|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Erzsi Deak
Review by Anne Philbrow on Jul 13th 2004
This is an
anthology of stories for 8 -12 year old girls about first experiences of
menstruation. Every woman has her own story. My granny was terrified, not
having been warned, and thought she was dying. 90 years later, my friend
marked her daughter's onset of menarche with a trip to McDonalds followed by
the cinema with friends. Even with this noticeably different attitude, the
girl didn't let on to her friends what they were actually celebrating.
Nowadays, let us hope, our
daughters are knowing enough not to be frightened by the onset of menstruation.
At least they will know the mechanics of it. Yet there is a dearth of
literature on emotional and social reactions. It is strange to observe all
these older girls and women going about their normal business when you just
know one in four of them is hiding a Big Secret. For all our openness, it is
still a relatively taboo subject. So it is good to see a book for girls full
of stories of the protagonist's – most of the stories are written in the first
person – own experiences and attitudes towarsd menstruation. Excitement,
revulsion, humour, curiosity, celebration, denial – it's all there.
When I started
reading this collection, I thought the descriptions were autobiographical,
which is testimony to the authenticity of the experience. But, as one of the
contributors, Dian Curtis Regan says, 'Everything is true and nothing is
true'. Some of the stories are in fact true, but all of them are drawn from a
commonality of genuine experience, with which any girl can recognise and
identify. A broad range of places and times are represented – Mexico, India, the United States – and different attitudes accordingly.
Nevertheless, American experience dominates.
acknowledging the idea behind this – presumably to underscore the universality
of the experience, and to demonstrate different cultural attitudes towards this
time of change – as a British reader, if I were to use this to introduce the
subject to my daughter, I would prefer some contemporary snapshots of British
life. But perhaps that's a different book.
although overtly about menstruation, is really about growing up, and menstruation
is part of the initiation. For example, one of the characters puts a positive
slant on her new experience:
'Well, Sophie, I
think as I walk into the shop, if I can have a baby like you someday, then I
guess it's worth all that mess of being born female. Afterward I think I'll
get coffeee ice-cream. It's more grown-up than my usual chocolate.'
There are stories
here to address a range of hopes, fears and emotions, and the dreaded 'what if's',
that are hard to voice. What if it happens in public and you bleed through
your clothes? 'White Pants' is a true story of such mortification. And it
shows you you can survive this – what is a big deal to you, isn't such a big
deal to anyone else.
I would recommend
this book as a gift to any girl approaching puberty, to reassure her she is not
alone. Owing to the commonality of experience, I would also consider using
some of the stories as a discussion starter in women's groups. We all have
stories to tell. Let's hear more of them, and celebrate this time of
2004 Anne Philbrow
Anne Philbrow writes of herself:
I am a self-employed video producer and
teach music and drama on a part-time basis. I have a BA Hons in Philosophy from
UCW, Aberystwyth, UK and have done postgraduate research in
Moral and Social Philosophy, specializing in Animal Rights. In my spare time, I
do some freelance writing (book and theater reviews, articles) and have
contributed to Philosophy in Review. I am a user of mental health services.