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What Fresh Hell Is This?: Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You

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An informative, blisteringly funny, somewhat cranky and always spot-on guide to perimenopause and menopause by the award-winning sex ed/health educator and author of S.E.X. If you don't know award-winning sex educator and all-around badass Heather Corinna, let them introduce themselves and their new book: "I'm going to do what I've done for millions of people of all ages wit An informative, blisteringly funny, somewhat cranky and always spot-on guide to perimenopause and menopause by the award-winning sex ed/health educator and author of S.E.X. If you don't know award-winning sex educator and all-around badass Heather Corinna, let them introduce themselves and their new book: "I'm going to do what I've done for millions of people of all ages with sex and relationships: to simplify and share solid, explicit information, to provide support and be sensitive, and to help make everyone feel less alone and get us all through hard, thorny, touchy stuff so we can make it to the other side. I'm going to do this in a similar way I've done it for sex and relationships in my work over the last couple decades for young people and adults alike: by talking out loud, shamelessly and frankly, about what others are afraid or ashamed to, much in the way your favorite loudmouth aunt might have if she made this kind of stuff her life's work and if your family also didn't always apparently forget to invite her to everything." Corinna has been on the cutting edge of health for more than twenty years, always talking about what people are most afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed of. What Fresh Hell Is This? is no different. It's a companion for everyone who's reached this "what to expect when you're not expected to expect anything" time of life. It's a health-forward, feminist, no b.s. (and damn funny) perimenopause guide for the generation that time forgot (aka GenXers), offering straightforward descriptions of our bodies, minds, lives and what's going on with them during this time of hormonal chaos. Heather Corinna tells you what to expect and what to do, all while busting some myths and offering real self-care tips so you can get through this. With practical, clear information that also includes affected populations who have long been left out of the discussion, like those with disabilities, queer, transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people, the working class and other marginalized folks, What Fresh Hell Is This? an accessible and inclusive guide for anyone who is experiencing the hot fire of perimenopause.


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An informative, blisteringly funny, somewhat cranky and always spot-on guide to perimenopause and menopause by the award-winning sex ed/health educator and author of S.E.X. If you don't know award-winning sex educator and all-around badass Heather Corinna, let them introduce themselves and their new book: "I'm going to do what I've done for millions of people of all ages wit An informative, blisteringly funny, somewhat cranky and always spot-on guide to perimenopause and menopause by the award-winning sex ed/health educator and author of S.E.X. If you don't know award-winning sex educator and all-around badass Heather Corinna, let them introduce themselves and their new book: "I'm going to do what I've done for millions of people of all ages with sex and relationships: to simplify and share solid, explicit information, to provide support and be sensitive, and to help make everyone feel less alone and get us all through hard, thorny, touchy stuff so we can make it to the other side. I'm going to do this in a similar way I've done it for sex and relationships in my work over the last couple decades for young people and adults alike: by talking out loud, shamelessly and frankly, about what others are afraid or ashamed to, much in the way your favorite loudmouth aunt might have if she made this kind of stuff her life's work and if your family also didn't always apparently forget to invite her to everything." Corinna has been on the cutting edge of health for more than twenty years, always talking about what people are most afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed of. What Fresh Hell Is This? is no different. It's a companion for everyone who's reached this "what to expect when you're not expected to expect anything" time of life. It's a health-forward, feminist, no b.s. (and damn funny) perimenopause guide for the generation that time forgot (aka GenXers), offering straightforward descriptions of our bodies, minds, lives and what's going on with them during this time of hormonal chaos. Heather Corinna tells you what to expect and what to do, all while busting some myths and offering real self-care tips so you can get through this. With practical, clear information that also includes affected populations who have long been left out of the discussion, like those with disabilities, queer, transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people, the working class and other marginalized folks, What Fresh Hell Is This? an accessible and inclusive guide for anyone who is experiencing the hot fire of perimenopause.

30 review for What Fresh Hell Is This?: Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emmalita

    The upside of my disappointment about that other menopause book I reviewed was that several people reached out and told me that there was another book about menopause available for request on NetGalley. What Fresh Hell is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities and You is exactly what I was looking for – gender inclusive, pragmatic, compassionate, and truly, deeply feminist. Why do I, a cis woman, care that a book about menopause is gender inclusive? The answer is, as is the answer to m The upside of my disappointment about that other menopause book I reviewed was that several people reached out and told me that there was another book about menopause available for request on NetGalley. What Fresh Hell is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities and You is exactly what I was looking for – gender inclusive, pragmatic, compassionate, and truly, deeply feminist. Why do I, a cis woman, care that a book about menopause is gender inclusive? The answer is, as is the answer to many things, because patriarchy. The lens of patriarchy distorts reality, and one of those distortions is making gender a binary and narrowing the range of gender expression. It is also the reason menopause was treated as an illness to be avoided or minimized. Patriarchy determines that a person in menopause is becoming irrelevant. Any book about menopause that does not acknowledge that not everyone with a uterus is a woman is adhering too closely to the reality distorting lens of patriarchy for me to trust the information within. Heather Corinna (they/them) is a sex educator and brings their many years of experience explaining sex, sexuality, and bodies to What Fresh Hell is This? It is not a prescriptive book. It describes what happens in the body, what the impacts of those processes can be and a variety of ways those impacts can be managed. Throughout, Corinna reiterates that our individual experience with perimenopause and menopause is not isolated from the rest of our life. Genetics, overall health, wealth, marginalization, past trauma, living situation, and all the factors that make up our life play a part in how perimenopause and menopause impact us. Rather than pointing to a one true path, Corinna illuminates the many paths of which they are aware and is honest about what they don’t know. Anecdotes are used to illustrate, but not as evidence. While I did not see footnotes in the advance reader copy, there is an appendix of additional resources at the back, and as Corinna moves through the book they reference and include material from relevant sources. Any major changes in my body make me nervous, because I am low income and have very limited access to healthcare. I found a lot of What Fresh Hell is This? reassuring. After one read through I feel like I am doing a lot of the basic things I can do for myself. My gift to myself this Summer will be buying a physical copy to keep on hand for as needed refreshers. I genuinely feel better about going through perimenopause after reading What Fresh Hell is This? I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy Cousins

    Anyone who has a uterus, go get What Fresh Hell Is This? ASAP. Librarians, you should order 10. Nonbinary author Heather Corinna is inclusive, hilarious, and righteously pissed off. I was literally yelling, "Damn it, I KNEW IT!" as I read. Corinna writes up a whole range of body/brain effects of perimenopause, offering a "take what works, skip what you don't identify with" buffet, and they are vocal about the impact of overlapping marginalizations on health and healthcare and access. Corinna's c Anyone who has a uterus, go get What Fresh Hell Is This? ASAP. Librarians, you should order 10. Nonbinary author Heather Corinna is inclusive, hilarious, and righteously pissed off. I was literally yelling, "Damn it, I KNEW IT!" as I read. Corinna writes up a whole range of body/brain effects of perimenopause, offering a "take what works, skip what you don't identify with" buffet, and they are vocal about the impact of overlapping marginalizations on health and healthcare and access. Corinna's compassion is deep, and they repeatedly point out that everyone's experiences are unique, so there's no right or wrong way to read/learn/identify what's happening in your body. I jumped right to the section that helped me figure out the hot mess that is happening with my digestive system (estrogen decreasing = cortisol rising = digestion slowdown which is NOT FUN) and I'm learning even more as I read the rest. Honestly, this book is a mood elevator. I'm having a better day for having started off reading this, if better = more informed, laughing, and incredibly pissed off at the patriarchy. Plus, it's a huge relief to know I can rec this book to a wide range of folks without worrying about people stumbling over gender essentialist/transphobic stuff. Highly recommended all around!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kath Albury

    I have been looking forward to reading this book, and I was NOT disappointed. As a long-time fan of Corinna's writing for Scarleteen, I knew they would bring the same careful research, empathy and no-bullshit approach to this project. I was especially keen to read it, because even though I am a cis woman, I haven't been able to see myself in the genre of peri/menopause advice literature that assumes the challenges I face in perimenopause are primarily related to my 'loss' of fertility and perceiv I have been looking forward to reading this book, and I was NOT disappointed. As a long-time fan of Corinna's writing for Scarleteen, I knew they would bring the same careful research, empathy and no-bullshit approach to this project. I was especially keen to read it, because even though I am a cis woman, I haven't been able to see myself in the genre of peri/menopause advice literature that assumes the challenges I face in perimenopause are primarily related to my 'loss' of fertility and perceived prettiness or youthfulness. 'What Fresh Hell' *does* address all these issues - but it also talks about the ways peri/menopause impacts on & intersects with work; chronic health conditions; trauma; disability; race; sexual expression; diverse sexualities; trans & non-binary gender experience, and relationships of all kinds. Having BRAVELY surveyed historical literature on peri/menopause that frames it in hideously pathological and heteronormative ways, Corinna goes on to explain what happens in our bodies and minds as our estrogen levels begin to change. As Corinna puts it "Menopause is a life stage. It’s not an illness or progressive disease" – and consequently even the most exhausting peri/menopausal experiences are contextualised as 'impacts & effects' - not symptoms. The information in this book is so rich and grounded in rigorous research it's hard to do it justice in a short review. Standout sections include: an overview of prescription and non-prescription supplements; a great explanation of the ins & outs of different kinds of hormone therapy; advice for screening health care providers; and tips on how to treat your body well as it changes (including practical advice dealing with fluctuations in size & shape without having to buy a new wardrobe every few weeks). Plus, there is a heartfelt Ode to A Cooling Pillow that will make you laugh/cry. If you are perimenopausal (or think you might be) - or you are supporting people who are or will be perimenopausal - you need this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diana Green

    This is so good, I sent a copy to my sister, who is also going through the roller-coaster of mid-life transition. Not only does this book provide a bunch of well-balanced information and suggestions, it's also got wry humor that had me laughing long and loud. Even better, it's very inclusive, much more so than the majority of books on the subject. This is so good, I sent a copy to my sister, who is also going through the roller-coaster of mid-life transition. Not only does this book provide a bunch of well-balanced information and suggestions, it's also got wry humor that had me laughing long and loud. Even better, it's very inclusive, much more so than the majority of books on the subject.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carolee Wheeler

    This IS the perimenopause book I've been waiting for. Rather than wading through oceans of patriarchal BS about making sure not to disrupt other people while you retain your supple flexibility and people-pleasing properties, this book acknowledges, names, and even celebrates the many transformational experiences of peri- and menopause. What you'll find: discussion about sexual and body changes; how to cope with other people when you want to tell them all to f off; radical self-care; calling in a This IS the perimenopause book I've been waiting for. Rather than wading through oceans of patriarchal BS about making sure not to disrupt other people while you retain your supple flexibility and people-pleasing properties, this book acknowledges, names, and even celebrates the many transformational experiences of peri- and menopause. What you'll find: discussion about sexual and body changes; how to cope with other people when you want to tell them all to f off; radical self-care; calling in and being part of support systems; radical acceptance. What you won't find, and thank the Lumpy Space Princess for this: transphobia/transexclusionary language, misogyny, queer erasure, capitulation. Extra super special points for Heather Corinna's listing their special webpage in the appendix - it includes great playlists, drink recipes, and the hilarious (and perpetually necessary) acknowledgement that sometimes that cool punk person from days of yore is now deeply problematic and probably should just be shelved for the time being. I recommend this book to ANYONE who knows ANYONE who is, was, or will experience menopause. I received a proof of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

    No one prepares you for perimenopause. I mean, sort of. You hear tales of hot flashes, mood swings, brain fog, and maybe you have someone in your life, a friend who is a few years ahead of you, or your mother’s “change” was discussed in hushed whispers. But there are still many mysteries about perimenopause and the mystery can disarm you like puberty, except at least with puberty you had a Judy Blume book and a public education class. And the pain of it is that everyone’s experience is slightly No one prepares you for perimenopause. I mean, sort of. You hear tales of hot flashes, mood swings, brain fog, and maybe you have someone in your life, a friend who is a few years ahead of you, or your mother’s “change” was discussed in hushed whispers. But there are still many mysteries about perimenopause and the mystery can disarm you like puberty, except at least with puberty you had a Judy Blume book and a public education class. And the pain of it is that everyone’s experience is slightly different. I had thought I was fairly done with it until I had what I know now is referred to as flooding. It is exactly what it sounds like. What is this? Do fibroids burst? Do I have cancer? I called my OB/GYN and went in. She ran some tests and it wasn’t cancer, and while this doctor knew everything about my reproductive system and birthing, I didn’t feel the same level of competence with this new situation. She put me on birth control for a few months to see if it would straighten out. I didn’t even find much on the Internet, except for advice to give myself the excuse to stay on the couch a few days. So I turned to What Fresh Hell is This? Perimenopause, menopause, other Indignities, and You by Heather Corinna a new book coming out this June. The author, while not a doctor, does have street cred having been an educator in the field of sexuality. There were parts of the book I felt were useful, a section on flooding was included, and there were some questions I had answered. Sometimes I had to pass through a lot of content to get my particular questions answered. The book tries to be all things to all people—there is a fair amount dedicated to the trans experience and a lot on the history of menopausal malpractice by the patriarchy. There isn’t a lot out there, but my hormones have made my patience thin and I want answers to MY questions. Some of the solutions also seem “in the now”, but that may be because this field is rapidly changing. Again, my experience will be different from yours, so you may find answers to your particular situation with this book. BTW—an excellent title for the book, because with each new experience of perimenopause, you will be asking yourself exactly What Fresh Hell is This?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Freedman

    This is everything I've been waiting for in a perimenopause book. The key element is the "I" voice. The author is an expert in their own experience who has also done their research in what the menopausal transition might be like for others. They are also honest about what a reader may expect. They touch on what perimenopause might be like for people experiencing medical menopause, e.g., cancer survivors, as well as people assigned male or female at birth but have transitioned to another gender v This is everything I've been waiting for in a perimenopause book. The key element is the "I" voice. The author is an expert in their own experience who has also done their research in what the menopausal transition might be like for others. They are also honest about what a reader may expect. They touch on what perimenopause might be like for people experiencing medical menopause, e.g., cancer survivors, as well as people assigned male or female at birth but have transitioned to another gender via hormones or surgery. However, they alert the reader that they won't feel as seen in What Fresh Hell Is This as they may in book written specifically for their own population. And yet they attempt to touch on the issues and experiences of people going through a different kind of menopause. They are clear, too, that everyone's menopause is different. Corinna is a GenXer who writes with a gentle authority--again, using a first person narrative or by interviewing people holding other facial, ethnic, and gender identities from theirs, as well as people with disabilities of which Corinna is one. Their expertise doesn't have the ring of "I Am The Expert" that other medical and medical adjacent books I've read do. I've also read more casual books, comics, and zines that deal with perimenopause. While they can be a lot of fun, none of them has provided the symptom by symptom rundown that Corinna does. It is reassuring, or maybe preassuring for people earlier in the meno that periods are likely to get closer together before they get farther apart. You might have flooding periods. They're normally--but here's how to recognize when they're not. I wish I'd had WFHIT five years ago. I also wish partners and family members and anyone who lives with people going through The Change would read the book. My cohabitant is going to!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    Im a trans masc who's currently dead center of a huge flare of technicolor, multiclimate per hour perimenopause symptoms this past week -- insomnia, cold flashes, sweats, malaise, headaches, depression, intense mood swings. And this book has definitely distracted me from murdering someone more than once. I currently cuddle this book alongside my heating pad most nights as a source of comfort while I shiver and sweat. I am only partway through reading, and so this is a placeholder review for the Im a trans masc who's currently dead center of a huge flare of technicolor, multiclimate per hour perimenopause symptoms this past week -- insomnia, cold flashes, sweats, malaise, headaches, depression, intense mood swings. And this book has definitely distracted me from murdering someone more than once. I currently cuddle this book alongside my heating pad most nights as a source of comfort while I shiver and sweat. I am only partway through reading, and so this is a placeholder review for the moment. But I have to crow about what an amazing resource this is. The author has a wonderfully warm, friendly style as they inform and educate on all manner of issues regarding menopause without ever insisting that those of us experiencing the end of menstruation are any particular gender. I can't begin to articulate how healing this is, especially when our foundational feelings around menopause are indeed one factor (among many factors) in how it plays out for us. Having the room to embrace this as a part of our bodily journey separate and apart from being a particular gender is so deeply nourishing. Getting armed with information while not being misgendered is a godsend. And there's even more specific gifts to come for trans readers, I can tell from the table of contents. This book is a voice of a gender nonconforming perimenopause experience that is making me feel deeply supported. I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cari

    I didn't want to admit I needed to read this. But with my fortieth birthday on the horizon, I cannot ignore the march of time anymore. Luckily, Corinna makes this journey funny and accessible. I love that this book is super-inclusive and sensitive to trans and queer needs and concerns. It is also so comprehensive, covering everything from how you'll feel about different subjects during menopause to hormonal treatments and medical care. Menopause is not a disease - it is a time of life, and thing I didn't want to admit I needed to read this. But with my fortieth birthday on the horizon, I cannot ignore the march of time anymore. Luckily, Corinna makes this journey funny and accessible. I love that this book is super-inclusive and sensitive to trans and queer needs and concerns. It is also so comprehensive, covering everything from how you'll feel about different subjects during menopause to hormonal treatments and medical care. Menopause is not a disease - it is a time of life, and things can actually get better! I am less stressed about this upcoming phase of life now! This will be a must-buy for my library and for those heading into this transition. I am sure I will reference it frequently.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    The title alone intrigued me, what fresh hell is this is something I say in my day-to-day life, so an author that chose to use it as their title would very likely be an author I’d want to read. That the book was about perimenopause was (almost) secondary. I’m probably not in perimenopause yet (based on the evidence I’m most likely in my Late Reproductive phase where things start to go a little haywire from what they’ve been the past couple decades), so why would this book be something that I wou The title alone intrigued me, what fresh hell is this is something I say in my day-to-day life, so an author that chose to use it as their title would very likely be an author I’d want to read. That the book was about perimenopause was (almost) secondary. I’m probably not in perimenopause yet (based on the evidence I’m most likely in my Late Reproductive phase where things start to go a little haywire from what they’ve been the past couple decades), so why would this book be something that I would want to read? The answer is simple: it’s coming for me. I’m a person with a utero-ovarian system which means this is an inevitability. Also, like everyone else, I’m living in a reality where the patriarchy has pathologized natural occurrences in the body systems of people with uteruses (or otherwise experiencing menopause). Information is quite literally power in situation surrounding our health, and as I experience some of the things that are hallmarks of perimenopause its time to get informed. And what a fun time it was getting informed. What Fresh Hell is This? is health-forward, feminist, empathetic and practical guide that offers straightforward descriptions of what is happening in our bodies and how it effects our minds and lives. Sex educator Heather Corinna (they/them) gives practical, clear information that also includes affected populations who have long been left out of the discussion, those with disabilities, queer, transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people, the working class and other marginalized folks. The inclusivity of this book goes to the length of including an appendix written by Joanne Mason about menopause as experienced by people who were born with testicular systems. The whole book isn’t for me right now, but it will be for me eventually. There was an incredible amount of useful information, and just good level setting provided that reminded me to do what I can for myself to make this transition easier as it comes (or at least less confusing and scary). If nothing else Corinna’s ten points for managing stress are worth the time investment, but the book has so much more to offer. full review: https://faintingviolet.wordpress.com/...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cindy • leavemetomybooks•

    Heather Corinna has written a smart, inclusive, HILARIOUS, relatable, extremely useful guide to illuminating a part of our lives that many (most?) women have never truly understood — I thought “menopause” was having a few hot flashes and being cranky for a month or two and then just never having a period again, rather than the sweaty, years-long perimenopausal slog through a river of blood and emotions and terrible sleep and other nonsense that I and so many of my friends are going through. Norm Heather Corinna has written a smart, inclusive, HILARIOUS, relatable, extremely useful guide to illuminating a part of our lives that many (most?) women have never truly understood — I thought “menopause” was having a few hot flashes and being cranky for a month or two and then just never having a period again, rather than the sweaty, years-long perimenopausal slog through a river of blood and emotions and terrible sleep and other nonsense that I and so many of my friends are going through. Normalizing talking about our bodies and all of the crazy stuff that happens to them and not feeling ashamed is a big step towards improving women’s physical and emotional health. We’ve been indoctrinated our whole lives to think that women’s bodies are gross and we should be ashamed of the gross things our gross bodies do, *especially* as we age and lose our reproductive value. I’ve done a pretty solid job internalizing all of that self-loathing for 46 years and am trying my hardest to not pass that garbage along to my daughter (and son, because boys should know this too). ANYWAY. I have been recommending this book to everyone I know and will be referring to it frequently as I carry on with this magical journey.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Dreamer

    Just six weeks ago, I entered menopause suddenly after a surgery for endometriosis. I’ve been in perimenopause for several years already and feeling all topsy turvey as a result. I feel so lucky to have stumbled across this book on Instagram. Much of what’s out there about menopause is for cis-het women, so it was wildly refreshing, as a queer nonbinary person, to read a book about menopause written by a queer nonbinary person. The author’s witty, sarcastic humor was right up my alley and I laug Just six weeks ago, I entered menopause suddenly after a surgery for endometriosis. I’ve been in perimenopause for several years already and feeling all topsy turvey as a result. I feel so lucky to have stumbled across this book on Instagram. Much of what’s out there about menopause is for cis-het women, so it was wildly refreshing, as a queer nonbinary person, to read a book about menopause written by a queer nonbinary person. The author’s witty, sarcastic humor was right up my alley and I laughed out loud many times. I learned a lot and I feel 10x less shitty about myself and my current life situation now that I recognize that what I’ve been through and what I am going through now are typical and (mostly) temporary. Now I’m trying to figure out how to be more like Maude, Our Blessed Lady of IDGAF (this will make sense once you read the book).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    A clear, down to earth walk through perimenopause and menopause. I appreciated the gender neutral and health at every size approach the book takes toward subjects that are often covered in very gendered and fatphobic ways. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about this phase of life from a writer who manages to take the subject seriously, but not so seriously that I didn't laugh on more than one occasion. A clear, down to earth walk through perimenopause and menopause. I appreciated the gender neutral and health at every size approach the book takes toward subjects that are often covered in very gendered and fatphobic ways. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about this phase of life from a writer who manages to take the subject seriously, but not so seriously that I didn't laugh on more than one occasion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Whiddy

    Most perimenopause books I've read tell you what to think and do and make it seem like there’s something wrong with you if their one-size-fits-all solutions don’t fit you. As someone who made it through the punk rock, DIY 90s and already knows what my cervix looks like (it's cute!), I like having lots of information, no BS, no judgement, and the knowledge and encouragement to make my own best choices. This is that book. Though I happen to be happily living as the gender I was assigned at birth, Most perimenopause books I've read tell you what to think and do and make it seem like there’s something wrong with you if their one-size-fits-all solutions don’t fit you. As someone who made it through the punk rock, DIY 90s and already knows what my cervix looks like (it's cute!), I like having lots of information, no BS, no judgement, and the knowledge and encouragement to make my own best choices. This is that book. Though I happen to be happily living as the gender I was assigned at birth, the all-genders, all-bodies, all-experiences affirming nature of Corinna's book mean that I can sort through the suggestions offered free of any judgey, pre-conceived ideas about what 'should' work for me--like figuring out that testosterone, not estrogen, might be a good fit for my low-desire crankypants self. Corinna's personal stories of breakups, quitting smoking and staying present in your body for it all, are neither cheerleady nor white knuckley--just relatable, funny and empowering. And I appreciated that Corinna doesn't claim to know it all, but instead includes perspectives from queer, trans, POC, folks with disabilities and more who speak in their own voices about their own experiences. It won't put me to sleep at 3am when I'm waiting for my soaked sheets to dry, but for once, that's a good thing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mohini Lal-Zywicki

    It's hard not to spend your post-pubescent life feeling like your body is a mess. "What Fresh Hell is This" reminded me that anything we don't understand feels like a mess. The more I understand the mechanics of what's going on with my body, the less it feels like a scary pit I've been forced to live in. Heather has created an incredible resource for those of us who feel like they've been stuck in wonky bodies by demystifying all the things we wish someone would have told us. And they do it in a It's hard not to spend your post-pubescent life feeling like your body is a mess. "What Fresh Hell is This" reminded me that anything we don't understand feels like a mess. The more I understand the mechanics of what's going on with my body, the less it feels like a scary pit I've been forced to live in. Heather has created an incredible resource for those of us who feel like they've been stuck in wonky bodies by demystifying all the things we wish someone would have told us. And they do it in a way that doesn't guilt-trip the reader for not knowing it already. 5/5-- absolutely read this if you have a uterus, or know and love someone with a uterus. Menopause is inevitable! But it doesn't have to be a dark pit where science goes to die. The information is not only out there, it's right here in "What Fresh Hell is This," already collected and presented in funny, honest ways.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy Mendelson

    No matter what stage of menopause you are in, this book is full of extremely useful information. I never thought I would laugh while reading about this nightmare going on in my body but the book is really funny and laughter really helps! Heather gently takes your hand and guides you through perimenopause, menopause and more. I’m 57, well into menopause, and no one has ever done that for me. I highly recommend this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This book is absolutely brilliant. It's written for EVERYONE who experiences menopause, because menopause does not just happen to straight white middle class women, contrary to what mainstream literature will promote. This book is INCLUSIVE, and uses language and explanations for people outside the gender binary, making sure to include the experiences of BIPOC folks, disabled folks, and more. A LOT of It made me laugh, cry, yell WHAT THE HELL at the crap patriarchy has inflicted on anyone going This book is absolutely brilliant. It's written for EVERYONE who experiences menopause, because menopause does not just happen to straight white middle class women, contrary to what mainstream literature will promote. This book is INCLUSIVE, and uses language and explanations for people outside the gender binary, making sure to include the experiences of BIPOC folks, disabled folks, and more. A LOT of It made me laugh, cry, yell WHAT THE HELL at the crap patriarchy has inflicted on anyone going through menopause, and a whole spectrum of emotions and reactions. I was actually able to read the physical book too, thanks to the hormones I've been taking, because my brain has been so fried. I hadn't been able to physically read, or write anything of worth for so long. I've always been a big fan of audiobooks, and I do use them, but when I realised I couldn't concentrate on reading a physical book, I was absolutely gutted. Nothing about this is easy, but reading this taught me much more than the healthcare literature I've digested so far. Please please please read it, Heather is FANTASTIC.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Pankau

    This was a very informative look at perimenopause and menopause, all the things that can happen with a body during that time, the various forms of treatment that one can look into, how all of this is normal, and also the importance of self-care above all. It is very honest and a little humorous, but also very inclusive.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gwynne

    Learned SO much about the wide range of possibilities that lie ahead, what to be on the lookout for, what to stress about or not, and most importantly to be willing to try stuff to see what works for me. Will recommend and share with many friends and use it to begin conversations with my lady relatives to understand the experiences of older folks who share my genetics. Heather's writing is a festival of insight, scholarship synthesis, swears, and hilarious/brutal/vivid imagery, and the accompani Learned SO much about the wide range of possibilities that lie ahead, what to be on the lookout for, what to stress about or not, and most importantly to be willing to try stuff to see what works for me. Will recommend and share with many friends and use it to begin conversations with my lady relatives to understand the experiences of older folks who share my genetics. Heather's writing is a festival of insight, scholarship synthesis, swears, and hilarious/brutal/vivid imagery, and the accompaniments of some exceptional cartoons and graphics had me cackling through my anxiety sweat. Will purchase a cooling pillow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Moryma

    Wide ranging, comprehensive, comforting, exhilarating, and funny as hell. As a politically liberal, pandemic-recovering, Gen-X person I felt like the book was written for me, but would heartily recommend it more widely as well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Kramer

    I’m a cishet woman in my early 40s and I’m 99% sure I’ve started perimenopause so the release of this book was quite timely. The author is a queer nonbinary sex educator and there's a chapter from a trans woman, making for a super inclusive read. I’m glad I'll be able to recommend this widely without any reservations. It’s written in a conversational style and normalizes everything but also gives permission to be pissed off about it. It was reassuring to hear about what to expect and I learned a I’m a cishet woman in my early 40s and I’m 99% sure I’ve started perimenopause so the release of this book was quite timely. The author is a queer nonbinary sex educator and there's a chapter from a trans woman, making for a super inclusive read. I’m glad I'll be able to recommend this widely without any reservations. It’s written in a conversational style and normalizes everything but also gives permission to be pissed off about it. It was reassuring to hear about what to expect and I learned a lot. My symptoms have been pretty mild so far (hope I didn’t just jinx myself) but I feel better equipped for if and when that changes. Cannot confirm or deny how many times I’ve brought up perimenopause in conversation with my friends while reading this. It made for great discussions! We should all be talking about this much more and I hope this book will help change the narrative.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Not just good basic knowledge about a topic that goodness knows my mother never talked about with me, but also very respectful and inclusive of gender identity and expression.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    An informative read written with just the right amount of deprecating humour. I love that the content is intersectional and inclusive. Kudos too to the illustrator - the art makes the book more relatable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brandann Hill-Mann

    What can I even say about this book that has not already been well said? This book has it all: wit, inclusion, comics, and lots of real talk that I've come to both expect of Heather Corinna and need in any sort of book on (peri)menopause. Corinna lays out their personal experience alongside comprehensive factual information with a rawness that I can appreciate and a snark that is off the charts amazing. This book is like a love letter to Gen X at the perfect moment when we are entering this phas What can I even say about this book that has not already been well said? This book has it all: wit, inclusion, comics, and lots of real talk that I've come to both expect of Heather Corinna and need in any sort of book on (peri)menopause. Corinna lays out their personal experience alongside comprehensive factual information with a rawness that I can appreciate and a snark that is off the charts amazing. This book is like a love letter to Gen X at the perfect moment when we are entering this phase of life, and is crafted with all the care and attention to detail that has helped Scarleteen thrive all these years and made S.E.X. such in invaluable book for teens and young adults. This book has given me the same confidence of knowledge of my body that Corinna's other resources gave me for parenting my child, and it's meant the world. Thank you to NegGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin Shea Smith

    I'm hard-pressed to think of a book written about perimenopause/menopause that is more informative, inclusive, or empathetic. My biggest complaint about this biological norm is how deeply misunderstood and under-researched it is - when you seek out information from the medical community around peri/menopause, by and large, you are met with the equivalent of an emoji shrug. This is why there is a glut of highly sexist, transphobic, and fatphobic "experts" taking advantage of this dearth in inform I'm hard-pressed to think of a book written about perimenopause/menopause that is more informative, inclusive, or empathetic. My biggest complaint about this biological norm is how deeply misunderstood and under-researched it is - when you seek out information from the medical community around peri/menopause, by and large, you are met with the equivalent of an emoji shrug. This is why there is a glut of highly sexist, transphobic, and fatphobic "experts" taking advantage of this dearth in information - who's gonna hold them accountable? I will not put so much pressure on this book as to say "Heather Corinna will," but they come awfully close. Their book is the first of its kind - thorough, fact-and-data backed, inclusive, and practical. When I first entered perimenopause, I was dumbfounded. And desperate. Not only was I not afforded any productive or helpful guidance from the medical community, but any resources available were also smothered in tropes. Corinna's book is a welcome respite for anyone who is desperately seeking clarity around the science of peri/menopause; for anyone who is finding themselves trapped within a pink, gendered box; and for anyone who just wants some empathy and tips for getting through it. There is literally no excuse for the medical community's general abandonment as to how to treat people during this biologically normal stage of life; it's been happening since time immemorial. But in the meantime, Corinna's book is an invaluable aid in getting through this with dignity and care.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    Well written, intensely researched, and totally inclusive! The author took what could have been a dry, intense subject and turned it into a fascinating and witty - yes, witty - read. A book that even someone as ignorant (on the topic) as I am can understand. It’s like a comprehensive encyclopedia written in a manner to entertain. I found myself literally laughing out loud at some of the humor, perhaps in part because it was so relatable. The book is full of information and resources, yet has a w Well written, intensely researched, and totally inclusive! The author took what could have been a dry, intense subject and turned it into a fascinating and witty - yes, witty - read. A book that even someone as ignorant (on the topic) as I am can understand. It’s like a comprehensive encyclopedia written in a manner to entertain. I found myself literally laughing out loud at some of the humor, perhaps in part because it was so relatable. The book is full of information and resources, yet has a wonderfully fun, unique personality all its own. The target audience? Pretty much anyone and everyone who has experienced - or ever will experience - perimenopause and menopause. AND, anyone who simply would like to survive living with someone going through these changes, and desires insight into the fresh hell it all is. And I think that’s one of the reasons it stands out as unique - there is truly something in it for everyone.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Helen Kemp

    An incredible body of work. Heather's writing has such a fresh, vibrant lightness to it. Well-observed, poignant, factual, and full of humour that adds beautifully to the approachability of the text. 'What Fresh Hell Is This?' made me think, disappear off down rabbit holes, and generally get a much better appreciation for how others manage/navigate peri-menopause. It has opened my eyes and broadened my mind. Thank you! An incredible body of work. Heather's writing has such a fresh, vibrant lightness to it. Well-observed, poignant, factual, and full of humour that adds beautifully to the approachability of the text. 'What Fresh Hell Is This?' made me think, disappear off down rabbit holes, and generally get a much better appreciation for how others manage/navigate peri-menopause. It has opened my eyes and broadened my mind. Thank you!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Keziah

    I'm nowhere near menopause but I still found this book fascinating and FUN. That's right...Heather made menopause into a FUN subject. It gives you not just information, but a history of information about the topic, an examination of how menopause has been culturally framed, and a proposal for how to reframe it. I love this book! Inclusive sex ed for all ages FTW!!! I'm nowhere near menopause but I still found this book fascinating and FUN. That's right...Heather made menopause into a FUN subject. It gives you not just information, but a history of information about the topic, an examination of how menopause has been culturally framed, and a proposal for how to reframe it. I love this book! Inclusive sex ed for all ages FTW!!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lauren loves llamas

    Content warnings: (view spoiler)[discussions of medical experimentation without consent, fat phobia, ableism, disordered eating, ageism, white supremacy, misogyny, transphobia, partner abuse (hide spoiler)] After an online friend raved about this book, I felt like I had to pick it up. I’m approaching my forties, the time when, according to this book, many people start entering perimenopause. I knew going in that I was incredibly uninformed about it, and turns out, everything I knew was pretty muc Content warnings: (view spoiler)[discussions of medical experimentation without consent, fat phobia, ableism, disordered eating, ageism, white supremacy, misogyny, transphobia, partner abuse (hide spoiler)] After an online friend raved about this book, I felt like I had to pick it up. I’m approaching my forties, the time when, according to this book, many people start entering perimenopause. I knew going in that I was incredibly uninformed about it, and turns out, everything I knew was pretty much completely wrong. “I’m not here to fix you. I’m just here to try and help you get through this hot mess.” Apparently, I’m not the only one. The author starts with some of their own history, an example of how lack of knowledge about menopause – even among doctors – can lead to costly and frustrating issues. Throughout the book, the author is thoughtful and honest about their own struggles, and I really appreciated that. The next section goes over the history of (mis)treatment of menopause, with gems such as doctors stating that outliving your ovaries means you’ve outlived your use as a human being. It’s a bit hard to read, but it’s a good background to see where some of the cultural and medical misunderstandings that still persist today come from. While obviously no person’s menopause will be the same, there’s some common areas to focus on, what the author calls “Ya Basics” – things that honestly everyone should be doing, from hydration to movement to sleep to stress reduction. It’s basically self-care, but something that I, at least, recognize that I struggle with even now. After that, there’s sections devoted to possible issues – hot flashes, mental health issues, cognitive issues, digestive issues, urinary and genital issues…. – you get the point, menopause is a lot of issues – and suggestions for what may help. “It is not uncommon for some people in menopause to take a look at their whole lives or some big part of them and come to the conclusion that what it really needs is some gasoline and a match. There may come a time in this when our fucks all come home to roost, we size them up, and say, “Oh yeah? Let’s dance.” When listing it all out like that, this book can get rather terrifying at times so it’s good that it’s also hilariously funny. From silly things like a Rick Astley reference to one-liners, to a multi-page ode to a cooling pillow (one of the tips for getting better sleep, since apparently night sweats start with your head) there’s a lot of good humor. And while the author doesn’t sugarcoat that perimenopause can be rough going, they also provide lots of suggestions, and even a chapter at the end of the “benefits” of menopause. It was a lot like sitting down for a very frank chat with a good friend, honest and informative but also caring. “Self-acceptance and self-love don’t require that we have no hard feelings or nothing we don’t like; they mostly just ask that however we feel about our bodies and ourselves, we’re not a dick about it.” One of the things I really appreciated is that this book is inclusive, especially in terms of gender and disabilities. The author uses the term “people with utero-ovarian systems” as a shorthand, and the book specifically includes info for people who start taking testosterone for gender transitioning or affirm reasons. Look, this crap is scary and can be even more so for those outside gender “norms” or who already have some form of disability or marginalization. I’m cis, so I can’t speak to the sections for trans men and women, but tt was nice to specifically see sections that mentioned my specific disability and how it might affect whatever symptoms I experience. It’s also extremely body positive, for example, acknowledging that tracking foods (one recommendation for people having digestive issues) might not be a healthy option for everyone. Overall, I found this incredibly informative and helpful, and I’ll definitely be buying a copy to refer back to when I inevitably need it. I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dai Guerra

    Since this book is non-fiction, there is no need for me to have this separated into characters and writing style. I was quite surprised with how much I enjoyed this book as I was worried it wouldn’t be relevant to me. I really liked the way that this book was written and how everything is separated into different chapters based on what is being discussed. I liked how this book talked about a lot of the changes that happen with menopause and not just what happens to the reproductive system. I was Since this book is non-fiction, there is no need for me to have this separated into characters and writing style. I was quite surprised with how much I enjoyed this book as I was worried it wouldn’t be relevant to me. I really liked the way that this book was written and how everything is separated into different chapters based on what is being discussed. I liked how this book talked about a lot of the changes that happen with menopause and not just what happens to the reproductive system. I was quite surprised about the many things that people who may go through menopause don’t know about their bodies. I shared a copy of this book with my mom and kept one for myself so I can reference it in the future. Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was how the language that is used throughout this book is gender neutral. As someone who is non-binary and one day will experience menopause, it was nice to not have this tied to being a woman. There was no point in this book that I felt like they were not including me in the group of people who experience that phenomenon. I highly recommend this to those of you who may experience menopause, who are currently experiencing menopause, and those of you who want to better understand those of us who go through menopause. There was so much that I learned through reading this book and a lot of things that I was amazed by. I think its very important to be familiar with the changes that happen to your body so you are prepared when they come.

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