Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain

Abby Norman. Nation, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56858-581-9
In this disjointed memoir, science writer Norman intertwines her own experiences with endometriosis, a painful immune-system disease occurring primarily in women, with a larger history of the systematic underprivileging of women’s health in Western medicine. The book details Norman’s numerous failed attempts to receive adequate treatment for her condition. Despite her clear symptoms and repeated hospitalizations, doctors continuously overlooked or dismissed her disease and reports of pain over the years. In one jaw-dropping example, a doctor proposed that her symptoms were most likely connected to her troubled childhood. Meanwhile, Norman also examines “the discourse of the ills of women,” pointing to diagnoses of hysteria in women and the unethical practices of male physicians who sexually exploited women in the 19th century. While the connection between her own story and the larger history is clear, Norman’s personal experiences are too often positioned as an afterthought, jammed into the sociological and historical narrative. She breathlessly shifts from discussing eight known cases of endometriosis in men to the story of her first period to a history of women dying during childbirth. Readers looking for a more personal and relatable account (as the title suggests) will be disappointed. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/15/2018
Release date: 03/06/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-56858-582-6
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