A work of creative nonfiction.
By the time she was eleven and living in the Soviet Union, Lee Kofman had undergone several major operations on both a defective heart and injuries sustained in a bus accident. Her body harbours a constellation of disfiguring scars that have shaped her sense of self and her view of the world. But it wasn’t until she moved to Israel and later to Australia that she came to think these markings weren’t badges of honour to flaunt but were, in fact, imperfections that needed to be hidden away.
In a captivating mix of memoir and cultural critique, Kofman casts a questioning eye on the myths surrounding our conception of physical perfection and what it’s like to live in a body that deviates from the norm. She reveals the subtle ways we are all influenced by the bodies we inhabit, whether our differences are pronounced or noticeable only to ourselves. She talks to people of all shapes, sizes and configurations and takes a hard look at the way media and culture tell us how bodies should and shouldn’t be.
Illuminating, confronting and deeply personal, Imperfect challenges us all to consider how we exist in the world and how our bodies shape the people we become.
Bibliography – To download the complete bibliography for Imperfect (124KB PDF file), please click here.
Imperfect was mentioned in The Age What to Read in 2019 and
What to Read in 2018; Readings blog Australian Books to be Excited About in the First Half of 2018; and on Meanjin blog
Imperfect extends beyond the cliches of societal acceptance and self-help, and offers instead, a deeper truth about imaginative empathy. An illuminating read.Alice Pung
Bizarre and infinitely compelling.Marion Halligan
A fascinating, moving and always thoughtful telling of a deeply personal story. A page-turner in the truest sense of the word.Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Kofman is the feminist stripped bare, displaying her flawed nakedness in a disrobing that is liberating for all of us.Caroline Baum, author of Only
Kofman does not pull punches; rather, she sticks a serrated knife into our preconceived norms. This book will stay with the reader for a long time.Leah Kaminsky, author of We’re All Going to Die
Compelling, wise and insightful, Imperfect is unputdownable. It will make you see your body, and your place in the world with fresh eyes. I could not recommend this book more highly.Monica Dux, author of Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting)
With a skilful hand, Lee Kofman unpicks the sutures of her own insecurities and those entrusted to her. She writes with all her senses. Every description is a decadent pleasure.Jenny Valentish, author of Woman of Substances
This nuanced, beguiling book builds human bridges.Myfanwy Jones, author of Leap
Noticing difference is the fundamental way we understand the world. Empathy requires cultivation. Lee Kofman’s tender touch and generous informants reveal lyrical lessons of our flawed human condition that reverberate long after reading.Ramona Koval