cover image The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle

The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle

Rebecca Booth. Da Capo Press, $24 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-7382-1164-0

An OB/GYN with more than 20 years on the job, Booth writes sympathetically and knowledgeably about the female struggle for self-knowledge: despite an ""almost innate sense,"" many women ""have little concrete information about why their bodies work."" Using simple, clutter-free metaphors to break down the ""dance"" of the female cycle, Booth accounts for the hormones that rule the body as it seeks and prepares for conception. Her central metaphor, the Venus Week, is the pre-ovulatory stage ""when estrogen-the feel-good hormone-is at its height,"" offering renewed ease with oneself, greater confidence and higher energy levels. Booth's Venus Week Plan explains how to make the most of this week, encompassing a sensible diet and exercise plan, as well as more compelling advice for unearthing your lost Venus Week and taking care with ""hormonal power"": ""Nature's priorities may not always match what is best for us as individuals, as lovers, and as careful and thoughtful committed partners."" Booth also looks at the cycle from adolescence through menopause, offering advice for each age group. Though text-heavy and occasionally technical, it's refreshing to find a self-help in which ""the secret"" refers to knowledge; Booth's belief in its power to overcome suffering is admirable and infectious. Any woman who feels her body is beyond her understanding should find Booth's first book eye-opening and empowering.