My Body Is a Book of Rules

Elissa Washuta

We were captivated by Elissa Washuta’s voice from the first sentence of her debut. Using an array of sidelong tactics – letters, scripts, transcripts, book reviews, diary entries, Cosmo quizzes, histories of her American Indian ancestors, lists and litanies – Washuta creates a portrait of her identity, all the more riveting for being in crisis. As Washuta navigates her early twenties, a cross-country move, addiction and bipolar disorder and sexual trauma (just your standard stuff), she leavens the deepest darkness with unexpected humor as she invites the reader eternally further into her brain, creating a work that’s as important as it is entrancing. At the end, you’re left wanting more, and grateful to the author for finally figuring out how to take good enough care of her brain and body so that she can live to write more books.


You may purchase this book directly from Red Hen Press.



About the Author

Elissa Washuta


Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a writer of personal essays and memoir. She is the author of two books, Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.

My body was a book of rules, my heart the spine, my skin plastered with pages. Written on each one was the text that held the world together.

Elissa Washuta, My Body Is a Book of Rules