Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life

Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life

Menopause hit Darcey Steinke hard. First came hot flashes. Then insomnia. Then depression. As she struggled to express what was happening to her, she came up against a culture of silence. Throughout history, the natural physical transition of menopause has been viewed as something to deny, fear, and eradicate. Menstruation signals fertility and life, and childbirth is reve...

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Title:Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life
Author:Darcey Steinke
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Edition Language:English

Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life Reviews

  • Nancy

    If you are in menopause or peri-menopause or really if you’re a woman at any stage of life, read this book. This is a collection of thoughtful and thought provoking chapters that have me thinking about my body, my femininity, and my humanity in new ways.

  • Bookread2day

    Flash Count Diary is a new story about the menopause. Every woman should read this Flash Count Diary. Most books are about how to get rid of hot flushes, but there's nothing on the scientific and self help of menopause. This book goes into what happened to Darcey Steinke during the nights when hot flashes occurred. And what other remedies are out there on the market. The saddest thing is the terrible jokes that are said about menopause. One of the most interesting parts was when Darcey went to a

    Flash Count Diary is a new story about the menopause. Every woman should read this Flash Count Diary. Most books are about how to get rid of hot flushes, but there's nothing on the scientific and self help of menopause. This book goes into what happened to Darcey Steinke during the nights when hot flashes occurred. And what other remedies are out there on the market. The saddest thing is the terrible jokes that are said about menopause. One of the most interesting parts was when Darcey went to a conference centre in Amsterdam to learn about how women in other countries were treated during the change.

  • Elizabeth

    It's about damn time.

  • Jenna Evans

    Three paragraphs in, I was crying with the profound relief that comes with having one's experience finally, finally recognized -- not just in a commiserative way about the physical aspect (though, that too) but in the larger philosophical and spiritual questions that come up about mortality, gender, and nature.

    We should all be talking about this aspect of human life, and Steinke fucking nails it, is what I'm saying.

  • Denise Link

    Rating this is hard, because this book wasn't exactly what I wanted it to be, but it is important and essential for starting the discussion.

    Menopause is hard, not because we all have the kind of overwhelming hot flashes the author does (I didn't), but because all of us must go through it with little or no framework in which to experience it. What information we have before the fact, gleaned mostly through mean-spirited jokes and oblique references, is hugely negative. This book starts to remedy

    Rating this is hard, because this book wasn't exactly what I wanted it to be, but it is important and essential for starting the discussion.

    Menopause is hard, not because we all have the kind of overwhelming hot flashes the author does (I didn't), but because all of us must go through it with little or no framework in which to experience it. What information we have before the fact, gleaned mostly through mean-spirited jokes and oblique references, is hugely negative. This book starts to remedy that, but we need more, from different voices, in different genres, about different experiences.

  • Nancy

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.

    Really good book. Sad that there is so little research on menopause. This illustrates how half the human race has to just improvise dealing with it. The idea that it is a "problem" that needs solving is so frustrating.

  • Wendi

    I've found it difficult to find books or online articles about menopause that aren't heavily weighted for either favour or disdain of hormone replacement. I have my personal tendency about how I would prefer to travel this path, but I've been wanting to read personal experiences about menopause, not enter into the heavily preached (on both sides) fray.

    When Farrar, Straus, and Giroux offered the ARC for review, I was impressed by the synopsis because it seemed to be very much what I've been look

    I've found it difficult to find books or online articles about menopause that aren't heavily weighted for either favour or disdain of hormone replacement. I have my personal tendency about how I would prefer to travel this path, but I've been wanting to read personal experiences about menopause, not enter into the heavily preached (on both sides) fray.

    When Farrar, Straus, and Giroux offered the ARC for review, I was impressed by the synopsis because it seemed to be very much what I've been looking for. And on the whole, it is. The caveat here is that because it truly is nearly impossible to discuss this event in women's lives without including some of what is the most currently discussed medical practices surrounding it, Steinke doesn't fail to include her opinion. Not that she shouldn't have; not that I expected her not to do this. Just a heads up to other women who may be looking for the same sort of reading I have been seeking. She includes the fascinating history of how hormone replacement became a standard practice in the United States and statistics/studies of associated risks.

    However, this isn't solely about all of that. Instead, this memoir is a wildly hybrid accounting of history, science, spirituality, nature, medicine, folklore, advertising, and, above all, deeply personal memoir.

    There's a lot of conflict here; an example is that Steinke relates how her own sexual drive and that of her friends and other women, changed while going through menopause and how the greater (male dominated) society wants them to remain willing and pliable and sexual when they have physical and physiological changes that may make them reluctant. Then she turns around and explains how orcas, the only known mammal on earth that also goes through menopause, remain sexually adventurous within their pods and that "in their culture.... they don't have that human taboo: don't sleep with old women." This feels like a contradictory lament. That's just brilliant to me as a reader, though - if you know someone going through menopause, or have gone through or are going through it yourself, you know damn well that almost everything about the process can be a contradiction - sex drive, physical changes, emotional changes, life circumstances, social interactions, and psychological interactions - moments of simultaneous despair and joy.

    There is a general bent here towards the nature/natural/spiritual side of this process and you'll definitely feel akin to her experience if you're already geared that way. You don't need to be, though, as it's quite relatable (with some amazing writing) regardless. The only generally targeted audience I wouldn't recommend it to would be those absolutely, 100% committed to hormone replacement and won't brook an argument otherwise.

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher making this one available for me to review. It comes out in the States on June 18th. I just sped through it, horrified and enlightened, fascinated and heartened. It's a fantastic and honest memoir in a category sorely lacking.

  • Mehrsa

    Really interesting perspective on menopause and our cultural relationship with aging women. The premise was to link human menopause to animals and the natural world, but I didn't find that part satisfying. I did enjoy her musings and research on femininity and old age.

  • Catherine

    There's a lot to like about Darcey Steinke's book

    , most especially it's piercing critique of the medicalization of menopause, the transformation of a normal life event into a disease to be cured. Her skewering of men - particular those who are doctors - who believe menopause is all about dried-up vaginas is particularly on point. Her quest to connect with other animals who experience menopause is also quite moving.

    But a couple of things didn't sit right with me. First, Steinke

    There's a lot to like about Darcey Steinke's book

    , most especially it's piercing critique of the medicalization of menopause, the transformation of a normal life event into a disease to be cured. Her skewering of men - particular those who are doctors - who believe menopause is all about dried-up vaginas is particularly on point. Her quest to connect with other animals who experience menopause is also quite moving.

    But a couple of things didn't sit right with me. First, Steinke talks about becoming more androgynous with menopause, and feeling increasingly outside the binary of male and female. She does not, in saying this, claim a non-binary or trans identity, but she does use the stories of non-binary and trans individuals to bolster her point that a change in hormones means a change in self. I was deeply uncomfortable with Steinke using the stories of trans and non-binary individuals' hormonal transitions to prop up her feelings about menopause. While Steinke would argue there is a great deal of common ground between menopausal women who are trying to grow used to a new self and trans and non-binary folk deciding on hormonal transition to bring their bodies into accord with their self, I don't think it holds up. And there are power differences between the two situations that are never addressed. For many trans and non-binary people transition is about survival, and 'surviving' cisness is not the same thing.

    This is also a book that barely considers race. Steinke presents ciswomen's experiences as universal, but there are real, meaningful differences in the ways that women of different racial groups experience sexuality and gender, even if they're straight and cis. There's no consideration here of the way that Black women's sexuality has been commodified, strangled, and exaggerated by white culture as a means of devaluing Black women's bodies, autonomy, and community. There's no consideration of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and the way that white men have been socialized to believe Native women's bodies are theirs for the violent taking. There's also no space to consider that menopause is looked at differently within human groups - that her experience as a white woman is not necessarily the same as that of a ciswoman in other cultures in America, where aging is not so reviled.

    I'm glad I read this book, because we all need to talk more openly about menopause. I learned things I'm glad to know. But I can't exactly recommend the book given the major flaws.

  • RH Walters

    I don't read books about childrearing and menopause because they are inherently interesting, but because I am desperate for help, and this book did not help. If anything, it just shows that you have to write your own way out. I am well acquainted with the hate and disregard our society has toward aging women, and the plight of whales. My small self says yes, going through menopause is better with a house in Brooklyn, teaching gigs in Paris and traveling the world to bond with other whale activis

    I don't read books about childrearing and menopause because they are inherently interesting, but because I am desperate for help, and this book did not help. If anything, it just shows that you have to write your own way out. I am well acquainted with the hate and disregard our society has toward aging women, and the plight of whales. My small self says yes, going through menopause is better with a house in Brooklyn, teaching gigs in Paris and traveling the world to bond with other whale activists and going to international conferences -- guess what, bitches, I'm in a bad mood. What I did see is that this is the chance to reflect on life as a woman, and all our passages are part inheritance, part creation.

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