The discussion of bodily functions in literature

Use this forum to discuss the February 2018 Book of the Month, "The Reel Sisters" by Michelle Cummings.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 42
Joined: 14 Mar 2018, 05:12
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 15
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson

Re: The discussion of bodily functions in literature

Post by Oceanside » 19 Apr 2018, 14:39

becsimpson wrote:
31 Mar 2018, 15:57
EXACTLY! I've wondered this so often, when watching movies, TV shows and reading books. Especially post-apocalyptic stuff. I legitimately want to see people dealing with real issues like women being on their periods and not having anything to assist with it, because that is reality. I know it's really only a small point in terms of the overall plot so that's probably why it's not brought up often, but it would make everything so much more realistic and relatable if it was.
BriennaiJ wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 19:00
I have to say that I have not read any books recently that really describe bodily functions. However, I think that they would be an interesting addition to some novels. Especially fantasy novels. I think I would laugh seeing a person having to deal with having to pee during the apocalypse, or having an upset stomach or even the flu while they were traveling on a long-term adventure.
I always wonder what women would do about their periods during the apocalypse too! I want someone to write about it or put it in a movie so we know what to do in the event of the apocalypse. You definitely bring up a good point.

User avatar
Posts: 24
Joined: 06 Apr 2018, 09:49
2018 Reading Goal: 6
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 16
Currently Reading: Becoming the Dragon
Bookshelf Size: 23
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Who Told You That You Were Naked? by William Combs

Post by SkyeDragon » 20 Apr 2018, 01:43

I think it is ok to include bodily functions in a book as long as it is done tactfully. If the story's plot is served by having some description of body functions then it should be used. This is a natural function for all people. However, if there is no purpose served then it would be best to leave out.

User avatar
Posts: 92
Joined: 23 Jan 2018, 16:27
2018 Reading Goal: 25
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 26
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell

Post by Northernbird84 » 20 Apr 2018, 04:51

For me it depends entirely on how much it relates to the story. For example in the film Demolition Man, one of the best scenes is where Sly Stallone's character goes to the loo and in place of toilet paper are three sea shells, he's mocked for not knowing how to use the sea shells and instead uses the paper fines for bad language as paper. It's funny and it links in with his being in the future and just how much things have changed.

User avatar
Posts: 42
Joined: 14 Mar 2018, 05:12
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 15
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson

Post by Oceanside » 20 Apr 2018, 12:37

Zain A Blade wrote:
12 Apr 2018, 09:10
I've read many books that describe bodily functions in detail, though I can't readily remember the title of the books right now. It's never really bothered me, because it depends on the author's narrative style and the plot's setting and theme. If bodily functions were to be described in Victorian novels like Pride and Prejudice or historical romances like The Duke & I, well... now that would seem very off.
I think you are very correct in saying it depends on the author's style and the theme of the book. I've also read many books that go into vivid detail and I've usually enjoyed it because it either adds humor or adds inconvenience to a certain situation.

User avatar
Posts: 173
Joined: 25 Mar 2018, 11:21
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 65
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Favorite Author: Valerie Wilson Wesley
Currently Reading: Change Your Thinking Transform Your Life: 21 Truths to Renew Your Mind in Christ
Bookshelf Size: 1548
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Roadmap to the End of Days by Daniel Friedmann
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG
fav_author_id: 125603

Post by Jamasenu » 20 Apr 2018, 17:21

LoisCHenderson wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 08:49
I had to laugh at Sophie's detailed description of a woman trying to pee with waders on, as I often get caught in a similar position outdoors when taking my dog, Splay, for a walk first thing in the morning. What effect do descriptions of bodily functions in novels have on you? Which books have you encountered with such descriptions, and would you encourage others to read the novels concerned, or would you be too embarrassed to :oops: ?
It doesn't bother me when they're using a simile to the actual thing. In C/M/T/H there are so many graphic scenes involving bodily functions that without them, it would throw off the plot of the story.
To survive, you must tell stories.
― Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before

User avatar
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1268
Joined: 21 Mar 2018, 10:43
Favorite Author: Dana Peters
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 149
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Letters From The War by Amanda Bryant
fav_author_id: 154082

Post by AmySmiles » 22 Apr 2018, 11:47

If they are necessary to the book and add needed information or is part of what happens during the topic of the book then I don't mind it. If it feels like they are just writing it in the book just to be writing about it, that gets a little annoying.

User avatar
Posts: 26
Joined: 06 Feb 2018, 21:19
Currently Reading: McDowell
Bookshelf Size: 11
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks by Morton E Tavel, MD

Post by cianarae » 22 Apr 2018, 12:33

That's funny! I can't think of any books that describe bodily functions so intensely that I would be embarrassed to share them! I do think that the role they play, creating a humorous situation or perhaps normalizing them, can be useful to make people less embarrassed about them!

Thanks for sharing!

User avatar
Posts: 1290
Joined: 26 Jul 2017, 01:48
2019 Reading Goal: 120
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 2
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 49
Currently Reading: Adrift
Bookshelf Size: 564
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Corners by Amy Lou Jenkins

Post by Kibetious » 22 Apr 2018, 14:18

Have not also seen such but this is funny indeed.
​​​​​​He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy :techie-studyinggray:

User avatar
Posts: 34
Joined: 16 Apr 2018, 22:27
2018 Reading Goal: 10
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 20
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 11
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Heartaches 2 by H.M. Irwing

Post by jo89220n » 22 Apr 2018, 21:13

I have read a lot of memoirs about eating disorders so I think the discussion of bodily functions in literature is a lot more important than we give it credit for. One that I can recall off the top of my head was called Thin. It's a bit different from the way functions are described in this book, but it was definitely interesting to read both extremes. Especially in nonfiction books like memoir, I found myself shocked with all of the tiny things I overlook everyday in regards to the things I do with my body.

Posts: 157
Joined: 21 Apr 2018, 01:56
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 21
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace by Julie Penshorn

Post by love_b00ks » 24 Apr 2018, 05:32

I'm not so sure how I feel about this. Half of my brain would say that there is no real use for it to be included but the other half would argue that it is quite natural, why do we almost never see/read any character do it? :eusa-think:

User avatar
Posts: 1535
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:31
Currently Reading: I, Claudia
Bookshelf Size: 52
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Just Drive by Deke N. Blue

Post by gen_g » 24 Apr 2018, 21:30

I think the description of bodily functions in books would be interesting - and would definitely lend the character/book an air of authenticity, making the characters more relatable.

User avatar
Posts: 268
Joined: 05 Apr 2018, 00:34
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 5
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 180
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 71
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: To Fall From Bliss by Christopher Card
Reading Device: B00M4L4NHY

Post by Supergirl1 » 27 Apr 2018, 02:10

This topic reminds me of a scene in one of the books in the series ”A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R.Martin, where Tyrion Lannister shoots his father who was taking a dump in the privy with a crossbow. It was kind of disgusting really.

User avatar
Posts: 186
Joined: 16 Apr 2018, 18:30
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 40
Currently Reading: Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat
Bookshelf Size: 29
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The Last Rite by Chad Morgan

Post by meadhbh » 29 Apr 2018, 14:44

I think because of the general lack of descriptions of such, when they are included they can be quite comical. Alternatively, I definitely think it's possible to use them to create a particularly vulnerable moment for a character. Definitely wouldn't put me off anyway!

User avatar
Posts: 82
Joined: 21 Apr 2018, 17:22
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 52
Currently Reading: Final Notice
Bookshelf Size: 43
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing

Post by SammiArch » 02 May 2018, 21:21

I thoroughly enjoy reading explicit or taboo topics such as sex, violence, and yes, even bodily function! I think it adds to the relatableness and depth of the story. Exploring anything (even the more touchy subjects) through reading still cultivates learning.
Sammi Arch

User avatar
Posts: 46
Joined: 11 Mar 2018, 15:08
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 20
Currently Reading: My trip to Adele
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Trip to Adele by R I Alyaseer and A I Alyaseer
Reading Device: B00UB76290

Post by grahase71 » 03 May 2018, 15:37

When done tactfully, there are places for bodily functions---especially since they really do happen. Some events can be extremely funny.

Post Reply

Return to “Discuss "The Reel Sisters" by Michelle Cummings”