26 April 2018

Review of The Wonder Down Under - A User's Guide to the Vagina by Nina Brochmann & Ellen Stokken Dahl

* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

The Wonder Down Under - A user's guide to the vagina by medical students Nina Brochmann and Ellen Stokken Dahl sets out to educate and inform women about sexual health and dispel any misconceptions readers may have. With a clever cover design, The Wonder Down Under achieves this in a relaxed and informative manner although I did have a few concerns with it.

Primarily, I have a major issue with the title. Very early on in the book (page 8 to be precise) the authors point out that the majority of people refer to female genitalia as the vagina, when in fact, it should be referred to as the vulva; as the vagina is only one part of the genitalia. However, the authors then perpetuate the misnomer in the very title of this book. Sorry ladies, but you can't have it both ways!

The medical students are based in Oslo in Norway, and this book is a response to the success of their blog and is translated from Norwegian. The translation was very good, but it's worth noting that many of the stats they refer to are for Norway or the region. 

The authors provide many reassuring notions and take a lot of care to point out every woman is different but normal and sexual health shouldn't be embarrassing but they undo all of their goodwill with the section title of: Discharge, Periods and Other Gore. Gore? What the hell? This might have been a translation error or just an extremely poor choice of words, but it definitely bothered me. This offensive section title grouped six chapters together, and therefore featured at the top of the page for 28 pages. Not good.

The book includes chapters on a multitude of topics - including a comprehensive section on contraception - however there is nothing on menopause. I'm not sure why this was left out when there was time for a few pages on genital mutilation and intimate surgery, but I'm hopeful this information will be added in a future re-printing of the book.

An informative read for young women (and men).

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

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