Friday, January 13, 2012


You know that thing girls do, when they see someone in pain and cringe because they “felt it too?” There's a scientific explanation for that. And when they remember every single little fight? There's a scientific explanation for that. And when they stalk their ex-boyfriends and set their cars on fire? Definitely not a scientific explanation for that. They are crazy. Stay away from that girl.

In The Female Brain, Dr. Louann Brizendine essentially explores what makes girls the way they are; the way different chemicals interact to give certain results, how particular areas of the brain affect the way the female population acts. The book is structured in a way that allows the reader to follow the development of the female brain as girls grow from birth to after menopause. The author claims that this book was written to help girls understand why they feel the way they do (and also to help bewildered men who have no idea what’s happening to their ladies), and then adjust their attitudes and behaviors, because they’d understand that the thoughts they’re having and the things they’re feeling are normal.

I personally have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was interesting to learn how the feelings I’m experiencing can only explained by what’s in my brain (I always need an excuse for everything, so it’s perfect...“It’s science! They’ve done studies!” she screamed.) However, I found the author to be very biased, and the patient stories she used were usually really extreme cases.

The book tended to cycle through four main ways of explaining reasons behind why girls act the way they do; scientific experiments with lots of complicated sounding terms and processes, stories of the author's experiences as well as those of her patients, and studies/experiments. I tend to not even be able to focus on terms that sound too scientific while doing any sort of reading, so I’m not going to lie and say that my eyes didn’t glaze over when I read giant paragraphs with just scientific words like vasopressin and androstenedione and allopregnanolone. However, I think that the scientific explanations were essential, otherwise the author would have lost a lot of credibility. So I’ll forgive her. Also, the patient stories often were conveniently sandwiched between the scienc-y stuff, so it was like reading a novel (thus, bearable).

Another thing that made the book unappealing to me was that I didn't pick up on her tone. She seemed to have detached herself from her work all together. Although I can understand why this would be, to raise her credibility, it would have been more interesting if she had had some sort of humor, or a sassy attitude towards the issues and brain processes (I guess, like Mr. Johnson the Psychology teacher in book form. That would have been amazing).

I would recommend it if you’re genuinely interested in learning about the chemical reactions and brain interactions, but just know that the author takes a very detached approach to the subject. If you do want to know the science behind why girls behave so strangely sometimes to read it, because believe me, I know best that girls are absolutely ridiculous.

My rating:

1 comment:

  1. If you're looking for a book with a sassy tone, _The Purity Myth_ might fit the bill. It's from a stridently feminist perspective and is all about gender roles and sexuality -- it isn't for the faint of heart and it isn't without fault, but it is interesting and entertaining.