"A powerful intervention into one of the most important debates of our time. Meticulous in her methods and wise in her insight, Lock tames a sea of stormy argument to show how complex and consequential is the interplay of culture and biology. Her book will make great strides toward her ultimate goal: to dislodge the myth of the Menopausal Woman."Jean Comaroff, University of Chicago
While the end of menstruation is a biological universal in women, the set of symptoms often reported to go along with it is not. Lock bases this conclusion on extensive interviews with Japanese women, who reported very few of the symptoms commonly reported in Europe and North America. Menopause is not necessarily a conglomerate of biochemical changes in mid-life but an ambiguous and ongoing state that is experienced differently in individual women. Like Robbie Davis-Floyd's book on childbirth, Birth as an American Rite of Passage ( LJ 8/92), this work looks at how culture, especially Western culture, seeks to control the natural physiological processes of the female body by medicalizing and pathologizing its normal functions. Lock's focus on menopause as a point of departure for discussing nature/culture dichotomies makes for a brilliant addition to the growing literature on the anthropology of the human body. A necessary purchase for anthropology collections and most academic libraries.-- Patricia Sarles, Midwood H.S. Lib., Brooklyn, N.Y.