Body by Harry Eugene Crews

Body by Harry Crews


Harry Eugene Crews, an American novelist, was born in 1935. He was a successful American novelist, short story writer, playwright and essayist.

He was a Marine in the Korean War. His first novel, “The Gospel Singer” was published in the year 1968. After that, he published a string of successful novels, earning him the accolades of being one of the most successful and popular novelists in his era.

He died in 2012.

The Premise

“Body” was Harry Eugene Crews’ 11th novel and one of the most popular ones. It is a wild and weird black comedy which dealt with the darker and satiric sides of women’s body building competition.

This is an oldie! Published in 1990 – didn’t even know there were women bodybuilders back then.

In “Body”, the author introduces us to a special character. The character of Russell “Muscle” Morgan whom also appeared in his acclaimed novel, “The Gypsy’s Curse”.

In this book, “Body”, the main character, Morgan is seen preparing a female body builder for a bodybuilding competition. The name of the female bodybuilder is Shereel Dupont.

DuPont is aimed to be in the famed and coveted Miss Universe competition. But, with turn of events, Morgan found out that the real name of Shereel is Dorothy Turnipseed.

He invites her immediate family to an event to surprise her. But her family brought a former lover from the backwoods of Georgia who causes all kinds of trouble for not only DuPont but now Morgan.

Racy humor is generated by the Turnipseed family, and to make matters worst conflict is supplied by Marvella, a big black woman who is Shereel’s only real competition.

The interplay among the leading characters is propelled with lean prose and dialog to an ending that is as shocking as it is inevitable. Among them, Nail Head is a prime character, who is the fiancée of Shereel just tops off the interplay like you wouldn’t believe.

My Take on the Story

I thought the dark and racy humor is somewhat hilarious, but I can see where others might have a different view.

The language of the book is not that hard and flows easily. The characters are basically made to feel like caricatures and the plot does not really have much in it.

But I think that was  plan of the author, to write not such a deep story but a funny, stereotypical, and light manner story.

There are a number of dialogues in this book and the events progress in a very dramatic manner. Although the seriousness of the book increases in the second part and the tone gets a little bit tougher than the previous sections.

The book is rather long and some may feel that the author could have squeezed it into half the pages that the book actually accumulated.

The book also gives you a pretty fair idea about how bodybuilders use steroids, cutting stack and how detailed they are to find the best bulking stack to gain advantages in bodybuilding.

I found an interesting contrast between the seriousness of preparing for competitions and the off-the-wall behavior towards it by the redneck family.

Overall, the book “Body’ is a slow read but you can enjoy the pace if you like a slow book with a lot of drama in it.


Overall, the book offers you a funny read. According to many reviewers and readers, this is Crews’ funniest book if not the greatest. I haven’t read any of his other books yet but this one is pretty funny for sure.

You will definitely enjoy the tone and the light heartedness of the characters. The events are funny and somewhat tragic but the whole thing is written in a manner to tickle the funny bone.

The book is engaging and there is a great chance that you will find this book is UnPutDownable once you start reading it.

Yep, second book in a row with muscle bound characters! But I did rate this book Unputdownable mostly because the dialog between the family and Shereel is classic.

As much as I liked these last two books. I need to cool my jets and find a more classic story line.