Saturday, April 02, 2011

Book Review: Passage, a girl’s guide

Passage, a girl’s guide by Michelle A. L. Singer. Presented by GladRags ( 2002 Keepers!, Inc. Paperback, 32 pages.

Reviewed by Michelle Schnaars for

Straight out of the gate Michelle Singer sets a good tone when she says, “I can honestly say that menstruating is one of my favorite things to do. I haven’t always felt this way –I’ve always like menstruating, but not as much as I do now.” Whether your period has started, or not, you might have a lot of questions about it. When will it start? What will it feel like? What will I use? You might wonder if you'll feel the same way that Singer feels. Passage, a girl’s guide, will help you figure things out.

Learning about your period will help you decide how you're going to handle it every month, and how you'll react to it. That's where Singers book comes in. It takes you step-by-step starting with puberty, to menstruation, PMS and cramps, and talks about attitudes towards menstruation. Passage, a girl's guide is a quick and easy read. It will help you understand what to expect from your period every month, and how to take care of yourself. Filled with information, resources, and interwoven throughout is a sense of being connected to other girls who are experiencing the same questions you have.

Passage, a girl’s guide doesn’t claim you will embrace your periods with more enthusiasm, but it will help you to understand what you’re about to experience every month. It’s an easy and quick read, and great if you’ve just started your period or are about to.

Passage is a small booklet, broken down into 6 easy to read chapters: The Flow starts at puberty, takes us into the beginning of menstruation, and then explains menstrual cycle and the female reproductive system. The Flow also talks about what changes you will experience now that you’re going through puberty, and then talks about variations in flow and length of the monthly cycle, finally sex and sexuality are mentioned. The Cycle explains tracking or marking your periods on your calendar. In chapter 3, Singer explains ‘The Feel’ of menstruation and what a young woman might experience with her own cycles. She talks about PMS and things that can negatively or positively affect it; cramps are also covered. An important part of this chapter is the section on ‘Ways to Cultivate Positive PMS’. Finally Singer talks about attitudes toward menstruation. The Gear tells us about the feminine hygiene products available on the market today. Singer talks about disposable pads, cloth pads, tampons, cups, and the sea sponge, and how to use each of these care products. She also talks about the environmental effect of some of these products. Chapter five, The Passage, talks about various ‘rights of passage’ ceremonies practiced around the world, and how you can "celebrate" this time in your life. Lastly in chapter six, The Party, Singer tells us our bodies are amazing things, and we can “appreciate its functions, including menstruation”. Singer explains if we invite our cycle, celebrate it, or recognize it -our experience will change. We will be less likely to experience PMS, and we can look forward to just being us.

Singer explains that knowledge is very important. Learning about menstruation will help you better understand the changes your body is going through. You will want to read about starting your period, and how to take care of yourself. Knowing about yourself, your period, and the available options, can help you decide what products to use, and how to make responsible decisions for yourself and your care. Michelle Singer's Passage, a girl's guide will help you figure things out for yourself.

Singer also shares the following resources to help you in this new chapter in your life:

 The What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls by Lynda Madaras

 Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M. D.

 Our Bodies, Our Selves for the New Century by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective

 Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

 A New View of a Woman’s Body by Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers

For more information:
PO Box 12648
Portland, OR 97212

PH: 800.799.4523

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