BOOKS: I Am an Emotional Creature

Eve Ensler, acclaimed author of The Vagina Monologues, has a lot to say about women, and now, girls. After promoting her theatrical hit around the globe and in turn creating the "V-Day" movement, Ensler has come back with I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.

Emotional Creature finds Ensler channeling the voices of adolescent girls and penning confessional first-person narratives inspired by the young women she experienced on her travels. Through poetry and journal entries, she imagines the plight of girls from the U.S., Iran, The Congo, China, Palestine, and more. To older readers and Ensler fans, these works may come across as overly simplistic and less than thought-provoking as she tackles eating disorders, human trafficking, teen sex and child labor through adolescent voices. But overall, the project is commendable, and notable for the author's ability to find a common emotional thread connecting young women around the globe.

To explore such weighty issues in an accessible, yet intimate way can be no small task for the average writer. But Ensler has discovered a powerful means by which to inspire and educate her audience on urgent issues that seem highly necessary to address.

In the U.S., women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from clinical depression as men, with half of all mental illnesses occurring before the age of 14, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, roughly 3 percent of American women have an eating disorder.

An estimated 2 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion dollar commercial sex industry, according to UNICEF. And an estimated 100 to 140 million young women and girls are currently living with the negative health consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) worldwide.

At her most compelling, Ensler's writing explores the complicated mind of a U.S. teen charting her own "success" in starvation, or the disturbingly disciplined life of a Congolese sex slave, in which her second rule is: "Never look at him when he is raping you."

The idea behind Emotional Creature, however, is best summarized in the author's own words: "Like a woman claiming her body, a girl claiming her emotions breaks a silence and unleashes a vast resource of clean energy, an energy that can inspire all of us to transform and heal the world."