For sure, this book is about menopause and all the related inconveniences, silly jokes, and notions—but it’s also about sexuality, patriarchy, mortality, acceptance, spirituality, wisdom, and whales. Yes whales, for it seems those creatures that can live well over a century elect matriarchs who have experienced menopause to lead their packs in something of a crone’s position. And why not? Experience matters. Lack of distraction matters. It’s called wisdom. And this, Steinke tells us, is precisely why women should not pursue hormone treatment, why men should not pursue Viagra. Acceptance of life’s stages and the accompanying wisdom, not denial and infantile retreat.
This book presents Darcey Steinke par excellence, perhaps a bit angrier than her usual when discussing the mostly male-dominated medical and pharmaceutical fields, but then, as she would no doubt insist, she has earned that anger. As have we all.
Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life by Darcey Steinke. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 2019.
Reviewer bio: Joe Taylor has published five novels and three story collections. He is the director of Livingston Press: https://livingstonpress.uwa.edu.
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