HUGE thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the approval of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: sex, sexuality, reproduction, feminism, women’s health, women’s rights, basically EVERYTHING BELOW THE WAIST.
Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Not even 5% into this eARC galley I was already astounded. Block does her research and backs it with scientific evidence, case studies, and even more research! Right out of the gate, she is offering factual information without holding anything back, yet staying absolutely in control of her writing. However, it’s not like reading a text book- it’s like listening to your best friend who happens to by a genius feminist OB/GYN give a presentation to a room full of women, and you happen to be in the front row and she’s talking directly to you, conversationally, but also in a way that maybe you should be taking notes because EVERYTHING is important. I felt as if the introductory chapter of her book deserved a mic drop, because it was SO. DANG. POWERFUL.
But it didn’t stop there. Every chapter, every discussion after was so amazingly complete. Not once did I feel like I was being spoon-fed information, nor did I feel like Block attempted to sway my opinion on any of the topics she discussed. She just gave me facts, research, and as much information as possible to help make informed decisions, and then added counterpoints to really make sure that all sides of the argument were explored.
I wish galleys allowed you to quote books pre-publication, because my golly, did I highlight the heck out of my kindle. I even had to start color-coding things- yellow for strong points and interesting facts, pink for personally relatable information (more on that in a second), blue for when the yellow got thick, and orange for quotes that I’m definitely adding to this post after the book’s publication day!
The reason why I am so fascinated by Block’s book is because I am a woman whose genetic history has effected much of my reproductive options. I am a genetic carrier of the Factor II blood mutation, which basically means that when blood clots get to step number 2, it messes up and starts again- meaning that I am genetically at high risk for blot clots. In chapter 1, Block discusses “The Pill”, which isn’t recommended for those with blood clots. My family has done a lot of research into birth control options, and learned that estrogen is necessary in the clotting process, and that women with clotting risks who take birth control methods with estrogens are 18% more likely to have have blood clots- so we’ve stuck with progestin only options, such as IUDs and implants. Turns out, those are just as risky, if not more. Additionally, there are a lot of other areas where this genetic mutation can affect reproduction, and I was surprised by how many thing are regulated by the health of one’s repro system. Reading Block’s research helped me gain so much insight that I and the women in my family have been so desperate and determined to understand.
Aside from how this book personally affected me, I found countless topics to mull over that I have or would like to eventually talk to friends about. Not only did Block discuss the ups and downs of “The Pill”, but she discussed fertility (both male and female), birthing options, menopause, the female anatomy and structure, hormones, women’s health research and statistics, abortions, miscarriages, and damn near everything below the waist– just as the title promises.
I feel that this book should be MANDATORY reading for every woman, and if you can get men to read this, the better. There is no tiptoeing around sensitive subjects, or ignoring proprieties- it’s a straightforward discussion about women’s health, where our society’s knowledge lies, and the things we need to address to do better.
TL/DR: Everything Below the Waist by Jennifer Block is a nonfictional novel that discusses everything pressing about women’s health.
Read it? YES! It should be mandatory for all women!
Recommend it? Yes! I’ve already started telling people to add it to their auto-buy list.
Buy it? ABSOLUTELY. You NEED this book! NEED!!!
If you liked this novel or review, check out these similar animal related reads:
- You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
- What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
- Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker