cover image MOTHER-DAUGHTER WISDOM: Creating a Legacy of Physical and Emotional Health

MOTHER-DAUGHTER WISDOM: Creating a Legacy of Physical and Emotional Health

Christiane Northrup, . . Bantam, $28 (752pp) ISBN 978-0-553-10573-5

The author of the bestselling The Wisdom of Menopause and a certified ob/gyn takes a more expansive look at women's health and how the mother-daughter relationship affects it in this opinionated handbook-cum-memoir. Northrup's philosophy that "our bodies and our beliefs about them were formed in the soil of our mother's emotions, beliefs, and behaviors" may turn off some readers, while others may take issue with her comment that "some men fear either they or their wives are inferior if they cannot have a son." These theories aren't backed up as much by scientific evidence (although in the latter example, Northrup does cite a 1975 study) as by anecdotes from her life as a mother of two daughters and her experiences with her patients. The book's opening section ("the Foundation of Mother-Daughter Health," i.e., pregnancy) mixes obvious health tips (e.g., don't drink alcohol while pregnant) with more informative ones (e.g., take prenatal vitamins such as beta carotene and folic acid). Northrup seems more comfortable when she moves on to discussing how a mother can most effectively take care of her daughter's emotional and physical health from the ages of three months to 21 years old, and her best and most heartfelt advice is on dealing with teenage daughters. She suggests moms not become their daughters' social directors, and that they hold daughters accountable. Nuggets like these are certainly valuable; it's unfortunate that they're buried in such a massive and uneven outlay of information. Agent, Ned Leavitt. (Mar.)

Forecast: TV tie-ins could help this sell well; the book's publication is timed to coincide with a PBS special of the same name, and Northrup has appeared on Oprah.