Tag: Book review

Menstrual Advocacy Is Flowing and Flowering

When I was researching my first book, The Modern Period: Menstruation in Twentieth-Century America (2009), one of the most frequent questions I got was a skeptical “why are you writing about that?” So when I started fielding frequent calls from reporters around 2015, it was a surprise. They had the impression that the world had… Read more →

Family Connections: Melissa Fu’s Peach Blossom Spring

“To know a story is to carry it always, etched in his bones, even if dormant for decades.” (Melissa Fu, Peach Blossom Spring, 4) These days, it feels like every other historical fiction novel is about World War II. Many of these are written by women authors and focus on female characters. Whether these characters… Read more →

Reckoning with the History of Racial Marketing of Menthol Cigarettes

In Pushing Cool, Dr. Keith Wailoo presents a sixty-year history of menthol cigarettes becoming a racialized product. Wailoo has written a number of essential books on race, racism, and health since the 1990s, including Pain: A Political History and How Cancer Crossed the Color Line. This is the first of Wailoo’s books to deal with… Read more →

The Family Roe and the Messy Reality of the Abortion “Jane Roe” Didn’t Get

I almost didn’t read The Family Roe: An American Story by Joshua Prager. When I saw the premise – a biography of Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, and her family – I wasn’t immediately sure why I should care. I study the broad-scale social history of reproductive health and I had… Read more →

Healthy by Design? Reflections on The Topography of Wellness by Sara Jensen Carr

If the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated a unique ability to muddle our perceptions of time, it has also made us acutely aware of space and movement. Working from home, like so many others, I find myself counting down the hours to the words “HOT GIRL WALK” in my list of daily tasks. Lucky enough to… Read more →

A Love Letter to Intellectual Mothers

Marga Vicedo’s Intelligent Love: The Story of Clara Park, Her Autistic Daughter, and the Myth of the Refrigerator Mother is a love letter to intellectual mothers. And Vicedo’s warm and astute delivery exemplifies the blending of love and intellect Vicedo discerns in her subject, Clara Park. The book is centered around Park, whose odyssey of… Read more →

What Does It Mean to Have a “Real Choice” about Abortion?

What does it mean to have a “real choice” about abortion? I am writing this book review as the Supreme Court hears arguments over Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, and it could seem like the wrong time for arguing the subtleties of this question. Abortion may become flat-out illegal throughout the… Read more →

Matrix: Lauren Groff’s Visions of the Medieval

The title of Lauren Groff’s ambitious new novel, Matrix, is deliberately multivalent. In Latin, it points us toward the leader and mother of a women’s religious community. It also means a system of categorizing and understanding knowledge, a system within which things come into being. Among other things, the novel is a Bildungsroman for its… Read more →

Vanguard: The Fights that Connect Black Women Activists across More Than Two Centuries

My undergraduate and MA adviser, Dr. Angela Howard, argued that women across time and space often have remarkably similar experiences if you zero in on major events in their lives. These include first marriages, first babies, menopause, or widowhood. She encouraged me to compare women at these moments of their lives even if they occurred… Read more →

Acting Up and Fighting Back: Stories of ACT UP

Sarah Schulman’s Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987–1993 and Peter Staley’s memoir, Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism aren’t in conversation with one another so much as they are different versions of the same story. Both focus on the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT… Read more →