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My Little Red Book Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 26, 2009

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, February 26, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These brief, engaging and oh-so-revealing anecdotes (90 in all) about first-time periods are written by a vast array of authors, professionals and youth. Edited by a freshman at Yale with a global mission (the Do More section at the back lists women's health and reproductive-rights charities), and modeled wittily on Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, these short essays tenderly cover the gamut of grief and embarrassment, joy and disappointment that accompanies the onslaught of menses, written by women from ages 15 to 101. Mostly, these authors concur that Mom didn't tell us much; we didn't expect the big moment even if we had been prompted by reading Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; and suddenly becoming a woman proved rather more irritating than momentous. These accounts are touching and brave—The Curse, 1939, in which Lola Gerhard writes of starting to bleed cluelessly in the orphanage where she lived and being simply handed a big bandage and a belt (That was it for sex education); enduring the Old World ritual of being slapped by one's mother or ostracized, as one Indian author writes in Locked in a Room with Dosai, 1962; a more enthusiastic reaction by feminist mothers. Gloria Steinem's reprinted If Men Could Menstruate (1978) acts as a fulcrum, while others determined to break the silence rage, reminisce and resolve to banish the shame for their own daughters. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—After finishing these recollections by women of their first menstrual period, readers cannot help but be struck by three things: what a defining moment it was, how far society has come, and how often Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (Yearling, 1970) is mentioned as a source of information and comfort. The 18-year-old editor recounts her story of her 12-year-old self caught unaware while waterskiing and dropped off, by her embarrassed grandfather, at a pharmacy where she found herself searching for sanitary products in an aisle featuring incontinence supplies. The women queried are as well known as Erika Jong and as little known as Nalebuff's younger sister. The earliest recollection is Henrietta Wittenberg's, remembering in her 100th year, of her worry in 1916 about sitting on a man's lap. The most recent story, from 2008, is Jacquelyn Mitchard's memory of getting the "curse" and her contrastingly comforting words to her sixth-grade daughter. Some memories are magical (snorkeling with a dolphin in the Caribbean Sea); some are heart wrenching (a Holocaust survivor's escape from a Nazi strip search); others embarrassing at the time but humorous in retrospect. For most female readers, the stories will be poignantly familiar. The subject index is particularly informative and includes YA authors and "Unusual Customs." A glossary of euphemisms is fun and enlightening, and the bibliography contains health resources, fiction and nonfiction, and informative Web sites.—Jackie Gropman, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library System, Fairfax, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve (February 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446546364
  • ASIN: B003H4RDWY
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Desirea J. Rodgers on February 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I started reading MLRB last night and could not put it down! Actually, I did have to put it down after a couple of hours to go to a friend's birthday gathering. I met my friend and several other girlfriends at a coffee shop. Soon after we sat down, I began to tell them about the book -- they were so intrigued and it began a beautiful discussion on first-period stories that lead into puberty and eventually how we feel about our bodies today. I then went home and showed my husband and a male friend of ours and that led to an open discussion about what it is like for young girls growing up and eventually led into how we will talk with our daughter in years to come. I have to say, I found both my husband and our friend reading the book throughout the night, they would even read sections of the book aloud. I never thought I would sit in a room with two men while we laughed with an eleven year old girl as she kept her "secret" and then were deeply touched by her courage surrounding her fist period. This book is another door opening on issues of sexuality, womanhood, shame, and value of girls and women that not only speaks to girls and women but to men as well.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Freedman on February 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Books by Robie Harris and others are, thankfully, available on shelves to ably help parents explain and children understand the the birds and the bees; they are necessary, medically accurate, and attentive to the feelings of children as their bodies grow and change. But... if you were a twelve year old girl and full of questions you were too embarrassed to ask anyone, would you be all that eager to read those books, even if they were immediately accessible, and had very conscientiously been given to you by an adult you love and trust? Maybe. It would be a good thing if you did. But I think that stories are what we crave. And that twelve year old girls would much rather read ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET. Or, MY LITTLE RED BOOK - a collection of stories from girls and women of all ages from all over the world, about their first periods.

Of course twelve year old girls are not necessarily the only audience for this book, but I came away feeling that they are the ones who would relish it the most. It's the real scoop, as though told to you by your best girlfriends, your mom, your grandmother. Because the honest stories are both all the same and all different, they are reassuring. And all are stitched together and edited by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, eighteen at the time the book was written, whose friendly and sincere teenage voice enhances the open tone of the book. And while the stories themselves are compelling, I think it is that openness that is the book's greatest strength. Because it invites and encourages women and girls to share their stories with each other, and most especially celebrates talk between mothers and daughters.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Diane on February 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I laughed, I cried and then I ordered the book for all my friends so we could talk about the beginning, the end, and the real beauty and wonder of being a woman.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Some of these essays about first periods are hilarious. Others are informative, written by women who "came of age" in a much earlier time or in different countries.

I would not pass this book on to a young prepubescent girl to read on her own. Some of the essays are too mature for someone that young.

However, I have enjoyed sharing SOME of them with my 10-year-old daughter. One of my favorites is "Hot Dog on a String" by Ellen Devine. Yes, it's fairly explicit, but it was also funny, and I think it properly addressed the mysteries of the tampon that a young girl might have.

My daughter doesn't like to have conversations about "it," but she did enjoy hearing the essays I read (even though she didn't want to look at me or I at her while I was reading). She's curious, and this satisfied some of her curiosity, and instead of saying, "Mom, I don't want to talk about it!" actually requested that I read her another one.

This is great bedside (or yes -- bathroom) reading, because the essays are short (some as short as a paragraph and others are a few pages long) and to-the-point.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Gottlieb on February 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I wish I had a book like this when I was a teenager! It's such a brilliant idea, I can't believe nobody has put together stories like these before. For most girls, getting your period is something you talk about in private, if at all. It's embarrassing. It's scary. It's funny. You wonder if you're "normal." Did you get it too early? Too late? In the wrong place at the wrong time?

But now, with these hilarious and moving true stories, women of all ages can relate to the mix of gross-out, pride, and confusion of that very first period, something almost every woman remembers in vivid detail but doesn't often discuss.

The editor is a teenager herself, and what makes this even more unique is that she's collected stories from celebrities to your average girl, and from people who are now grandmothers to those who just purchased their first tampon.

I highly recommend these wonderful stories for everything from book clubs to school discussion groups to, of course, slumber parties. A must-read for mothers and daughters alike.
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