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The Secret to Superhuman Strength Reviews

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel

The Secret to Superhuman Strength

Alison Bechdel

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Yellow Jersey Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication date: 6 May 2021
ISBN: 9780224101905

*A GUARDIAN AND OBSERVER 'BOOKS OF 2021' PICK* From the bestselling, award-winning author of Fun Home All her life, Alison Bechdel has searched for an elusive secret. The secret to superhuman strength.

  • The ObserverGraphic Novel of the Month
5 stars out of 5
Rachel Cooke
26 Apr 2021

"In the space available to me here, I cannot hope to capture all that this extraordinarily generous and roomy book contains"

In her quietly astonishing new book, Alison Bechdel sets out to discover why she has devoted so many hours of her life – “very possibly as many as are actually recommended” – to exercise. On the surface of it, this sounds straightforward. She has been mad about muscles ever since she was a child and first saw Charles Atlas; running used to be the best way she knew of managing stress; as a younger woman, she was as susceptible to fads as she was to sportswear brands. But while The Secret to Superhuman Strength takes a keen interest in karate and spin classes, in Nordic skiing and road cycling, and manages to be slyly funny about all of them, its true subject is self-improvement in the biggest sense of that word... In the space available to me here, I cannot hope to capture all that this extraordinarily generous and roomy book contains, nor the deftness with which she loosely knots her themes together. Suffice to say that while her subjects – nature, love, work, sexuality – are huge, The Secret to Superhuman Strength never feels heavy. If it were a barbell, you’d be able to lift it with one hand.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Lucy Knight
25 Apr 2021

"If you haven’t read anything by her yet, it’s a good time to catch up."

Gloria Steinem described Fun Home as being “sort of like a comic book by Virginia Woolf”, and while that might be a stretch, you can see what she’s getting at; Bechdel’s work is elegant and literary in a way that people don’t expect from graphic books. If you haven’t read anything by her yet, it’s a good time to catch up.