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In my opinion, this book should be required reading for all teenage girls. As indicated, it is appropriate for ages 14-18 and ideally the earlier it is read the better, but even even as a mature woman, I found it enlightening and learned a few new things...knowledge I wish my teenage self had known, which would have served me very well over the ensuing years. I bought the book with my 17 year old daughter in mind and before opening it, was afraid I had missed the boat and it would be too juvenile for her. I couldn't have been more wrong. The author does a fantastic job of breaking down and presenting facts and information in such a way that women of all ages will be quickly drawn in and kept fascinated from start to finish. Knowledge is power and this book will put the power of confidence and respect for their bodies squarely in the hands of those who need it the most, teenage girls. I don't think it's a stretch to say that it could help set them on a lifelong positive course in all aspects of their sexuality (sexuality in the broadest sense of the term, not just as it relates to physical relationships), which is why I think the earlier it is read the better. My only complaint with this version of the book (the only one I'm familiar with) is that it is quite flimsy, from the cover to the newsprint-like quality of the pages within. It's also printed in black and white, and many of the sample charts and illustrations refer to colors that it would be helpful to see.
It's been nearly 10 years since I first read Toni Weschler's previous book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and finally began to understand a lot about my body, my cycle and my fertility that had never made sense before. I was one of the many readers of that book whose response was "If only I'd known this when I was younger!" This is the natural follow-up to that response - a similarly informative book but aimed at girls and younger women. Where TCOYF focuses on the aims of pregnancy achievement or pregnancy avoidance, Cycle Savvy's aim is for the reader to understand as much as possible about her cycle for its own sake, to address all the "why does this happen?" moments. Armed with this knowledge she can get a more accurate picture of cycle length, the difference between signs of changing fertility and signs of an infection, etc.
As far as it's possible for me, as a mum in her 40s, to judge, the book takes a suitable tone that would keep a teen girl interested without "trying too hard". There are quizzes and puzzles at the end of chapters to help consolidate the information and quotes and comments from women sharing their personal experiences. In the back there's a good glossary and various appendices to provide at-a-glance summaries of topics covered in more detail in the book.
I especially liked the emphasis on taking advice from older women and drawing on their experiences, and the encouragement to talk to your mum ("you may just realise that she's actually pretty cool!"). For me, the main negative is that some of the illustrations and diagrams are quite hard to understand because they are all in black and white and are obviously meant to have more colour - some of them even refer to the different colours used when in fact they are all just differing shades of grey! I don't know if there was another full-colour edition at some point but this is a bit of a problem. A more minor down-side is that the book is clearly aimed at American readers and includes many references to things that girls in the UK won't be familiar with, from a brand of pain relief to school grades (meant to give an idea of age), US organisations, money and helplines, as well as different spellings (eg oestrogen spelt estrogen).
In general, however, this book will be a really helpful resource for families with girls (and for boys to learn more about how female fertility works), and I'm pleased to have it for my daughters to read, as it's more accessible than TCOYF for teen girls. Parents should be aware that there is quite a lengthy chapter on sex towards the end which includes advice on making sure you're ready and raises the issues of unplanned pregnancy and STIs. You might want to check how the information corresponds with any views you have on the subject from a moral/religious/etc perspective so you can discuss this chapter with your children in that context.
Whilst I agree with the previous reviewer that girls need to be well-informed on the topic of puberty well in advance, I would probably not use this book as an introduction. Weschler states in her "note to moms" section that the book is aimed at girls aged 14-18 and she anticipates her readership will mostly have started their periods, so therefore doesn't go into the basics of what to expect. Instead she talks more about the "why?" behind the whole thing (which information obviously might be useful to a younger girl too but this is couched in terms of already having had the experience). Having read through the whole book, I'll definitely share it with my teenage daughter but leave it a bit longer for the pre-teen.
This book should be bought for all young girls, preferably a year or two before they need the info. It's a great book for sitting around the bedroom floor, and being looked at now and then. It allows girls to 'dip into' for little snippets of info and for them to build up a realistic picture of their fertility cycle: what it means, how to cope, how to plan. About ten years old onwards would be a suitable age for receiving this book as a gift from their favourite aunty.
It's a brilliant book for boys. So if you have boys in the house and no girls, I'd buy one too and leave it around where it can be read. Boys need to know this stuff too. Boys need to know what a real female human being looks like, when they are fertile and when they are not.
I think it's a great book for kicking off discussions about all the options a young girl has to deal with her menstrual flow. Whether or not they want to try disposable products or reusable ones. Whether they want to try knickers that take the flow, or try pads or tampons or go straight to a moon cup. Having this book, and those discussions, long before the event of the first menses will make for a much happier, more confident teens. And more relaxed parents!
My only "complain" about this book is that it is not translated to other languages so I can share it with my nieces. It is very well written, gives you knowledge, makes you think and question. I think it is an amazing guide for discovering womanhood.
I bought this book for my 14 year old daughter from the advice of a friend. My daughter is still very shy about this stuff and really isn't interested in the book right now, but she has tons of questions about her cycle. Unfortunately her cycle is much more complicated than mine ever was including a very heavy flow. I decided to keep the book and read it for myself so that I could answer her questions better. I'm not even half way through the book and I have learned so much already. I am almost 50 years old and I cannot believe the amount of new information that I am reading about in this book. I will finish reading it so I can help my daughter navigate and I'm sure in a year or two she will be happy to keep the book herself!