Shannon Waite
3 min readMay 18, 2024

Boy Parts: A Book Review

PREFACE: If this is your first trip to my blog, I write a lot of transgressive fiction and my blog posts are resources for other transgressive writers. I offer book reviews, transgressive topics for inspiration, research on social change, and creative writing techniques. The review below is meant to explore this novel as a transgressive fiction text. Welcome!

A photo of Eliza Clark’s book Boy Parts

Are you nosey? Because if you are, Boy Parts is for you and isn’t for you, all at the same time.

Somewhat of a fever dream of sorts, Boy Parts is a novel centered around the narrator, Irina, who is a photographer in the middle of her own crisis. Based in New Castle, she obsessively takes photographs, mostly dark and sexual photographs of men. Her photographer path began in art school in London where she developed her edgy path of challenging the way women are typically portrayed by spinning men in a similar light. After a series of impactful relationships and critiques, Irina left school and works at a bar while handing out her business card to strangers she meets in public of whom she’d like to take photos of. By the end of the book and her quest for capturing men, things turn dark.

In the midst of desperation for an art career that she wants but would never admit to, she spirals in and out of the drug, alcohol, and sex scene with friends. She manipulates everyone around her, including herself.

Irina is not a great friend, and unless you want to be invited to the party, you probably wouldn’t want to be her friend either. That being said, she’s convincing, and it’s easy to listen to her and follow along — that is, follow along until there’s not much left to follow. Throughout this dizzy story, Eliza Cark points fingers at gender roles, consent, and reality.

The book uses graphic scenes to draw attention to thematic elements. The plot is dark and unexpected, especially being that it comes from a woman in (I think) her 20s, which really develops those thematic elements even more. This plot feels like a journey and insight into the modern damaged psyche and how our society fuels it. While it’s easy to hate Irina, the reader also has to ask him or herself, is she that much different from them? Could anyone else’s life also ended up this way had a few things been different? What is the cost of being the best, or making it out on top?

Underneath the chaos and scenes that seem unrealistic, there’s a lot of serious messages woven in the middle. Being driven by an outright perfect antihero, this book makes absolutely no sense in a maddening way (as is life), but all the sense at the same time because of course, after reading that other thing that happened at the beginning, it makes sense somehow that she’d do this here near the end. I kept thinking that over and over, but all the same, didn’t want to. It didn’t need to turn out this way… did it?

For anyone who likes transgressive work, like the edgy, dark, and unacceptable things, this book will give you what you expect, while also addressing modern taboos and issues around gender, sexuality, consent, and control, all combined with truth.

Shannon Waite

Shannon Waite is an author focused on transgression and social change and, largely, how to combine the two.