Friday, September 19, 2014

Many Paws: Book Review

Published January 2014.
 "There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity."  Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, 1820

I love a good book.  This week I had had the opportunity of interacting with Susan DeGarmo's 2014 book Many Paws: The Years of Change.   I am grateful that I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

And I was intrigued, amused and inspired by this creative, light-hearted look at menopause.

Intrigued. I'm saying "interacting" with Many Paws rather than "reading" since DeGarmo's book is an example of an "altered book."

This a form of book that explodes in the reader's hands with an array of colors, textures and interactive features.

Luggage tags for the journey of life.
When I first opened the book I couldn't decide whether to read it quickly or slowly.

Many Paws has many surprises, and I didn't want to miss out. Yet I was also eager to discover each detail.

For example, one of the the sections features a set of 6 luggage tags, each containing lines of a poem about the physical changes of menopause. (Pictured)

The third tag reads, "Can't lose weight / Running Late / What is it I'm Forgetting??"

Amused.  This section with the luggage tags is just one of many parts of the book that makes me both wince and smirk.

Click this thumbnail to see the book trailer. 
Yes, all these elements of menopause--hot flashes, cognition changes, wrinkles, weight gain, etc.--can challenge a woman's sanity.

But we have the option of laughing.

And as mature women, we've already gone through the roller coaster of puberty. Many of us have also ridden the highs and lows of pregnancy and lactation.

So here we go again -- changing with a wrinkly twist!

This book helps me recognize that laughter is indeed one of the many tools available in the bag of tricks I've assembled over the years.

Inspired.  Because this altered book foregrounds creativity, I find that "the medium is the message."  Here DeGarmo has taken a potentially difficult life stage and literally made something out of it.

I am inspired by her creativity.

You can customize this page with your own pics!
As a midlife woman, she used her talent and experience as an artist to offer up something to me and to other women.

The subtext? We can get through this together!

Her book is a bit of the "fire" that Irving refers to in the epigraph to this post.

If you want to connect with the author and other readers, follow the Facebook page for Many Paws: The Years of Change.

To order your own book or to buy one for a hot flashing friend, go to Amazon.

To learn more about author / illustrator Susan DeGarmo and her book, visit the book's webpage:  

Congrats to Jennifer B, the winner of the book giveaway that closed October 2, 2014.  
Thank you to all of those who entered / commented.


Perimenopause--What's Going On?
Strong, Smart Women Wrestling with Caregiving


  1. I am so happy for Susan to longer be the best kept secret in Tennessee!!!

    1. Glad to do my part to help spread the word. Have a lovely day.

  2. Oh my holy. Isn't it a weird transition?? I too have discovered that our independent society does not work for most of what ails (or simply confronts) women. Color me intrigued. I need this chick.

  3. I'm very interested in this book. I'm thankful to you for sharing all that you do. I had no idea until your blog, how much is out there on aging!

    1. G'ma Honey and all who comment: If you are interested in entering to win, remember to go to the form so I have name/emails to use when conducting the "drawing." Thanks!

  4. Laughter is indeed the only way to approach the crazy changes due to Menopause.

  5. I am a health coach that consuls a lot of women going through this stage of life and many of them are depressed. I think this would be a great recommendation for them. Thank you for sharing it and I would also like to enter the giveaway.