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Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control Paperback – October 7, 2013

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Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control + Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Holly Grigg-Spall is fearless, and her courageous advocacy on behalf of
women whose stories are too often silenced is a model for others trying
to make positive change through health activism. Read the book and get
inspired, get angry, and most importantly get information. Sweetening
the Pill is exactly the thing needed to energize and mobilize this
important women's health conversation."
-- Laura Eldridge, author of In Our Control: The Complete Guide to
Contraceptive Choices for Women and co-author and co-editor with Barbara
Seaman of The No-Nonsense Guide to Menopause.

About the Author

Holly Grigg-Spall's writing has featured in the UK Independent and Times newspapers and the Washington Post. She has contributed to the Ms. Magazine blog, re:Cycling, the F Bomb, Bedside Manners, and Bitch magazine. She lives in California, USA.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (October 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780996071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780996073
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Holly Grigg-Spall is a women's health activist and writer.

The release of her first book 'Sweetening the Pill' has received international coverage from the BBC, CBC, Elle magazine (US), the Sunday Times (UK), the Guardian (UK), New York magazine, the Daily Mail (UK), Slate, Bitch, xoJane, the Huffington Post, Think Progress, Sainsbury's magazine, the Washington Post, the Independent (UK), and the New Inquiry.

For more see the website: www.sweeteningthepill.com

The book was optioned in February 2014 by Ricki Lake and is the basis of a documentary in development, to be directed by Abby Epstein.

She lives in California, USA.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Kristin J. Johnson VINE VOICE on September 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
In the first ten pages, Holly Grigg-Spall delivers an impassioned description of The Problem, told from personal experience: While Taking Yaz/Yasmin, she thought she was losing her mind. Her sanity, her work as a writer, and, she thought, everything she held dear was collapsing,

In delving into the problem with a trusted girlfriend, a doctor who did not dismiss her concerns, groundbreaking books, her then-boyfriend now-husband, and women that had taken to the Internet to air their personal stories, Ms. Grigg-Spall realized that Yaz was wreaking havoc with her body and mind--and yet, even after stopping it for good, the allure of the Pill beckoned.

To be blunt, Ms. Grigg-Spall has plenty of attitude, wit, and insight and spares no one in the birth control debate--population control advocates, capitalism, our warped commercialized view of sexuality, the patriarchy, pharmaceutical companies, the religious right, the Pill evangelical feminists on the Left who silence any criticism of the Pill's and in particular Yaz's serious emotional and physical side effects. It is refreshing to see Ms. Grigg-Spall take on all comers and argue for a portrait of women that isn't perfect, that allows, nay, encourages dissent. There is a lot to criticize about this drug, Yaz, and hormonal BC as well and the way cultural icons "Om NOM NOM" the Pill and Yaz in particular. The labyrinthine daisy-chain forged by the pharmaceutical companies, society, eugenics, the culture, the success treadmill, even other women (!) gets skewered and dissected here.

"Who am I when I'm not on the pill?" This is a question the author asks herself.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By DannerGirl on September 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
The author has well-researched her topic and is very passionate about it as well. Most American women are put on birth control at a young age without understanding their bodies or their options. The side effects include indigestion, weigh gain, depression, low libido and then a loss of fertility coming off the pill. True women's liberation doesn't come in a pill, it comes in our understanding of our nature.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Geneva Lewis VINE VOICE on November 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this to be an exceptional book, and I take the Pill. This was not an easy state to arrive at, with my reluctance to depend on a powerful medication and full knowledge of how the medication worked- by suppressing the normal ebb and flow of pituitary hormones that trigger the 28-day cycle. I had come across Ms. Griggs-Spall's blog some years ago when I was having challenges with the Pill, in particular Yasmin. I questioned its impact on my health and emotional state, as did Ms. Griggs-Spall. I, too, had difficulty going off the medication, and after a significant break returned to the medication informed, wiser as to what it does and doesn't do to for my situation. In my case the benefits far outweigh the negatives, but I had to come to that choice deliberately, with full information and weighing both costs and benefits.

This book is a thoughtfully wrought and powerful manifesto directed at the forces that control our world and how they impact women- including corporations, consumerism, capitalism, sexism, and a culture that sexualizes and commodifies women, often with our consent. Based on Ms Griggs-Spall's early prescription for The Pill as a teenager, from a place of expectation of impending sexual activity and because it was "the thing to do," (which lasted over ten years) Ms. Griggs-Spall's book is part memoir, part historical narrative, and current-day examination of The Pill. She particularly focuses her research on the so-called "fourth-generation" Pill (Yasmin/Yaz) that contains ethinyl estradiol (synthetic estrogen) and a novel progestin (synthetic progesterone) called drospirenone, which has anti-mineralcorticoid, antiandrogenic, and spironolactone-like effects, along with a higher risk of thromboembolism than equivalent pills.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Flanders on May 9, 2015
Format: Paperback
Back when my husband was in medical school, his pharmacology textbook listed seven full pages of adverse side effects associated with oral contraceptive use, including:

- heart attacks
- strokes
- liver tumors
- blood clots
- gall bladder disease
- migraine headaches
- depression
- loss of vision
- urinary tract infections
- yeast infections
- weight gain
- thyroid problems
- high blood sugar

…as well as an increased risk of infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects even after discontinuing use of the Pill.

That was enough to convince us we’d made the right decision when, as newlyweds, we opted to forgo hormonal contraceptives three years (and two babies) earlier.

Yet when we shared this information with family and friends, they remained skeptical. “If the Pill were really that unsafe,” they reasoned, “then doctors wouldn’t prescribe it.”

Fast forward 25 years, and we’re still having those same discussions. That’s why my husband recently bought me a copy of Sweetening the Pill: How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control.

Sweetening the Pill The author, Holly Grigg-Spall, writes from an ultra-liberal, pro-abortion, anti-Christian, doctor-bashing, communist-sympathizing, sexually-licentious radical feminist perspective.

In other words, she is my ideological opposite.

Yet on one point we can emphatically agree: that there are compelling reasons to reject hormonal contraceptives that have nothing to do with religion.

I found the book refreshing (despite the author’s rather one-dimensional representation of folks — like me — who do not share her political agenda).
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