cover image Period. End of Sentence: A New Chapter in the Fight for Menstrual Justice

Period. End of Sentence: A New Chapter in the Fight for Menstrual Justice

Anita Diamant. Scribner, $17 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-982144-29-6

Novelist Diamant (The Red Tent) examines all things menstrual in this expansive collection of anecdote, history, and pop culture criticism. Spurred by the documentary of the same title (a producer of which asked Diamant to write “a book about menstruation”), Diamant traces the development of “period-positive” movements that aim to recognize the “full humanity of women and girls and everyone who menstruates.” In “Shame,” she details harrowing stories of period-related embarrassment around the world (in New Zealand and Australia, for instance, more than half of the teenage girls interviewed said they’d rather “fail a school test than have their classmates know they’re on their period”). “Period Poverty and the Tampon Tax” covers the economic toll of menstruation (“menstruators spend $17,000 during their lifetime” on period products), and “Indigenous Wisdoms” offers examples of cultures in which periods aren’t shrouded in secrecy, such as the Hupa’s celebratory Flower Dance. The wealth of information and anecdote can feel disjointed at times, but the effect is powerful nonetheless, and lands as a repository of information rarely in the spotlight. For young women, especially, this will provide a fascinating look back and powerful impetus to work for a shame-free future. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners. (May)