Monday, March 9, 2009

My Little Red Book - Review and Giveaway


"When older girls said the word, I just thought they were talking about sentence structure." - "Burning Secret, 1966"; My Little Red Book edited by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff

Yes, My Little Red Book is a book about first periods, Aunt Flow, the monthly visitor...whatever you like to call that time of the month. I admit at first I wasn't exactly excited about reading about menstruation. But, I quickly found that the book contained a mesmerizing, powerful compilation of stories gathered from women of all generations and corners of the world. Famous writers, from Meg Cabot to Gloria Steinem included their stories alongside stories written by ordinary women and teenagers.

Several of stories made me laugh out loud, like Yulia's account in "Mattress Pad, 1990" about her creative use of a pad for her doll's mattress (she was only six and didn't have the slightest clue about sanitary pads). In another story, "Proper Disposal," one young girl not versed in proper disposal, tried to flush her pad down her friend's parent's toilet and eventually her friend's flustered dad discovered it all bloated up the size of a phone book. And, in my favorite account, one woman told her story of using tampons for earplugs during a loud concert! Some of the more somber stories relayed experiences of confusion about rust-colored spotting (why no red blood?) and worry about death. Editor Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, only 18 years old, did a remarkable job in assembling a broad range of stories that all tweens, teens and women should appreciate.

My own first period pretty much passed by without fanfare. I actually remember very little so it must have been a rather "painless" transition. I was 13 and at home on summer break. My period happened; I dealt with it. Yes, that is the end of my story. I was prepared. In fifth grade, the teachers separated the boys from the girls in my class and each group watched a filmstrip (or maybe slideshow, can't remember which) that discussed body changes. I think I remember receiving a little packet of information and samples at this time. Guess this successfully prepared me for what was to come. I do remember some drama involved in trying to figure out how to use a tampon, while my mom calmly explained the steps involved. Most of all, I'm quite thankful that nothing embarrassing or out-of-the ordinary happened that first time.

However, I do clearly remember an incident that happened during 8th grade. In our school, you could buy tampons and pads from the vending machine in the girls' bathroom. But, that wasn't the only spot the feminine products were located. My friends discovered the empty end stall in the bathroom held the boxes of supplies to stock the machine. They quickly determined they could access these boxes by crawling under the door and obtain free products. One time, one of my friends decided she needed a pad so another friend crawled to get one and slid it across the floor. A seventh grade teacher happened to walk into the bathroom at the same time and witnessed the whole stealing of the pad. She led us all to her empty classroom and sternly lectured us on appropriate conduct for ladies.

Like Jacquelyn Mitchard says, "Much has changed, and much of it for the better." I'm grateful that my own experience was not wrought with the confusion and worry my own grandmother surely felt. I'm also hopeful that my own daughter's experience will be similar to mine and that she will feel comfortable asking me questions when the time comes. Unfortunately, even with the gains made in past years, for many the subject is still awkward to discuss. My Little Red Book provides useful, empowering stories that unite all women and sets precedence in opening up communication about a once taboo subject. I'll certainly share the book with my own daughter someday.
My Little Red Book edited by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff. Twelve; Hachette Book Group (February 2009); 240 pages; ISBN 9780446546362



Win a copy! Hachette Publishing Group has kindly offered to give away one (1) copy of My Little Red Book to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, visit Do More - My Little Red Book and leave a comment naming one charity mentioned on the website dedicated to women's health (or for an easier entry leave a comment with your own period story.)
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, March 23th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

66 comments:

YZgirl4 said...

Planned Parenthood aims at woman's health


yzgirl4 at verizon dot net

shelburns said...

No need to enter me. Just stopped by to read your review for the tour. Loved what you had to say!

bridget3420 said...

My first period happened when I was on a school field trip. I knew what was happening because my mom told me all about. After she talked to me about it, we had sex ed at school, so I got a second dose! I just went to the bathroom and rolled up some toilet paper.

bridget3420(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lori said...

My first period happened the night before we were supposed to go to a local wave pool. With my mom's friend. And her SON. I begged my mom not to tell her friend the reason why we weren't going, for fear that she would tell her son. I was 13. This would be a great book to share with my daughter, who is almost 11 and wading into this territory.

Ally in WA said...

Planned Parenthood is one charity that focuses on Women's reproductive health.

espressogurl(at)hotmail(dot)com

shopannies said...

twitter
http://twitter.com/shopannies/status/1315690969

shopannies@Yahoo.com

Anita Yancey said...

Choice USA. Great review! Please enter me.

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Anita Yancey said...

I am a follower! Thanks for having this giveaway.

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Irene Yeates said...

Luckily, my first period started during summer vacation between 7th and 8th grades. I had already sent away for info on a subject my mother never discussed with me. When I told her, she gave me a belt, a pad, and said, "Don't tell any boys..."

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

ibeeeg said...

I subscribed to your blog via Google Reader

ibeeeg(at)gmail(dot)com

Meredith said...

Planned Parenthood is one of their charities.
meredycat*lycos*com

Meredith said...

I follow you on Twitter under Meredycat and tweeted.
meredycat*lycos*com

Pam said...

One of the organizations is "Health and Water Foundation". Sounds like a worthy cause!!

rmc1ra said...

I was 11 and the last one to get it in my "clique". I remember telling my friend and her mother and they were very excited. I remember to my mortification her older brother who overheard saying,"Oh great, let's have a period party!" I HAD a crush on him that quickly evaporated after that statement.

rmc1ra(at)aol(dot)com

Christina G. said...

One such charity is the Health and Water Foundation. Thanks for the giveaway!

Christina G. said...

I blogged: http://extra-entries.blogspot.com/2009/03/brimful-curiosities-my-little-red-book.html

Christina G. said...

I followed on twitter and tweeted: http://twitter.com/bayview99/status/1337571690

Alice H said...

One of the charities mentioned is The Campaign for Female Education - thanks for the chance! alicedemske at hotmail.com

stampedwithgrace said...

with 5 girls, I think I really need to win this book :)

I was almost 12, and I just remember being glad that I wasn't the last of my friends to start!

stampedwithgrace at cox dot net

bleu said...

Real Life Real Talk teaches parents to talk openly with their children about sex.

bleuteam at gmail dot com

mary said...

we love books please sign us up, since I'm still working with kids at schools in our area teaching them to read more books the better around here, plus once one of my kids read it, its going to work its way through our family before going to schools.

Melanie said...

Action For Southern Africa is working to provide Sanitary supplies for women.



clarkmurdock@yahoo.com

Jammie said...

Love146... Works mostly in South east asia to help combat the sex trafficking

Anonymous said...

One charity is Planned Parenthood.
-Terra H.
partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tiffany819 said...

I will never forget the day I started my period. I was on the school bus and luckily close to home. I was hurting so bad, I had never felt pain in my stomach like that before. I'm just glad no one saw. Thanks for the giveaway!

Stacy said...

I had my first period when I was in 5th grade and we had a school swimming party planned for the next day. I remember learning to use tampons (quite uncomfortably) just so I could join my friends.

smannion {at} parentingtipsdaily {dot} com

Stacy said...

I follow your Blog!

smannion {at} parentingtipsdaily {dot} com

Stacy said...

Followed On Twitter and Tweeted! http://www.twitter.com/ParentTipsDaily

smannion {at} parentingtipsdaily {dot} com

Stacy said...

Giveaway Blogged! http://scarletpurls.blogspot.com/2009/03/brimful-of-giveaways.html

smannion {at} parentingtipsdaily {dot} com

goodiegurl96 said...

Like a scene from a movie my period came on independence day. I was so embarrassed i tucked my panties in the bottom drresser of my bathroom. To make a long story short, my mom found it and gushed to all my cousins about how cute it was that it happened on july 4th while holding my panties.

Brianna said...

Planned Parenthood aims at woman's health


crimsonpawprints (at) yahoo.com

lilyk said...

One charity mentioned on the website dedicated to women's health is Planned Parenthood.

Paradox said...

I subscribed to your RSS feed on Google Reader.

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Paradox said...

I followed you on Twitter (I'm ParadoxRevealed.)

I tweeted about the giveaway here: http://twitter.com/ParadoxRevealed/status/1379962141

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com