Happy Birthday to me, and other great books

Today I am 56 years old.  I feel it, yet I don’t.  I feel older, yet I don’t.  I feel younger, ummmmm, no I don’t.  I do feel that I’ve been here this long, sometimes longer, and I’m not terribly unhappy with where I am and who I am.  Sometimes the comments of others stand out so loudly from the crowd.  A few which I received (via Facebook) were eye-opening and rather delightful.  Those may be from people who don’t know me very well.

I have found THE book.  Yes, I do mean THE book.  So often, many tell us they have THE book.  Oprah tells us that on a regular basis.  My problem with Oprah’s books is that the are often too froo-froo for my taste.  Yes, I like to know that I can think positive thoughts and change my reality, but sometimes I want feet-on-the-floor advice.  Look-in-the-mirror-see-life suggestions.  I can meditate, and should do it more often, but on occasion I want the great understanding from writers who can help me.  I have found it in this book.

If you do not yet have it, RUN don’t walk to your nearest book store, Amazon connection, Kindle download.  The book is The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D.  This book has offered me a birdseye view of me.  I walked into the Local B&N store on Saturday afternoon, after dropping off the last of our Thanksgiving visitors at the airport.  It was time for some serious “me” time, so browsing through the books and having a cup of tea sounded perfect.  I, of course, cannot browse through books without becoming enamored with several.  Also, one of my gifts to myself this year is a trip to the beach for three nights alone to do some thinking, walking, and re-energizing.  I need books to help with that.  Again, RUN don’t walk.

I opened the book, which lay on a table of buy-2-get-1-free books, and begin to glance at the pages.  Reading the contents page, I quickly flipped to “The Mature Brain” (not to be confused with grownup.  Mature=50+).  The first paragraph was one of those strange “she must have interviewed me” reporting that made me know immediately I had found what I had come to find.

I know I’m preaching to the choir now, but this book will open your eyes on your whole life’s brain in a way that you never considered possible.  According to Brizendine, research on women’s brains did not begin until 1990.  Prior to that, we were considered to have the brain of small men.  Because our brains are actually smaller.  Denser with as many neurons as a man’s, but physically smaller.

Content titles run from “What Makes Us Women”, to “Love and Trust”, and “The Future of the Female Brain”.  Because of the differing hormonal styles of women’s bodies and brains, there are such tremendous differences between how a man reacts, responds, chooses, and lives.  Interestingly, as I read portions to my husband, he kept asking about what this meant for men.  I stated calmly, then firmly, then with some agitation that this was a book about women.


Dr. Brizendine begins the book with her hormonal cast of characters, in which she defines the important hormones in both women and men.  She includes a chart which explains what is happening hormonally to women at each stage of life, from fetal to postmenopause.  The book reads easily, with personal stories to explain and compare the many stages and their characteristics.  If you have children, both boys and girls, this will allow you insight into them that you could have used many years earlier.  This is not an  anti-feminist book.  She states, that “females perform all the cognitive functions males perform — they just do so by using different brain circuits” (5).

Treat yourself for your birthday – whether it is today, or sometime in the next 364 days.  You will be so glad that you did.

Helping our Daughters

I am horrified by the challenges facing our daughters – the expectations for looks, thinness, sex and friendships.  Sticking our heads in the sand will not save them.  Helping these young women to understand choices and the importance of the freedom to be themselves must be at the forefront of our education and relating to this girls.  If you have an adolescent daughter – or a daughter of any age – please do her the service of reading this book.  We cannot allow the media to shape our daughters in the  manner of MTV and Glamour.  “An eye-opening look at the everyday dangers of being young and female, and how adults can help.” 

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