rampant, giving rise to an underclass of so-called Shadesters who are disenfranchised, publicly shamed, and deprived of civil rights protections.

Kris is a Shadester and a new mother to a baby born with a second shadow of her own. Grieving the loss of her wife and thoroughly unprepared for the reality of raising a child alone, Kris teeters on the edge of collapse, fumbling in a daze of alcohol, shame, and self-loathing. Yet as the kid grows, Kris finds her footing, raising a child whose irrepressible spark cannot be dampened by the harsh realities of the world. She can’t forget her wife, but with time, she can make a new life for herself and the kid, supported by a community of fellow misfits who defy the Department to lift one another up in solidarity and hope.

With a first-person register reminiscent of the fierce self-disclosure of Sheila Heti and the poetic precision of Ocean Vuong, I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself is a bold debut novel that examines the long shadow of grief, the hard work of parenting, and the power of queer resistance.

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136 Reviews

4.0
Thumbs Up“This book is classified as dystopian, but it's actually a portrayal of the current world that we're living in, except that the shadows given to supposedly undesirable people, and the rights that are taken away, are literal instead of figurative. Further, these shadows are given to white people, including the main character. The author makes a few comments about how it is "new" for shadowed white people to have experiences of systemic, state-sanction marginalization, as if this makes it okay/less awkward/not-so-icky that a book like this has to be written by a white woman, about a white woman, for white readers to care about the dystopian nature of our current reality. That giant elephant in the room pointed out, this book is still worth reading, especially for the ways in which the author writes about grief, parenting, reconciling with family, and found family.”
Multi-layered charactersDescriptive writingEasy to readRealistic settingThought-provoking
Thumbs Up
Diverse charactersLikable charactersMulti-layered charactersEasy to readDark settingRealistic settingThought-provoking
Thumbs Up
Likable charactersEasy to readDark settingThought-provokingBigotryHomophobiaRacismTransphobia
Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes“If you liked Our Wives Under the Sea, you’ll probably like this. It isn’t horror, but it has that similar “learning to live after grief” vibe. Also, lesbians.”
Characters change and growBeautifully writtenOriginal writingFeel goodHeartbreakingThought-provoking

About Marisa Crane

MARISA CRANE is a writer, basketball player, and sweatpants enthusiast. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Joyland, No Tokens, TriQuarterly, Passages North, Florida Review, Catapult, Lit Hub, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. An attendee of the Tin House Workshop and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, they currently live in San Diego with their wife and child. I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself is their first novel.

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