Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

Guides to negotiating the storms of menopause have become more available in recent years, but women can use much help in this under=reported area of life. Here is one offering made with great heart and earnestness.

Johns comes from an evangelical Christian background that is not mine, and many of her comments are directed specifically to this audience. Some of the stories of shaming and repression of women that she shared were shocking to me and I find it unbelievable that this behavior is called "Christian." However, it was also shocking to learn that not that long ago, women past the age of menopause were considered completely disposable, that menopause meant the "death of the woman within the woman." The fear of women and female power is still very great, even within our supposedly enlightened society, and we cannot try too hard to overcome this bias.

Johns quoted the work of Christiane Northrup frequently and her approach is very similar, though flavored by her place in the evangelical Christian world. Each section contains description of one area Johns has identified as an opportunity for self-development in midlife, narrative examples from women's lives, and questions for individual and group reflection. There is much to learn and to explore, much of which could fruitfully be gone into earlier in a woman's life than menopause -- but better late than never. Certainly there is great evidence that women who take up the challenge of this change can truly transform their lives for the better.

Johns used a great deal of flowery metaphorical language that I found unnecessary and sometimes distracting. I had a strong sense though of her passion for the topic and for her mission to help women embrace their authentic selves. I appreciate her work and hope it will reach the audience it is meant for.
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I really enjoyed this fresh take of menopause – turning this period of life from a time to be dreaded, to a season of opportunities.  While I didn’t agree with everything in the book, I found Cheryl Bridges Johns a refreshing and inspiring writer.  The book was an encouragement not to speak of menopause with a whining, grizzling tone, but with hope and positivity.
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I have very little in common with the author of this book, an evangelical Christian college professor, but I found this book surprisingly encouraging, interesting, thought-provoking and inspirational. Another reviewer said that the author is too "new age" for her, but her only unconventional ideas center around her feminist ideals that question the traditional misogyny of many church traditions and revolutionary things like suggesting that God is as female as male. Anyway, that's an incredibly small portion of the book.

The book is slow to start but I'm so glad I kept reading. I particularly enjoyed the last chapter (courage) and the idea of no longer being princesses waiting for princes to rescue us from dragons, but to be the dragons we were meant to be. I also appreciated the way she showed that anger is a gift of menopause and why.

I have been reading Why We Can't Sleep as I read this book and by about halfway through this one, I wanted to write the author of that one and tell her to read this. Where that one whines about midlife angst, this one points out the many reasons we are who we are now and directs us into a vibrant future. Where this one focuses on money and worries, this one focuses on finding your authentic self again and using the gifts of midlife (vision, anger, courage, etc.) to become an even better, more fulfilled version of yourself.

Parts of this book are quite Christian. Even if you are not Christian, I would recommend this book. Johns' does an excellent job of using stories of women she's known from around the world to illustrate how early life shapes us into the women the world wants and how midlife can shape us into the women we truly want to be.

(Side note for the reviewer who complained it wasn't about the physical aspects of menopause -- no it's not but the "spiritual journey" in the title should be a good enough clue not to hold that against it).

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, and I recommend it to women of any age.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
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1 star
I know this book is supposed to be an introspective, self help Christian book. However, it is beyond strange. Please avoid this book. It is awful
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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I thought that this book would be about the physical changes that happen with menopause, but that was not really dealt with.  Instead, the author talks about what she calls the seven gifts of menopause: uncovering, anger, the authentic self, expanded time, spiritual freedom and courage.  I am in the intended age range for this book, but I just did not relate to most of this content.  I dealt with some of these things at a much earlier age in my life and menopause just has not been an issue for me.  
I am also a fairly conservative Christian and this author brought a lot of spiritual, new ageish feminism into her interpretation of Christianity, which I could not agree with.  It was somewhat interesting to read her beliefs, but I could not apply any of this.  
The author is a good writer, but this book was not for me. I give it three stars because it is well-written.  I received a complementary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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