Flash Count Diary
“Many days I believe menopause is the new (if long overdue) frontier for the most compelling and necessary philosophy; Darcey Steinke is already there, blazing the way. This elegant, wise, fascinating, deeply moving book is an instant classic. I’m about to buy it for everyone I know.” —Maggie Nelson, author of The ArgonautsA brave, brilliant, and unprecedented examination of menopauseMenopause 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 revered as the ultimate expression of womanhood. Menopause is seen as a harbinger of death. Some books Steinke found promoted hormone replacement therapy. Others encouraged acceptance. But Steinke longed to understand menopause in a more complex, spiritual, and intellectually engaged way.In Flash Count Diary, Steinke writes frankly about aspects of Menopause that have rarely been written about before. She explores the changing gender landscape that comes with reduced hormone levels, and lays bare the transformation of female desire and the realities of prejudice against older women. Weaving together her personal story with philosophy, science, art, and literature, Steinke reveals that in the seventeenth century, women who had hot flashes in front of others could be accused of being witches; that the model for Duchamp's famous Étant donnés was a post-reproductive woman; and that killer whales—one of the only other species on earth to undergo menopause—live long post-reproductive lives.Flash Count Diary, with its deep research, open play of ideas, and reverence for the female body, will change the way you think about menopause. It's a deeply feminist book—honest about the intimations of mortality that menopause brings while also arguing for the ascendancy, beauty, and power of the post-reproductive years.

Flash Count Diary Details

TitleFlash Count Diary
Author
ReleaseJun 18th, 2019
PublisherSarah Crichton Books
ISBN-139780374156114
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Health

Flash Count Diary Review

  • Wendi
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    There's a lot to like about Darcey Steinke's book Flash Count Diary, 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 Flash Count Diary, 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.
    more
  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Bookread2day
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Jim Higgins
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. In a book that's both intensely personal and widerangingly literary, scientific and political, Stienke wrestles with the changes menopause has wrought in her as well as cultural denigration of postmenopausal women. She spends considerable narrative energy on killer whales, one of the few other species that goes through menopause, and a species she clearly feels a strong kinship with.
    more
  • Bridgett
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a refreshing and different look at menopause in that it never once suggests that menopause is a disease that needs to be treated with HT.
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    I burned (ha!) through this book in one sitting. It was a great read. Empowering, revelatory, heartbreaking, empathetic, poetic, wise, profane and deeply spiritual. For me it was a much needed branch to grab onto amid the eddying rapids (both emotional and physical) of my 49th year. Yaaaassss!
    more
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    It's about damn time.
  • Shawne Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    This is a powerful, deeply engaging book. Steinke is a gifted memoirist, flitting between the sharing of her own journey, the writings of others on the topic of menopause, and the delivery of data, without ever losing a cohesive, narrative thread that feels raw, real, and profound. Maybe it’s because I found this book at just the perfect time in my life, but I feel changed by it. My kindle copy is full of highlighted passages and bookmarked pages that I know I will refer to many times. I recomme This is a powerful, deeply engaging book. Steinke is a gifted memoirist, flitting between the sharing of her own journey, the writings of others on the topic of menopause, and the delivery of data, without ever losing a cohesive, narrative thread that feels raw, real, and profound. Maybe it’s because I found this book at just the perfect time in my life, but I feel changed by it. My kindle copy is full of highlighted passages and bookmarked pages that I know I will refer to many times. I recommend this book to anyone (and everyone) who wants to dive into a different, more empowering (radical, subversive, natural) view of menopause — and middle aged womanhood — than what we are typically presented with.
    more
  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    I wish my mother had had this book years ago. I won this in a Goodreads contest at the right time. My male Dr had only said, "Your only alternative is Estrogen. But with most of my relatives already having or gone through a form of cancer or other. Hormones did not seem quite right for my bloodline. This book offered a couple of alternatives that work as well or better. It is an honest look at what so many have considered taboo. I gave this copy to my little sister since she too will be middle a I wish my mother had had this book years ago. I won this in a Goodreads contest at the right time. My male Dr had only said, "Your only alternative is Estrogen. But with most of my relatives already having or gone through a form of cancer or other. Hormones did not seem quite right for my bloodline. This book offered a couple of alternatives that work as well or better. It is an honest look at what so many have considered taboo. I gave this copy to my little sister since she too will be middle aged like me. Women should buy this book and share it with all their friends, sisters, aunts.... and then save it for our nieces and daughters since it is so open and true about the time of life most Dr.s avoid looking into.
    more
  • Debbie Bateman
    January 1, 1970
    With startling honesty and soul feeding wisdom, Darcey Steinke helps those of us who experience the great change reframe how we think about it. Her words came over me like a fire and burned away all the nonsense. Now I can regrow with fresh green. I loved this book. Every woman should read this and not wait for menopause. Steinke writes plainly about the stereotypes that would harm us all. She delves into the complex relationships we hold with our mothers, the truth about sex with an aging and s With startling honesty and soul feeding wisdom, Darcey Steinke helps those of us who experience the great change reframe how we think about it. Her words came over me like a fire and burned away all the nonsense. Now I can regrow with fresh green. I loved this book. Every woman should read this and not wait for menopause. Steinke writes plainly about the stereotypes that would harm us all. She delves into the complex relationships we hold with our mothers, the truth about sex with an aging and still passionate body, and the social position of older females in the killer whale population. I love killer whales and I hope one day to meet a postmenopausal one. I dare you to see female aging with wiser eyes. Let's take back our power.
    more
  • Jenna Evans
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Denise Link
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Carolee Wheeler
    January 1, 1970
    a beguiling mixture of horror and empowerment, minute and broad. Essential reading.
  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the few books out there that discusses menopause honestly and openly. It has long been treated as a problem that should be ignored, so it is nice to have a book with honest information.
  • Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    Another cis woman who equates menopause with becoming less woman. Except this one equates her experience of feeling more androgynous because of looking less feminine with the experiences of trans people on HRT. I was already skeptical because she'd cited Germaine Greer multiple times and though it seemed she was in favor of trans rights and multiple genders appropriating the experiences of trans people is super gross. Her kid kept telling her she didn't get it. There aren't many books that take Another cis woman who equates menopause with becoming less woman. Except this one equates her experience of feeling more androgynous because of looking less feminine with the experiences of trans people on HRT. I was already skeptical because she'd cited Germaine Greer multiple times and though it seemed she was in favor of trans rights and multiple genders appropriating the experiences of trans people is super gross. Her kid kept telling her she didn't get it. There aren't many books that take on menopause but no thanks.
    more
Write a review