Required reading for anyone concerned about reproductive justice.

THE TURNAWAY STUDY

TEN YEARS, A THOUSAND WOMEN, AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF HAVING—OF BEING DENIED—AN ABORTION

A compelling examination of “the state of abortion access in our country and the people whose lives are affected by it.”

Foster, a professor and researcher in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, synthesizes the findings of The Turnaway Study, a 10-year longitudinal project, involving 40 researchers, comparing the emotional, physical, and economic effects to women of having an abortion or being denied one due to a clinic’s deadline for when an abortion could be performed—a cutoff date that varied depending on the location of the clinic. The study excluded women seeking abortions because of fetal anomaly or severe health risk, which affect the timing of the decision. With much hearsay, unfounded assumptions, and strident rhetoric fueling public policy, the UCSF researchers aimed to provide scientific evidence about abortion “in the context of real women’s lives.” Beginning in 2007, the study included more than 1,000 women from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, recruited from 30 facilities in 21 states. From in-depth interviews conducted every six months, Foster has selected 10 women whose stories are related in their own words: white, Latina, and African American; rural and urban; some with strong family support, some facing their decision alone; women enmeshed in abusive relationships; some already mothers and some who went on to have children later; all with hopes for the future. Their candid stories are riveting, sometimes surprising, and always illuminating—as are the study’s findings. There is “no evidence that abortion hurts women,” the study concludes. “For every outcome we analyzed, women who received an abortion were either the same or, more frequently, better off than women who were denied an abortion.” To those who assume women make the decision to abort rashly, the researchers found thoughtful deliberation.

Required reading for anyone concerned about reproductive justice.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982141-56-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

MY BODY

The international model embarks on a nuanced investigation of her body and identity.

Ratajkowski’s exploration of fame, self-identity, and what it means to be a “beautiful” woman is surprisingly engaging. Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2013 due to her scantily clad appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the author eventually became known for her stances about beauty and sexuality and how they are commodified. Now that she is a wife and mother, she writes, “I feel a tenderness toward my younger self. My defensiveness and defiance are palpable to me now. What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at the time, but it missed a much more complicated picture. In many ways, I have been undeniably rewarded by capitalizing on my sexuality….But in other, less overt ways, I’ve felt objectified and limited by my position in the world as a so-called sex symbol.” This short book includes the juicy tidbits that avid celebrity-memoir readers seek, and the author shares how she really felt about the video shoot and how the aftermath affected her. Beyond that, the book is a reflective coming-of-age-in-the-industry tale, a story that is never maudlin but contains a few thick, murky sections. Ratajkowski attempts to break down the construction of her identity and sexuality in relation to the ever present male gaze as well as her relationships with the women in her life. The charm of this book lies in the author’s largely relatable writing, which shows the complex emotions and confusion of a young woman experiencing her sexual development and maturation into a capable adult. Admitting that the “purpose of the book is not to arrive at answers, but honestly to explore ideas I can’t help but return to,” Ratajkowski grapples directly with a host of thorny issues.

A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-81786-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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