Recently Read: The Body of Chris

2015 December 13
by Tanya McGinnity

chriscoleJudging a book by its cover, this one features a color photo of a shirtless, tattooed man emblazoned across the book jacket. While this is quite common with many of the publications sitting on bookshelves today – memoirs of heavy metal musicians or biographies of male supermodels- this one is quite different and exceptionally powerful.

Author Chris Cole – the shirtless man on the cover, struggled with his weight and body perception for a large part of his life. This cover photo is testimony to how far he has come towards self-acceptance and healing. Baring himself fully both on the cover and within the pages of the book, Cole has demonstrated an unshakable ability to heal. It is a very honest and personal story.

The book traces his descent from mild anxiety and the natural ‘weirdness’ that comes with being a goofy kid, to a teenager and then man, spiraling out of control due to mental illness and addiction. He had struggled with being obsessed with his body self image, his size, his strength, his sexuality and manhood and these insecurities carried on into adulthood and increased in intensity and severity.

Within The Body of Chris, the author also explores how spirituality has been such a strong part of his life, both positively and negatively. It had contributed to his delusions, several manic episodes, and then in the end, his eventual healing. Yeah. He’s certainly covered all of the bases.

His personal story of suffering, and then redemption takes several interesting twists and turns leaving the reader wondering where he’d end up after all. It’s a must-read for anyone who is experiencing or knows someone who has gone through any of the troubles I’ve mentioned that are covered in this book. Somewhere there is a 14-year-old boy out there struggling with an eating disorder or about to turn towards alcohol to drown his problems. I’m grateful that there is a book such as this one that expresses pain in a way that is relatable and without pretense.

The Body of Chris is a brave memoir in which the author has offered up his story of confusion, addiction, religion, self-abuse, sexuality, and mental illness – balanced with insight into his healing through self-work, therapy, acceptance and being of service to both help oneself, as well as others who are going through or have experienced similar setbacks, temptations or problems in their life.

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