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There has been a glut of menopause books released this month, which is brilliant – this time last year, I looked in my local Waterstones and there were two, compared to God knows how many diet books (societal pressure and patriarchy, I’m looking at you…)
I’ve been lucky enough to be sent some, which I’m working my way through and will drop my reviews in over the next few months. But I want to highlight two that you should go out and get right now (as well as Dr Philippa Kaye’s fantastic The M Word, which I wrote about here.)
One last point before we get into it: all links will take you to the publisher rather than a big bookseller. These are difficult times for our independent stores so if you can, please shop at your local bookseller.
Okay, here we go…
The New Hot: Taking on the Menopause with Attitude and Style
Yeah, I have a huge apology to make to Meg Mathews here: I thought this would be terrible. I’ve read a few celebrity menopause books and nine times out of ten come away thinking: “Yeah, well, you’ve got loads of money and a job that allows you to be a bit more flexible. You can afford the private doctors and the therapists that the rest of us can’t and I’m really glad you’re happy and settled now, but what use was this really to me?”
The New Hot isn’t one of those books.
Nor is it a cold, sterile medical guide where you have to know what’s wrong with you first to find the solution.
And I also saw a review call this a “menopause memoir”. It’s far from it.
Instead, The New Hot is packed full of expert advice from the likes of HRT advocate Dr Louise Newson and gynaecologist Sara J Matthews and real-life experiences from celebrities such as Louise Minchin and Davina McCall. Meg’s daughter Anaïs makes an appearance to discuss how her mum’s menopause affected her (the impact our menopause has on others unless they’re the husband is so often ignored) and there’s even a section from trans man Buck Angel (no, it’s not “woke” or preachy. It’s really interesting.)
But most importantly, it is Meg’s experiences of menopause and trying out this advice – as well as some of the “alternative” therapies that get touted – that makes this such a great book. She is honest, funny, passionate and it feels like you’ve joined the best Menopause Café there could be.
I particularly love how Meg is open about how she can afford many of the therapies she tried and instead of brushing this off, turns this into a rallying call for better menopause treatment. Plus she adds strength to my Punk Generation theory of why menopause is now being talked about so much – only someone who grew up surrounded by the cultural honesty of punk could discuss her vagina like she does.
On a purely superficial level as a booklover, The New Hot also looks really hot. It looks fresh and alive – the illustrations deserve a round of applause – and I love how it looks on my bookshelf.
It’s such a refreshing change and I heartily recommend it. (And after my judgmental views on celebrity tomes, I have also learnt not to judge a book by its cover – sorry, couldn’t resist…)
I was incredibly fortunate to be able to chat to Meg as part of Pausitivity. Check it out on our YouTube channel (and please comment, like and subscribe if you enjoy it or even if you don’t – constructive criticism, please. I’m new at this video lark and it’s a bit scary so I’d welcome all your thoughts.)
Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too
It took me a few goes to pronounce “Menopocalypse” (I can’t promise how it will sound after a couple of G&Ts neither). But don’t let that deter you because it’s the perfect title for fitness expert Amanda Thebe’s attack on menopause.
It’s split into two halves: the first details Amanda’s own perimenopause story, a two-year struggle which many of us can relate to. What makes this special is that she was super-fit – and I mean, SUPER-fit – and yet still went through hell. I’m a huge advocate of the importance of lifestyle in helping menopause, but for some people that’s not enough and Amanda is testament to this.
She is also, like Meg, honest and funny, talking openly about weeing herself while running in Scotland. Thank you!
The second half is where Menopocalypse comes into its own. It is Amanda’s own workout in which she focusses on building up her strength with a series of weight-bearing exercises. (This is so important for your bones.) Each exercise comes complete with a series of photos showing Amanda in action plus easy-to-follow instructions.
There’s also a great guide to eating well – and when I tell you it’s called “How to eat (How to have your cake and eat it!)”, you’ll see why I like it! It’s not full of crazy recipes that take a day and a half to do after you trek 20 miles to find the only shop that sells nuts specially coated in a blend of 500 million obscure herbs collected from the hillside of Kilimanjaro. She’s even okay with you drinking alcohol – in moderation!
Plus, in a similar vein to The New Hot, it doesn’t advocate expensive spas or whoo-whoo therapies involving taking photographs of your vagina to get in touch with the real woman inside. It’s for women like you and me who want to feel better and be as healthy – mentally and physically – as possible.
What I particularly like about Menopocalypse is it firmly puts you in control. There have been a few newspaper articles recently that argue women discussing menopause puts them in the role of a victim, making them look like the weaker sex and letting menopause define them.
I’d love to see them say that after taking a look at Amanda’s cover!
(As a final reason you should buy this, Amanda is, like me, from the north-east of England, so you know it’s going to be great…)
In the meantime, check out my interview with Amanda here:
Both these books were given for review purposes.
What books have got you through the menopause? Leave me a comment below and let me know