The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

I liked the idea of this collection. And I liked some of the essays, especially the title piece. But a few things bothered me. A lot of it felt derivative–she told us what Susan Sontag thinks about a fair number of things. Then maybe I should just be reading the Sontag? And so, so many of the pieces are self-referential. They include the phrase “this essay.” Jamison is at her best when she is just describing experience, not telling us what she means to be saying about it, or telling us what other people have thought about it. I wish she’d done more of that.

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