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Book Review: Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell (Essay Sample)


Highlight the major thematic concerns of Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell

Book Review: Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell
Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell is a collection of nonfictional essays that explores the author’s transition from youth-hood into adulthood as a young woman, and the challenges that she faced along the way. Specifically, the book’s overlapping themes revolve around love, lust, longing and loneliness that individuals experience when transiting through early adulthood. The most remarkable aspect of Caldwell’s essays, however, is her sincerity and openness in sharing her own experiences. In a carefree manner that may make most people blush, Caldwell narrates the story of her life with astounding honesty as she traces her experiences as a baby sitter, a drug abuser, and guilt-less sexual maniac.
The book’s title captures the subject that the author explores. “Legs Get Led Astray” portrays the situation in which people usually find themselves in at some point in their life; losing control over their lives. The author’s experiences suggest that getting one’s legs led astray is not just getting lost in the literal sense, but also throwing away caution in order to be adventurous and experience self discovery. Individuals learn about themselves not only by forming relationships with others, but also through own experiences. In the author’s case, self discovery involved having plenty of sex with several lovers, enjoying herself in any way she can, experiencing heartbreaks, doing drugs, and living without a care or apology. The author suggests the idea that people learn about themselves by living their lives without any reservations whatsoever. She is neither worried by the possible consequences of her actions nor restricted by the values that govern society. As a result, she does not regard her sexual escapes as an immorality, but as a means of living life to the fullest. She does not deny herself what she desires, be it sexual satisfaction or the ecstasy of hard drugs.
In this regard, Legs Get Led Astray is a representation of the uncertainties of youth-hood and the vulnerability of charting new territories in the journey of maturing into an adult. Caldwell shows that when one goes astray by being adventurous, anything can happen. Like the odds of a stray bullet hitting someone, life is a journey that exposes the individual to opportunities and risks alike. The bottom line is that leading a carefree life- getting astray by deviating from societal values- exposes the individual to may possibilities. In Caldwell’s case, getting astray (doing drugs and engaging in carefree sex) was a window for a greater understanding of herself. Through her experiences, Caldwell comes out as a loving, caring, and decent person. She is capable of loving with all her heart, and giving all herself to the person she loves. She writes that “I am the type of person who will give anything to anyone I feel I could love” (Caldwell 116). This is evide...
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