Sixteen earnest stories (plus additional poetry and prayers) by mostly new authors delve into a topic that is seldom open for discussion. Menstruation is explored here from all perspectives, beginning at puberty in the ""Early Moons"" section, where most of the writers recount their introductions to womanhood and the sad frequency with which their own mothers veiled or derided the process. Other sections include ""Waxing Moons: Coming to Light,"" featuring tales of adult women honoring their cramps and getting in touch with their bodies, and ""Full Moon Celebrations,"" in which the narratives focus on the goddess in every woman, with menstruation becoming a symbol of woman's sacredness. In one story, a young member of the Nova Scotian Micmac tribe gets her period and is gently eased by her grandmother (interestingly, this tale is by a male author). A harried mother of two yearns to connect with her touchy 11-year-old daughter in the strongest story in the book, ""Water Lessons."" One piece channels the ancient power of female ancestors and another finds an amorous artist mixing her own biological pigments in with her paint. Although much of this collection boldly examines the negative aspects of menstruation (shame, cramps, messes, silence and fear), the editor has included many positive perspectives as well, illuminating menstruation's life-affirming, procreative and spiritual potentials. The concluding section of poems and prayers is significantly less polished than many of the stories, but overall this book might be helpful to parents of teenage daughters who welcome a feminist and affirmative celebration of menstruation. (Apr.) FYI: The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo, Menstruation, was reviewed in Nonfiction Forecasts on Feb. 22.
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999 Release date: 03/01/1999 Genre: Nonfiction
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