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Chloé Cooper Jones Books In Order

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Chloé Cooper Jones
Chloe Cooper Jones is a writer based in New York City. She is a freelance journalist and philosophy professor. Her work has appeared in publications that include Bookforum, New York Magazine, GQ, Verge, The Best American Sports Writing, and VICE.

She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Feature Writing for “Fearing for His Life”, a profile of the man (Ramsey Orta) that filmed the killing of Eric Garner, in 2020. She received the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant in 2020 and the Howard Foundation Grant from Brown University in 2021. These grants are both in support of “Easy Beauty”, her memoir.

A lot of times other people will equate something being difficult or struggling with something as something we should have a negative feeling about or it not being worth doing. But Chloe doesn’t feel negatively about the fact it’s tough to move around the world or that she may experience in doing that. Because the most important thing is that it is not impossible for her to do it. It’s possible, but it just comes with difficulty. It’s not a negative fact, just a fact to be integrated into the experience of life.

Being in a lifelong disabled body has given her a better relationship to hardship, difficulty, and struggle than a lot of other people because she sees it all as part of worthy experience.

Due to the conversation with Colin, Jay is one of the very first friends that she had where her disability was brought up immediately at the start of their friendship and then she couldn’t not talk with him about it. It was a totally new experience for her. There’re people she’s been friends with for decades that she’s never had a conversation about disability with. It helped her see all of the ways in which she had been involved in a very complex and long running act of self-erasure. And how this helps nobody. These might be pretty obvious things to say, yet tough to actually internalize.

There were editors of her book that wanted to restructure the entire thing, to start with her being born and moving through her life chronologically. Which wouldn’t have worked because she’s trying to say something specific about the way her mind is processing an issue, and the things, both good and bad, which is reaching to understand it. Including (on the bad side) wanting to cling to some kind of superiority or go so deep into withdrawal that she ends up failing to acknowledging her responsibility for a moment.

Chloe’s mind reaches for all of these things, however it also reaches for natural beauty in the world, for the understanding of and the love of strangers and loved ones alike, and for this kinship with aesthetic experience and art, whether it be with Bernini or Beyonce. She has a theory that she has read which really shaped her as a thinker and helped her be in a better dialogue with herself and how she sees the world. This desire for a kinship that’s so vast, and she really wanted this book to reflect this process of attempting to integrate each of these sources.

“Easy Beauty: A Memoir” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2022. From Chloe Cooper Jones comes an exquisite and groundbreaking memoir about motherhood, disability, and the search for a new way of being seen and seeing.

Chloe’s memoir starts with sitting in a Brooklyn bar, listening to two of her male friends discuss whether her life’s worth living. In her bold and revealing account of moving through the world in a body which looks different than most. She learned early on to factor “pain calculations” into every situation and every plan. Born with this rare congenital condition known as sacral agenesis which affects both her gait and stature, her pain is physical. However there is also the pain of getting pitied and judged for her appearance, of getting dismissed as “less than”.

The way she’s been seen, or not seen, has informed her lens on the world her whole life. She resisted such a reality by excelling academically and retreating to “the neutral room inside of her mind” until it had passed. However after she unexpectedly became a mom (in violation of some unspoken social taboos about the disabled body), something inside of her shifts, and she sets off on this journey around the globe, reclaiming the spaces that she had been denied, and even denied herself.

From the bars and domestic spaces of her life in Brooklyn to the sculpture gardens in Rome. From a tennis tournament in California to the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, from a Beyonce concert in Milan to the film festivals in Utah, Chloe weaves observation, memory, experience, and aesthetic philosophy to probe the different myths underlying our own standards of beauty and desirability. She interrogates her own complicity in upholding such myths.

Chloe challenges society’s rules of attraction with razor sharp intellect and wit and makes a rather brilliant case for the beauty of complexity. This is a spiky and inspiring book for any reader that is at odds with a superficial culture. It’s part treatise and part travelogue and is written with all the curiosity of a scholar, the compassion of a mom, and the keen insight of a person that has lived on the margins of what’s deemed acceptable, this is a rare and poignant gem of a memoir.

This is an honest, bold, and well written. Chloe Cooper Jones is ruthless while probing our darkest and weakest areas, and she does so with humor, grace, and ultimately, with something rare: humanity and kindness. By keeping the reader close while navigating the world, Chloe allows us to be in on the effort it takes for her to move through this world in a disabled body. It’s all rendered in insights, sentences, and metaphors that are so evocative and precise which demonstrate her literary mastery.

The book is stylish, perceptive, and darkly humorous, and is an act of grace as well as a reckoning. Chloe is a remarkable writer, and some readers would follow her mind anywhere.

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