cover image The Silent Passage

The Silent Passage

Gail Sheehy. Random House Inc, $16 (161pp) ISBN 978-0-679-41388-2

How are women of the baby-boomer generation handling the ``M word,'' the change whose name they dare not speak? According to Sheehy's short report (expanded from her 1991 Vanity Fair article), many are utterly unprepared. The author ( Pathfinder ), who has been negotiating this passage herself, talks to doctors, nutritionists and a cross-section of women, examining both her own vacillation over estrogen replacement therapy and the more general questions of its side effects. We also hear from women who, having started families late in life, are catapulted from first babies to first hot flashes , and from such celebrities as Candice Bergen and Lesley Ann Warren. There are many frenetic and some encouraging menopause war stories here, but few accounts from women who experienced little difficulty during these years. Sheehy includes discussion of herbal remedies, exercise and dietary defenses against osteoporosis. While remaining somewhat inconclusive, her review of this stage of life for women in anti-aging America is detailed and sympathetic. (May)