So Hormonal is a collection of essays about hormones and the varied roles they play in people’s lives. With essays covering periods, menopause, transition, steroid use, and fertility amongst other things, there’s a wide range of topics covered, with personal anecdotes and reflection alongside highlighting key information about health conditions and experiences. Each of the 36 essays ends with a suggestion for following it up, either with reading or websites for charities and support groups, giving people action to take if motivated by the content of the writing.
This is a gripping collection that provides insight into a huge range of issues and realities, forcing you to reflect on bodies, medical care, and how we understand ourselves. It’s hard to pick certain ones to highlight, but there was some particularly enlightening looks at comorbidity of conditions affected by or affecting hormones and on the complexities of things that some people might think are simple. The essays around the complexity for trans men and non-binary people when accessing healthcare for gynaecological problems were also interesting, and it was good to see essays on hormones not just written by or focusing on cis women. Some of the essays also challenge particular ideas, for example around ‘teenage hormones’ or steroid use, which are good chances for readers to reflect on their own assumptions.
There are a lot of essays in So Hormonal, a lot more than I was expecting, and this brought welcome variety and the chance for a wide selection of voices—I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any shorter. It’s the sort of book you want to recommend and lend to other people seeing as it is both insightful and will contain essays that different people will find relatable in different ways. The inclusion of further information at the end of each essay makes it a starting point rather than the final answer, and it’s good to have collections like this coming out.
(So Hormonal can be bought from the Monstrous Regiment website)