The Curse by Karen Houppert

Title: The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: Menstruation
Author: Karen Houppert
Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: 4 / 5

Goodreads | Powell’s

There are so many books I haven’t written reviews for yet, and I am still planning on doing my 2015 reading wrap up, but I wanted to start my reviewing year right, so here we go, the first book I started (and finished) in 2016…

At a short ~250ish pages, this book was a quick and interesting read. And it covered enough ground to feel fairly deep, it actually whet my appetite for more; as the author says in her conclusion, “the answers I come up with are vague and amorphous.” Also, the book came out nearly 20 years ago now. While some things the book describes are exceedingly familiar, I have noticed some shifts, but it’s hard to know if it’s tied to something larger or just a function of who my friends are.

Definitely worthwhile, the book looks at the safety of the “sanitary protection” industry as well as the way menstruation is handled by the culture at large (hint: it’s not much and not well), and the implications for both preteens and adults. She goes into the “science” of PMS, the link between sexuality and menarche, menstrual literature, and some small resistances, weaving in cultural commentary along the way.



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