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Living Well, Despite Catching Hell: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex and Happiness [Paperback]

by Melody T. McCloud M.D
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 20, 2010 0964355477 978-0964355477 First
Sex, health, happiness and know you want it! And there's no better time than now for having it all and 'gettin' it good! But sometimes factors get in the way, and it can be hell.

Disparaging images in the media. The subject of misogynistic lyrics and derogatory comments from famous celebrities and bloggers unknown. Colorism. The largest demographic of women who live as head-of-household and a growing shortage of marriage-minded (and marriage-worthy) Black men. These are just some of the ways Black women proverbially 'catch hell' in today's society.

As if the attack on their image and psyche isn't enough, Black women also disproportionately suffer from killer diseases such as diabetes, cancer, infant mortality, HIV/AIDS and more. Yet despite all the psycho-social attacks (the 'hell') Black women face, they have the lowest rate of suicide compared to other demographics and many live phenomenally well as cherished wives, trailblazing professionals and entrepreneurs.

But these struggles are rarely validated, and these successes rarely acknowledged. Living Well, Despite Catchin Hell is a book that does just that. It provides head-to-toe medical advice on heart disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, fibroid tumors and other medical diagnoses, and it acknowledges the direct effect such social rejection and attacks (the 'hell') that Black women experience on a near-daily basis have on their psyche and physical health. How some Black women hurt their own lives and well-being will also be examined.

The physician-author's groundbreaking 'Rejection Connection' flowchart clearly demonstrates how these social stressors significantly contribute to the continuing state of Black women s health. It serves as a much needed eye-opener, not only to women readers, but also to media executives, health professionals, sociologists and others who seek to understand and mitigate the causative factors adversely affecting today s Black woman.

With an upbeat approach (and with health as the common thread woven through each section), Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell is professional medical advice, sexology, sociology, psychology, dashes of pop culture and hefty doses of personal responsibility. It is the one-source, go-to health reference Black women need in order to live healthy, happy, long and strong in the 21st century. (An E-book version will be available later this year.)

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Editorial Reviews


A comprehensive guide to help us ensure total health. Each chapter contains a thorough look at the issues Black women face, and offers several solutions to many of these issues. I dedicate my voice to support Dr. McCloud in reaching our Black women. --Pauletta Washington, musician and wife of Denzel Washington

This book clearly lays out the physiological and psychological stressors that negatively impact Black women's lives, how these women have historically turned their pain to power, and how you, too, a phenomenal life! -- Dr. Jeff Gardere, psychologist and TODAY Show contributor

A wealth of up-to-date information; very important and valuable. An enormously important book. Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell needs to be read by all Black women and the men who love them. -- Kenneth C. Edelin, M.D., Professor Emeritus, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston University

Dr. McCloud is an excellent ambassador for health advocacy and women's public health concerns. Her books are sophisticated, data-rich, yet easily relatable. I offer my highest, most enthusiastic endorsement. --Robert M. Franklin, Jr., Ph.D., President, Morehouse College

What effect does negative media imagery, low marriage statistics, colorism, "down-low" men, vile lyrics (and more) have on Black women?  In Living Well, Dr. Melody tells us how these things affect more than just our spirits, but also our physical health; and she tells us how to live well in spite of it all. Living a book of education, celebration and motivation! --Sophia A. Nelson, commentator and author of Black Woman Redefined

Dr. McCloud has been in the forefront of the movement to empower and educate women. Her new book, LIVING the only one of its kind to deal with both the physical and psychological factors that continue to impact African-American women. --Cynthia Y. Hooper, Presiding Officer, The National Organization for African-American Women

About the Author

Dr. Melody T. McCloud is an obstetrician-gynecologist, author of Blessed Health: The African-American Woman s Guide to Physical & Spiritual Well-being , and Melodies of the Heart: Poems of Life & Love . She is a media consultant, a health expert consultant to the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and lectures across the nation discussing women's health, sex and social issues. She is the winner of the 2012 Health-Care Heroes 'Physician' Award, per the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: New Life Publishing; First edition (December 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964355477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964355477
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,297,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Melody T. McCloud is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of "LIVING WELL...DESPITE CATCHIN' HELL: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex and Happiness." Dr. McCloud lectures nationwide on women's health, sex and social issues and hosts a Health and Happiness blog at She is a member of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, serves on an advisory council to the Centers for Disease Control and is a recipient of numerous awards. Called a trailblazing 'Renaissance woman' since the 1970s, McCloud is a media consultant with appearances on many broadcast networks. She is a health expert to the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and her articles have been printed in numerous local and national publications. She is affiliated with Emory University Hospital Midtown, is also an award-winning poet and an occasional voice-over talent.

In "Living Well," the foreword is written by Pauletta Washington--wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington, and other endorsements are from TODAY Show contributor, Dr. Jeff Gardere; Dr. Kenneth Edelin and others. The "hell" Black women face consists of dismal health stats, negative images in the media, colorism, low marriage statistics and other social stressors. It explains how these social stressors adversely affect Black women's health, and how many Black women are living well while others aspire to do just that.

Dr. McCloud's other books include BLESSED HEALTH: The African-American Woman's Guide to Physical and Spiritual Well-being (Simon & Schuster); 'Being Honest with God and Me: Questions for Your Soul' (a spiritual inventory workbook), and 'Medical Bloopers.' Her poetry book, 'Melodies of the Heart: Poems of Life & Love' is now available as an E-book. After LIVING WELL, Dr. McCloud plans to write her memoir.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Title: Visual texture, medicine, sex & hot topics! January 2, 2011
The shaded boxes and bar graphs give visual texture throughout the book; it's not just all words. That made the topics stand out. The STD statistics are eye-opening. Seeing the graphs was like seeing a "picture", and I hadn't seen the information presented like that before. The author doesn't use the term African-American, she only uses Black American, and she steps on some toes, so there are sure to be some conversations started with this one! To young girls, Dr. McCloud advises them to "Close Your Legs, Be Well Read, Tend that Body and Sweat that Head." The index (in my copy) is not complete, but maybe will be expanded next time. The bibliography was extensive and crossed many spectrums--medicine, pop culture, social issues. I recommend the book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gut check for black men and women. January 1, 2011
My wife just got this book last week and I've read through most of it; the title caught my eye. I agree with Dr. Edelin above that it should be read by women and men. The book is well researched/referenced. Some of the sex data left me speechless; young people and parents need to see it.

The author's color Rejection Connection flowchart identifies ways that men and society at large have often disrespected black women and how some have disrespected themselves. McCloud calls these "social stressors" which affect women's physical health.

The author holds hope for a better black community and gives prescriptions for how to get there. That's where some tough love and straight talk comes in, but it's well expressed and much needed. Sometimes we don't like the truth. There's medical information, some humor, some personal anecdotes and even some steamy poems, as well (Hey!). The doctor is also a poet--all we need is some music and there'd be a song.

Overall, we both think this book is a comprehensive well-written guide to better living for all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Today's Woman of Color June 6, 2011
Dr. Melody T. McCloud has done it again with her new release, Living Well...Despite Catchin' Hell: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex, and Happiness. Dr. Mccloud is a renowned Atlanta obstetrician-gynecologist, media consultant and national speaker who is also the author of the best seller, Blessed Health: The African-American Woman's Guide to Physical & Spiritual Well-Being.

The book's forward is written by Pauletta Washington, wife of renowned actor and Academy Award winner Denzel Washington who writes, "Living Well is a comprehensive guide to help us ensure total health, and a thorough look at the issues Black women face." Living Well addresses the psycho-social factors that affect Black women's physical lives which include disparaging images in teh media, colorism, low marriage statistics, and the down-low phenomenon put Black women in a unique category.

This new release is written in conversational tone and has easy-to-read and understand chapters about head-to-toe medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. In one of the sections of the book, Dr. McCloud tells young ladies to "Close your legs, be well read, tend that body, and sweat that head." The author's social commentary is oftentimes direct and calls many to task . She gives a nice prescription of 'tough love' to Black men and women and celebrates the many that have done well.

Living Well...Despite Catchin' Hell: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex and Happiness is professional guide for medical advice, sexology, sociology, psychology, dashes of pop culture and hefty doses of personal responsibility. This book is an important guide in navigating the pressing health issues involving millions of Black women. This book is a must read for any woman of color.
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