Women who have not had a woman gynecologist as their doctor will find Thornton (and her book) as invigorating as a breath of fresh air. A professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, she brings to her goal of helping women understand their bodies an authoritative, candid and funny manner that is its own kind of facilitation. The text is filled with solid information and highlighted with anecdotes from her years of practice. Topics include pelvic exams, douching, abortions, morning sickness the relative merits of breast and bottle feeding and treatments for yeast infections and endometriosis. Thornton's opinions are as freely given as her advice: she frowns on HMOs, generic drugs, the presence of families in the delivery room and midwives delivering babies in free-standing birthing centers. A final chapter counsels women on how to choose doctors and hospitals. Thornton's guide is as clear as they come, its blend of no-nonsense information and hard-nosed opinion delivered in a respectful and intelligent professional manner. (Aug.) FYI: Thornton is also the author of The Ditchdigger's Daughters, a biography of her family.