A gripping chronicle that will be especially useful for expectant or aspirational mothers.
The story of the transformative Doula Project.
Mahoney and Mitchell explain how they were inspired as activists to broaden the reproductive rights movement to make sure that women seeking abortions “have continuous, nonjudgmental physical, emotional, and educational support just like people giving birth.” During the summers of 2007 and 2008, they “set out to translate the reproductive justice framework into a more direct-care-oriented approach.” They took the term “doula,” derived from the Greek name for female slave and in the past only used to describe birth attendants, and adapted it to include “abortion doulas.” The authors aimed to include not only women who suffered miscarriages, underwent deliberate abortions, or decided to become single mothers, but also “transgender and gender nonconforming people,” and they helped to bridge the gap between birth and abortion activists. As they note, those who sought their help were mainly “women of color, immigrants, and young people.” While the main focus of the book is the women they served and the causes they supported, the authors also discuss the problem of caregiver burnout in this emotionally charged field. During the past decade, doulas have been credited with helping to create a more broad-minded acceptance of their craft, and just as significantly, they have gained acceptance by the medical profession, something that was sorely lacking in previous decades. For women without support from family or friends, their presence during medical procedures can be crucial. Doulas represent their clients’ wishes when they are unable to do so—e.g., helping to make a decision about induced labor or C-section. This eye-opening book also includes a glossary that defines common terms such as “epidural” as well as less-familiar ones like “dilation and curettage” or “manual vacuum aspiration.” Throughout, the authors’ stories are vivid, absorbing, and informative.A gripping chronicle that will be especially useful for expectant or aspirational mothers.
Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Feminist Press
Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016
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by Rebecca Skloot ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 9, 2010
Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...
A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.
In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.
Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010
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by Ta-Nehisi Coates ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 8, 2015
This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
New York Times Bestseller
National Book Award Winner
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.
Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”
Pub Date: July 8, 2015
Page Count: 176
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015
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