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Don't Cramp My Style: Stories About That Time of the Month

Review

Don't Cramp My Style: Stories About That Time of the Month

The authors of these short stories range from well known (including the award-winning Han Nolan) to relatively new; the writers plumb their own experiences and their imaginations. The tales cross cultures, classes, centuries and countries. They are alternately historical, hysterical, terrifying, tragic and touching. But they all contemplate periods (some of which might be more accurately described as "question marks" or "exclamation points"!).

Here's a sampling of the anthology's many unique slants on monthly cycles:

David Lubar's "The Heroic Quest of Douglas Megawain" recounts a teen boy's mission, which begins when his ladylove requests he buy her a box of tampons. Can he overcome his own ignorance and the attitude of his fellow shopping buddy to bring home the treasure?

If the previous story is an adventure, "Taking Care of Things" by Pat Brisson is a situation comedy. A desperate girl struggles though a classic nightmare as her urgent need for pads is foiled at every turn. Teachers with blanket "no restroom" policies, maintenance men working in bathrooms, empty machines, you name it --- the universe conspires to keep Carly from her feminine protection.

In sharp contrast, "Moon Time Child" by Alice McGill is a gut-wrencher. Salome is a young slave terrified of her future as a forced "breeder" of slave babies for her owner. Salome dreads the onset of her "moon times" with passion, and shares her fears with the elderly blind woman she tends. Is there no way out for Salome?

Katya, the main character of Joan Elizabeth Goodman's "The Czarvena of Muscovy," is a young princess in long-ago Russia. When she begins to menstruate, Katya endures smothering attention from the court's noble ladies. Now that Katya is a woman, she will soon be betrothed to a prince. However, she is filled with sorrowful yearning for privacy and freedom. She longs to dance in the square, but all noble women must stay inside the castle except to attend church. Katya can't live with her life of imprisonment nor can she abandon her position of responsibility.

Talk about an inspired topic for a story collection! I can't imagine any teen girl (or any adult woman) not being intrigued. This anthology holds the perfect variety of stories. I thoroughly enjoyed each one --- and I was glad I didn't have to wait 28 days between tales.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on March 2, 2004

Don't Cramp My Style: Stories About That Time of the Month
edited by Lisa Rowe Fraustino

  • Publication Date: March 2, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0689858825
  • ISBN-13: 9780689858826