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My Little Red Book
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My Little Red Book

4.5 18
by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff
 

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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

Overview

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 READ 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.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Western readers will find the global perspectives eye-opening... The authors' candor and accessibility and the extensive appended resource sections make this an obvious choice for teens... A rich, welcome collection for readers of various ages and, perhaps surprisingly, more than one gender."
Jezebel.com
"Some girls dread their periods, some girls crave them, some girls think they're not normal until they get their periods, and some fear they're abnormal when they do get them. MY LITTLE RED BOOK takes a little of that mystery away, replacing it with humor and information - not just about tampons, but also about how girls in Kenya, New Zealand, Brooklyn, and Oklahoma reacted to their first visit from Aunt Flo. The book would make a good addition to a first-period kit."
Gloria Steinem
"Silence about the healthiest of things can make them seem shameful. My Little Red Book turns shame into celebration."
Abigail Zuger, MD - The New York Times
"Seldom can a book stretch to accommodate both its author's and its publisher's fondest hopes: that it be original yet universal, artistic yet practical, and likely to sell briskly for centuries to come... It is hard to imagine any woman, from the most straitlaced and body-denying to the most uninhibited and body-embracing, who will not read right through it with pure enjoyment, small flashes of recognition and the urge to buy it for every female preteen in sight... Most pieces are a few crisp paragraphs that manage to avoid both the chirpy "You are a woman now" song of the Tampax box and the lugubrious musings on blood, moons and fertility of the feminist academic... The book's great beauty is that these themes are left unexplored. No one draws a moral (see, everyone thinks she's different!), or offers up the poet's lament that all life's landmarks spell a step to death. The reader is left alone to absorb it all in privacy."
Howard Gardner

Beginning with its perfect title, an inspired idea, expertly executed: Period.
From the Publisher
Beginning with its perfect title, an inspired idea, expertly executed: Period.—Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University, and author of Multiple Intelligences"

Seldom can a book stretch to accommodate both its author's and its publisher's fondest hopes: that it be original yet universal, artistic yet practical, and likely to sell briskly for centuries to come... It is hard to imagine any woman, from the most straitlaced and body-denying to the most uninhibited and body-embracing, who will not read right through it with pure enjoyment, small flashes of recognition and the urge to buy it for every female preteen in sight... Most pieces are a few crisp paragraphs that manage to avoid both the chirpy "You are a woman now" song of the Tampax box and the lugubrious musings on blood, moons and fertility of the feminist academic... The book's great beauty is that these themes are left unexplored. No one draws a moral (see, everyone thinks she's different!), or offers up the poet's lament that all life's landmarks spell a step to death. The reader is left alone to absorb it all in privacy."—Abigail Zuger, MD, The New York Times"

Silence about the healthiest of things can make them seem shameful. My Little Red Book turns shame into celebration."—Gloria Steinem"

Some girls dread their periods, some girls crave them, some girls think they're not normal until they get their periods, and some fear they're abnormal when they do get them. MY LITTLE RED BOOK takes a little of that mystery away, replacing it with humor and information - not just about tampons, but also about how girls in Kenya, New Zealand, Brooklyn, and Oklahoma reacted to their first visit from Aunt Flo. The book would make a good addition to a first-period kit."—Jezebel.com"

Western readers will find the global perspectives eye-opening... The authors' candor and accessibility and the extensive appended resource sections make this an obvious choice for teens... A rich, welcome collection for readers of various ages and, perhaps surprisingly, more than one gender."—Booklist

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.
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
Abigail Zuger, M.D.
It is hard to imagine any woman, from the most straitlaced and body-denying to the most uninhibited and body-embracing, who will not read right through [this book] with pure enjoyment, small flashes of recognition and the urge to buy it for every female preteen in sight.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446546362
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
02/26/2009
Pages:
239
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are Saying About This

Gloria Steinem
Silence about the healthiest of things can make them seem shameful. My Little Red Book turns shame into celebration.
Jezebel.com
Some girls dread their periods, some girls crave them, some girls think they're not normal until they get their periods, and some fear they're abnormal when they do get them. MY LITTLE RED BOOK takes a little of that mystery away, replacing it with humor and information - not just about tampons, but also about how girls in Kenya, New Zealand, Brooklyn, and Oklahoma reacted to their first visit from Aunt Flo. The book would make a good addition to a first-period kit.

Meet the Author

RACHEL KAUDER-NALEBUFF is a recent graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall, and will soon attend Yale University. In Choate's annual Pratt-Packard oratory contest, she adapted her own first-period experience and other stories from MY LITTLE RED BOOK to an audience of 1,000 classmates: "This is a speech about first periods, and I don't mean your 8:00 AM class," the speech began. The inspiration to begin collecting first period stories arose out of a conversation with her mother.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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My Little Red Book 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Bookraider More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most innovative and informative books i have read on the subject of menstruation.Even in todays world this subject is still considered taboo when it should be discussed openly.One of the most sacred things for a girl is getting her period as it signifies so much,the step into woman-hood and the coming of maturity.In many countries,like mine many girls do not even know what a period means as no-one discusses it and explains it.Instead it is a thing to be ashamed of and hidden.This wonderful book breaks all those myths and taboos as women of all ages describe how they got their first period,Be it the editor who got hers while water-skiing or a girl who was saved from the humiliation of being strip-searched by the Nazis.Many great and inspiring women share their stories to show us girls that we are not alone,we all share a deep and affectionate bond that will bind us together till the end of time,and show us that we are so much superior than men.Show me one man who can stand the pain of one day of menstruation.This is truly one of a kind!
Sotohome More than 1 year ago
I gave this to my daughter for her 11th birthday. She had just finished the Growing & Changing discussion in school. It is about time someone turned these experiences into a positive experience. I suggest every mother gift a book to her daughter and write a note to her in the front of the book! I did!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall a great and diverse collection of stories. Made you realize that it is just a natural occurance and there is no need to be embarrasses or ashamed by it. I highly reccomend this book and is a great and interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 5th grade teacher read this to our class(girls and boys were seperated) wen we were having repo health some of these stories were kinda gross tho -Dani
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is not exsactly wat i thought butt inter esting
wannabe-writer More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The best part was the memories from a great diversity of ages and cultures. I also loved finding out what each contributer grew up to be, usually someone famous unless a relative or friend of the author. I disagree that this is a good book for pre- or peri-pubertal girls. As many of the authors attest to, they were embarassed discussing this subject with adults at the time of their first periods. Some were quite grossed out by it, in which case the graphic descriptions in the book might turn them off. I do think it's a great read for older teens, women, and some enlightened men. I also feel that the author, like many kids who hand in elaborate homework projects, must have received a great deal of assistance from family members and connections. The book is a superb idea, and it will be interesting to see if the author can produce more independent work in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book about the "monthly" friend! This book is very fun and entertaining to read. At least I'm not the only person to go through mishaps especially during this delicate time. This book is good for girls who just passed their first menstruation!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i read this as my daughter was approaching her menses and it is great. the stories are enlightening and interesting. it includes such a full range of female experiences, cultures, ages and perspectives. it makes whatever your/ her experience was/is of approaching womanhood just a part of the spectrum. great conversation starter. and a great book to have to pick up in a spare moment.
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WiseWoman More than 1 year ago
Started to read and couldn't put the book down. Shed tears,remembering my growing up years, a girl in a family of four boys. Wish an older person had shared with me the wisdom and insights contained within this book. Liked the stories from other places. Particularly liked the stories from celebrities and other notable women. Affirms: I am a woman. Recommend this book for girls reading groups.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok so hurd about this book and so i bought it and i gust wish that is woud be from are time not in like the 1980s
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To wann be writer anyone can read this book its not your choice .it said to write a review not an instruction guide.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi