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Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain
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Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  740 Ratings  ·  172 Reviews
For any woman who has experienced illness, chronic pain, or endometriosis comes an inspiring memoir advocating for recognition of women's health issues

In the fall of 2010, Abby Norman's strong dancer's body dropped forty pounds and gray hairs began to sprout from her temples. She was repeatedly hospitalized in excruciating pain, but the doctors insisted it was a urinary tr
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Nation Books
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Erin
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Abby Norman for your courageous voice in advocating women's health.

Ironically as I write this review, Nelly Furtado's version of Maneater is playing. A song that I feel my fellow Canuck turned into a powerful anthem for women.
In this non fiction/memoir Abby Norman launches the microscope and
takes look at women's health and the author's own personal struggle with endometriosis, Abby Norman explores just ho
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Heather
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really looking forward to reading this, and now that I'm done with it, I can tell you my excitement was not displaced.

I very much enjoyed certain aspects of it, but also experienced feelings of indifference to it.

At certain times, my attention strayed. I would read several paragraphs before realizing I was not absorbing any of what I had just read. It was quite tedious and repetitive at times, but I believe, in a way, that is a small testament to how the author must have felt (and probabl
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Canadian Reader
Rating: 2.5

At the beginning of her second year of college at Sarah Lawrence, Abby Norman experienced excruciating knife-sharp abdominal pain, which eventually took her to the hospital, caused her to withdraw from university, and led to surgery to remove a “chocolate cyst”, a type of ovarian cyst that forms when endometrial tissue (the membrane that lines the uterus) grows inside the ovary. Norman’s battle with endometriosis—with debilitating abdominal and pelvic pain, and eventually, with inexpl
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Janday
"Even now, it's been so many years since I've lived in a pain-free body that I don't really remember what it feels like."


I'd accuse Abby Norman of plagiarizing me if I didn't wholeheartedly, bone-achingly, gut-wrenchingly, atom-pulsingly believe her. Even though this is a book about endometriosis, everyone should read this book. Norman recounts her own experience with endometriosis and the (seemingly innumerable) complexities related to endometriosis (spoiler: it is not a "menstrual" disease, it
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Paula Dennan
Ask Me About My Uterus is a a searingly honest account of Abby Norman’s struggle to get a diagnosis of endometriosis. Considering it takes on average 7.5 years for women to receive that diagnosis, Norman is far from alone which is where the subtitle of the book comes in; A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain. Woven between the narrative of her own pain is a history of how women and the pain they suffer is treated, mistreated and continuously dismissed by the male dominated fields of me ...more
Rhiannon Johnson
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
**In this post I review ASK ME ABOUT MY UTERUS and PERIODS GONE PUBLIC. Publishers have provided complementary copies to me in exchange for honest reviews** .
.
Let's talk about...uteruses/uteri! Yes, those are both acceptable plural forms of 'uterus'. Half the human population has one but *wow* are they controversial! However, regardless of where you stand on hot button issues like birth control and abortion, you probably agree that periods, albeit annoying, aren't very revolutionary. But you are
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Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Abby Norman tells her often harrowing story with grace in Ask Me About My Uterus. She’s had to make her way through life in pain, and mostly alone. I’m in awe of her courage and fortitude!

Norman spent her childhood with an absent father, and a functionally absent mother who was too sick with her own disease to care for her children. In case that wasn’t hard enough, her abusive grandmother stepped in to care for Abby. Somehow, she survives this and has the unimaginable presence of mind to request
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Nikki
My main issue with this book is that it is poorly written and/or edited. The chapters, and writing in general, are meandering and oftentimes baffling as to why certain writing choices were made. Too often, probably most of the time, the author seemed to want to introduce a story/topic but it was done in such a way that the proceeding content just felt like non sequiturs. In many ways it felt like listening to someone speak that took a million tangents and only sometimes completed their thoughts. ...more
Vanessa
There's this quote in the book about how conditions that seem to lurk unnoticed in a woman's body go unnoticed by others because, for one thing, they are an assumed part of womanhood, and, for another, women are taught to keep those pains private. This was one of the parts - among many others - that really hit me because it took me almost a decade to realise that there might be something wrong with my body because ever since I was a child I heard that it's normal for periods to be painful to the ...more
April
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cross between a blunt but heart-felt memoir and a medical mystery; Abby delves into life with chronic pain and a medical system which refuses to believe it. I appreciated that she early (and more than once) noted that despite the title; women are not defined by their ownership of a uterus. More than that; as a woman who has had her own medical woes, I recognized and can certainly empathize with the many familiar ways in which Abby has navigated a health care system which has always been Men Fi ...more
Lisa
I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm going to be honest and say that I was expecting more from this. I thought it would be more about Norman's health struggles and fights with her doctors. Instead, the constant focus on Norman's horrific childhood were a distraction from that. While her background was important to the story, it felt like there was more focus on it than necessary, turning it into a general memoir by Norman, rather than a medical-focu
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Jillian Coleen
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook

I came across Abby Norman’s Ask Me About My Uterus on Bitch Magazine’s list of most anticipated non fiction for 2018 and was immediately interested. A few of the women that I love dearly in my life have been affected by endometriosis, and I’m aware that it’s a challenging disease to both diagnose and treat. Reading this, however, opened my eyes to just HOW difficult it can be to obtain quality healthcare for women, who are constantly questioned and disbelieved. It lit my rage on fire.

Norman walk
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Ashley
I liked this overall, but had a hard time reading it, and it wasn't what I was expecting.

Abby Norman dropped out of college due to debilitating pain she started experiencing one day, and which doctors minimized for years before she finally was semi-diagnosed with Endometriosis (among other things). The title and synopsis of this book makes it seem like more of a book about the relationship between women and doctors, but really this is a memoir that mostly focuses on Abby's medical history, and s
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Hanna
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I was absolutely enthralled by Abby Norman's journey. Part memoir, part history of women's pain, this book was everything I was looking for & more. Norman is a skilled researcher, in large part, because her life has greatly depended on it, but also because she's truly an academic at heart. Norman artfully wove her story into the fabric of shared experience regarding women's turbulent history navigating our health in a medical world that is set up to dismiss us. This read is both extreme ...more
Ashley
May 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this—after all, I’m super fascinated by the politics of the female body. And while I feel for the author, this book isn’t great. The writing and structure are clunky, and the whole thing is about 100 pages too long. Norman’s writing is best when she’s summarizing medical or historical knowledge, but those moments are often dwarfed by the meandering chunks of memoir. Despite the gorgeous cover and a few interesting tidbits, I’d skip this one in favor of more academic fare.
Corinna Fabre
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Ask Me About My Uterus is an informative and well-researched read on an under-treated ailment and, maybe more importantly, on the general systemic dismissal of women's pain. The author, Abby Norman, draws from her own medical experiences to illustrate the problems that are all too often faced by all women who look for help addressing chronic issues alongside her personal history to create a nuanced tale of what it takes to take your health and hope into your own hands.

To me, the book's shining
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MarissaQ
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I found Abby's story very relatable, we are both Sarah Lawrence women with chronic pain who have mothers with chronic pain who grew up below the poverty line. I love that she's bringing this issue to light because it's an important one. What I felt the story lacked was that it's structured as part personal narrative, part science/theory of endometriosis, part history of the treatment of women in medicine. I suppose I wanted more personal narrative, or more science and history. It kind of sits in ...more
Josephine
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars.

I have read a few memoirs in my time and have enjoyed them a minimal amount. I find that most of the content is rather mundane, unimportant stories that are dressed up to seem as though they are more significant than they really are. That is not to say that memoirs need to be filled with one of a kind experiences, but as a reader you want to be interested and engaged - you want to feel like what is written has meaning to the author.

For me, this was the exception. Abby Norman has publish
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Alex Linschoten
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
A personal story of endometriosis pain mixed in with the meta-tale of how female pain has always been undervalued by a (male-dominated) medical profession. Both parts are interesting, but her writing really shines when she describes the raw sensations in her body as well as her ongoing process of dealing with the fallout. Recommended.
Anna
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: medical
I have one question after reading this book: WHERE WAS THE EDITOR? Somebody really needed to go through this book and cut cut cut cut a lot of it. It's a shame, because I actually really enjoy the author's writing style and I am here for more books about women's experiences with endometriosis. The whole thing ends up being a jumbled health crisis memoir/ troubled family upbringing memoir/ history of women's health-lite, and it just doesn't work. About the author's upbringing- I get that some bac ...more
Amy
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Abby Norman does an amazing job of describing life as a woman with endometriosis. She mixes in humor, with very specific details about living with this disease. It’s amazing she found the time and strength to write this terrific book. Reading her book let me know that my own struggles with endometriosis and adenomyosis are real, not in my head, and to keep searching for the right doctor who will listen and validate my pain.

In addition to being a great read, “Ask Me About My Uterus” is a wonderf
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Dina
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
While it does tackle a very difficult and relevant topic, the author's ramblings and tangents just had me heavily skimming the second half of the book.

There is a lot of jargon, a lot of medical terms, and a lot of self-pity. Though, the author is justified sometimes in the incompetence of the medical professionals that she encountered, the way she makes it sound is that there isn't a single doctor out there who will take a woman seriously when she comes to them with pain. And to be fair, she we
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Sarah Hannah
Infuriatingly unresolved ending, but I guess that was unavoidable and also kind of the point. Really good, vindicating, tragic, anger-inducing, smart.
Kristy Miller
I can’t begin to describe how difficult this book was to read. I knew it would be emotional read but I underestimated how emotional, how painful it would be to get through this. I thought it would be comforting to read about others struggling with the same things I have struggled with for 22 years, but it was just unrelenting.

The book itself is good. Abby lays out her struggle with endometriosis and other physical, mental, and emotional struggles of her life. Along with this she tells the infuri
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Ashley Holstrom
Uterus-owners have endured pain that gets brushed off as “hysteria” for centuries. Abby Norman’s is brushed off as “all in her head.” She suffers endometriosis undiagnosed for years, her leg goes numb, she loses 30 pounds. When she gets to a doctor, she’s sent home with antibiotics. And so Norman begins the quest to find the answers for herself, reading medical journals and tracking her symptoms. But she runs into the same problem over and over: Doctors don’t believe her and make decisions for h ...more
Molly T
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Nation Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I have been looking forward to this book for months and am thrilled by its place in the revolution we are currently witnessing: women, especially young women, taking a stand against a patriarchal and hierarchical healthcare system that has failed us for centuries. Thankfully, my excitement was not misplaced.

Ask Me About My Uterus is part memoir and part social commentary, with Norman’s perso
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Janet
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zz-2017ng, kindle

I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher -
For any woman who has experienced illness, chronic pain, or endometriosis comes an inspiring memoir advocating for recognition of women's health issues

In the fall of 2010, Abby Norman's strong dancer's body dropped forty pounds and gray hairs began to sprout from her temples. She was repeatedly hospitalized in excruciating pain, but the doctors insisted it was a urinary tr
...more
Meagan
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Part memoir, part manifesto. Norman's story is compelling, and her perspective provides an important challenge to the ways the medical field has discredited women throughout history. While she writes based on her own condition, I wish she had spent more time examining how medicine has neglected women with other conditions and historically cast aside women whose conditions were deemed unsolvable - and therefore hysterical.
Amy Kreydin
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ms Norman weaves her personal experiences living with the diagnosis of endometriosis, and the history of women being ignored by medicine. It's a painfully brutal look at the ways women's health is misunderstood, insufficiently researched, poorly managed, and frequently misdiagnosed as being all in our heads. I'm reminded of the sobering statistics around adverse childhood events, or ACEs, and that it is typical of a woman with a chronic health issue to spend a minimum of three years seeking a di ...more
Stephanie
I'm going to start this review with a personal anecdote from my own experience with the world of medicine: back in 2014, I went to see a doctor because I'd been dealing with abnormal uterine bleeding. I'd basically had what looked & felt like an extremely heavy period for four months. Four months of heavy, heavy non-stop bleeding. Four months of painful cramps. Four months of fatigue (unsurprisingly, I was later diagnosed as anemic). The doctor, a man, took a brief look at my chart, asked ab ...more
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Abby Norman is a science writer based in New England. Her work has been featured in Harper's, The Independent, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Futurism, Paste, Seventeen, Atlas Obscura, Medium, and others.

She has been interviewed and profiled by NPR/WNYC, The New York Times, Playboy, Forbes, Glamour, and Bitch Magazine. Her work has been praised by The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal
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“So often we think that the truth is a static entity that exists only in a singular place--a place that we have to find. But I have come to realize that the answers I have been looking for, the truth of my own body, was ever-changing.” 2 likes
“Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. And that’s a place to start. That’s where the hope is.” 1 likes
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