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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 39/100: Moody Bitches - The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, the Sleep You're Missing, the Sex You're Not Having, and What's Really Making You Crazy by Julie Holland

Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, The Sleep You're Missing, The Sex You're Not Having, and What's Really Making You Crazy - Julie Holland

The main problem with this book is that it sort of misrepresents itself, and that makes it feel longer than it should be. What this book really is is something of a comprehensive review of natural aids to mind and body health for women. There is a ton of great information here, especially regarding practices that a lot of women don't really question, such as using hormonal birth control or watching TV in bed at night.

What I thought I was getting was a book about the "overmedication" of women, and that's what the first third of the book is. This is both interesting and empowering; of particular interest was the fact that hormonal birth control "turns off" women's ability to detect via pheromones whether they are really attracted to, and genetically compatible with, a man. The book then goes into a long step-by-step of all the trials and tribulations of different periods of a woman's life, getting especially cynical in the menopause and beyond chapters. All this has already been done in The Female Brain, and done a lot better.

After that, the book becomes a "Woman's Guide" to health and happiness, and here it picks up again. We see that Holland is not only suspicious of the overmedication of women, but also vehemently against other "unnatural" treatment's for one's body -- botox, plastic surgery, etc. I like her overall thesis that women should embrace their natural "moodiness" and that working with nature rather than against it is probably the healthiest way to live. However, as a psychiatrist, she's not such a hardliner that she doesn't recognize that there are situations in which medication really is the best option -- although she hates trycyclic antidepressants, one of which has been my "miracle drug" of 7 years (Nortriptyline, for migraines).

Holland's tone can come across as superior and smug at times, and she also tends to contradict herself -- going off in one chapter about how "unnatural" monogamy is, and then expounding on the desirability of a committed relationship in which to enjoy one's sexuality. She also rails on the evils of pornography (I agree), but then suggests that women who have trouble climaxing use it if it helps.

Overall, though, this is one of those books that has given me a few tips to improve my health that I didn't know about before (going outside after a rainfall because the negatively-charged ions are good for you) and reminded me of the importance of things I did know and practice with varying degrees of success (getting away from "screens" one hour before bedtime, going out in the sunshine, eating more plant-based foods.) It's worth a read, especially if you don't mind getting more than the book purports itself to be .