cover image Our Red Book: Intimate Histories of Periods, Growing & Changing

Our Red Book: Intimate Histories of Periods, Growing & Changing

Edited by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff. Simon & Schuster, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-982168-65-0

“Like periods, these histories are not tidy or neat,” writes Nalebuff (Stages) in her introduction to this powerful collection. Contributors include members of Nalebuff’s family, as well as activists, artists, and other visionaries. Ma Xiao Ling describes the secretive nature surrounding getting one’s period in China during the Cultural Revolution, Mariana Roa Oliva reflects on the relationship between menstruation and gender, and Judy Blume recalls wishing her period would come. “You’d think that a fourteen-year-old girl, desperate to get her period, would have a clue what this is. But I don’t,” she writes. A section on “menstrual justice” features Gloria Steinem’s essay “If Men Could Menstruate,” which argues for “federally funded and free” period products, and a conversation about “the intersection of menstrual equity and climate justice.” Nalebuff interjects frequently with commentary and anecdotes, artfully linking stories together (“At the time that the essay was published, it was viewed as satire. After all the above conversations, [it] reads pretty differently,” she notes of Steinem’s essay). Bold and candid, these missives go a long way in breaking through what one contributor calls “the taboo of bleeding.” (Nov.)