Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review and Giveaway: My Little Red Book

In honor of March being Women's History Month, many book bloggers are participating in a blog tour for My Little Red Book by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, starting today, International Women's Day.  In addition to my review, there will also be a guest post by the author, as well as a giveaway.

Review Copy Provided by: Hachette Book Group

About the Book:  MY LITTLE RED BOOK is an anthology of stories about first periods, collected from women of all ages from around the world. The accounts range from light-hearted (the editor got hers while water skiing in a yellow bathing suit) to heart-stopping (a first period discovered just as one girl was about to be strip-searched by the Nazis). The contributors include well-known women writers (Meg Cabot, Erica Jong, Gloria Steinem, Cecily von Ziegesar), alongside today's teens. And while the authors differ in race, faith, or cultural background, their stories share a common bond: they are all accessible, deeply honest, and highly informative. Whatever a girl experiences or expects, she'll find stories that speak to her thoughts and feelings.
Ultimately, MY LITTLE RED BOOK is more than a collection of stories. It is a call for a change in attitude, for a new way of seeing periods. In a time when the taboo around menstruation seems to be one of the few left standing, it makes a difficult subject easier to talk about, and helps girls feel proud instead of embarrassed or ashamed. By revealing what it feels like to undergo this experience first hand, and giving women the chance to explain their feelings in their own words, it aims to provide support, entertainment, and a starting point for discussion for mothers and daughters everywhere. It is a book every girl should have. Period. 

My Review:  As I was reading this book this week, I got a few crazy stares and questionable looks when asked what the book was about.  Oh well, if they only knew how good this book was.  What they wouldn't believe is that it was written by an 18 year old!  I didn't believe it either, but it's true.  Rachel Kauder Nalebuff started collecting the stories at age 13 and finished at 16.  She wanted to open people's eyes to the fact that periods are worth celebrating.  I really enjoyed reading the stories of other women who, like me, had a memorable first period.  Not memorable in the fact that it was great, but because something about that first period has stuck with them.  Some of the stories are funny, some embarrassing, others poignant, and a few heartbreaking.  I admire all of these women for being brave enough to share their stories with other women and essentially, the world, through this book.  A girl's first period is a rite of passage that we all go through to become women.  This book takes what some think is a bad thing and turns it into something to be embraced, talked about, and shared with others.  In the introduction, the author says, "...first periods are an awkward subject.  My Little Red Book is here to change that.  This book is an effort to help us embrace and therefore end the awkwardness.  Think about it this way, if Napoleon Dynamite can be cool, so can periods."  I love that!  I know it made me feel better about what I went through as I read these stories.  I found out that I was not alone in starting while I was at school and only knowing because of the stain on the back of my dress.  Needless to say I called my mother to come get me and was embarrassed to return to school to face all those other 6th graders who now knew what had happened to me.  I was not pleased at the time, but after reading these stories, I'm not ashamed and would tell others.  Women from all cultures are included int the book, and when their customs about starting their period is different than ours, the author adds notes to tell the reader about that custom.  I found that very enlightening and was pleased that the author did that.   Some of my favorite stories are: Burning Secret, 1966; A Jealous VaJayJay, 1981; Hot Dog on a String, 1993;  My Second First Period, 1977, and Where's My Belt, 1979.  You can see from the dates that these stories were from women of all ages.  The dates are the year they got their first period and they range from 1910 to the 2000s.  In the back of the book, the stories are indexed by subject, decade, and author.  I think that women will enjoy this collection of stories.  They will want to share it with their friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters.  As many women my age grew up reading Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? to learn about periods, today's young girls should read My Little Red Book.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, I have a copy of My Little Red Book to give away to one lucky reader.  Please leave a comment on this blog sharing about your first period.  I shared my story with you, so be inspired to share yours! 

Here is a list of the other blogs that are participating in the tour and what they will have at their blog.  Be sure to stop by and spread the love. - Review, giveaway, and guest blog. - Review - Review and giveaway. - Review and Guest blog - Review - Q&A - Review, Q&A, or Guest blog - Review, Q&A, or Guest blog - Review, Q&A, or Guest blog - Review, Guest blog, and giveaway - Review and Q&A - Guest blog - Review and giveaway - Guest blog - Guest Blog - Review and Guest blog - Review and Q&A - Review, giveaway, and Q


Unknown said...

I was on a school field trip an hour away. Luckily my mom explained everything about periods and I had sex education so I was expecting it. I just rolled up some toilet paper until I got home.


Meg89 said...

I don't remember the first time I got my period. I was younger, but still, I think it's a little strange.

Thanks for the giveaway!

meh471 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of regretting not being a part of this tour. I'd love to win this book As for me, I got my first period while my parents were out of town and we had my dad's co-worker (they were really good friends) staying at the house with us. Needless to say, I didn't tell him!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Just posted my review and giveaway at Brimful Curiosities so please don't enter me. Just wanted to say I enjoyed your review. I'm also amazed an 18-year-old edited the stories. Thanks for sharing your period story, too!

Anonymous said...

I distinctly remember my sister announcing to my father at dinner that I "had finally become a woman" and me just about dying of embarrassment. msmazzola at gmail dot com

Irene said...

Luckily, I started my period during summer vacation between 7th and 8th grade. In Catholic school with nuns, the subject was taboo. I oftened wondered how they handled that personal aspect of their lives while in school. Anyway, no info from Mom. When I told her, she handed me a belt, a pad, and said, "Don't tell any boys..." Fortunately, I sent away for an info packet, and was up to date. Funniest thing, Mom was upset when she saw the packet, but then told me my aunt wanted me to explain the "birds and bees," to my cousin.

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Simply Stacie said...

I was 11 years old when mine started. I remember playing Barbies the night before and pretending that my Barbie got her period. It was weird because mine came the next morning. I wasn't even at home and was at my friend's house. Her mom went to the store and bought me some pads.

Steph Su said...

I would LOVE to be able to read this book. I got my first period right after a morning of state-mandated testing in 7th grade. Ick! Luckily I was not bothered by it during the testing.

stephxsu at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Shel! I so meant to enter this! Speaking of people with crazy weeks..., I actually can't remember my first period. When I was in 5th grade, my mom took me to a special class at Planned Parenthood that did all the reproductive education as well as letting us look at pads & tampons - plus we got a bag full of goodies to practice with. I think that's why I don't remember - I didn't get my period until two or three years later, so by the time it came, I was over the whole excitement thing.

BUT - when I realized (also in 5th grade) that my chest had started growing, and my mom took me to get a training bra (which is still the size I wear, pretty much), I paraded out of the house that day when my dad got home and said, "Notice anything different?"

And he didn't. I remember my mother trailing behind me, amused, and she said, "Honey, men don't notice these things."

I SO sososososososososososososososo want to get my hands on a copy of this book.

Anonymous said...

Hey - so your background & header aren't showing on my computer (though it could be the connection). If you're having problems, drop me an email and I can look at it while I convalesce. :)

Anonymous said...

Did I miss the cut off? I have no idea how late it is...if so, sorry as I wanted to try but if not, yippee

Diana D said...

I would love to read this book. Thanks for having the wonderful giveaway.

dianad8008 AT gmail DOT com

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