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Book Review – “Your Best Birth” by Ricki Lake

by on Nov.11, 2010, under Non Fiction

Check out this great review of the book “Your Best Birth” by Ricki Lake – a guest post by Joy Paley.

Being only 6 weeks pregnant with my first child (and an admitted overachiever), I picked up Your Best Birth. I was simultaneously excited about my pregnancy and already overwhelmed by the options. My mom, an ex-hippie who used a midwife with all her children, is strongly in favor of an at-home birth. While I’ve got a little of this au natural bent myself, I’m also a realist and scared of anything going wrong for me or my baby. Since the subtitle of this book is “Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience,” I hoped this book would help me understand my choices as a soon-to-be mom, and it definitely did.

The book is written by Ricki Lake (yep, the former daytime talk show host) and Abby Epstein, the director of the recent film The Business of Being Born. The book is arranged into four sections, titled “Know Your Options,” “Putting Your Dream Team Together,” “Interventions: the Slippery Slope,” and “Take Back Your Birth.” The book’s aim is to show American women how we go about birth here, and that it doesn’t necessarily need to be this way.

What do I mean by “this way”? Well, the book opens by describing a hypothetical birth in your standard American hospital. While I “knew” what birth is like there (I’ve been with my sister during the birth of her children), putting myself in this hypothetical situation really opened my eyes. The hospital setting is so clinical and removed. Duh, you’re saying, of course it is, it’s a hospital. That’s its job! And you’re right, but one of the main questions of the book, “what kind of birth do you want?” made me question how ideal such a situation would be for me.

I was a little on-guard at the beginning of the part about the hospital birth. I was worried that it was a scare tactic to show me how horrendous hospital births are, but it didn’t read like that at all. The narrative voice is very even and didn’t feel preachy. The down to earth, woman-to-woman tone makes the advice accessible and not like orders you have to follow to be a good mom.

I think most women, even those who very seriously doubt that they will have an out-of-hospital birth, can benefit from this approach. Why? At its most basic, the book is a manual for empowering yourself as an expectant mother. The message isn’t that home birth is “right” and hospital is “wrong,” but to determine what you need to have the best labor you possibly can. Their advice for finding the best birth team for you is practical and helpful, and it doesn’t just include doulas and midwives, but also how to also find the type of OB/Gyn and hospital for your specific labor needs.

If you’re expecting, this book has something to offer you, even if you feel sure that you’ll need a C-section or hospital birth. It’s not a 1960s manual on how to have your baby in a field of wildflowers; it’s a well-researched but down-to-earth guide on ensuring that childbirth is how and where you want it to be.

Joy Paley is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on the subject of becoming a medical transcriptionist for the Guide to Health Education.

Interested in Writing a guest post for The Positively Positive? Drop us a line on the Contact page!

More Book Reviews….
The Hunt by Muffy Morrigan
Wedding Journals & Keepsake Gifts by Tammy Kushnir

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Positively Positive Book Review – The Hunt by Muffy Morrigan

by on Jun.06, 2010, under Books, Fiction

As a fan of Muffy Morrigan’s fanfiction , I was very excited when she sent me a copy of her latest novel to check out. When The Hunt arrived, the first thing that intrigued me was the front cover – a haunting picture of a horse and its skeletal shadow. I loved the spooky imagery and as I read the book, I found the image quite fitting.

The Hunt is the story of two brothers with a bond so strong that it goes beyond what we might think of as normal. Part of an ancient race, Galen and Rob are being called to take part in an ancient rite in another world. It is a world that sits on the edge of our own reality, only visible to those who know it’s there and how to look for it.

My favorite bits…..

The way Muffy depicts Galen and Rob, brothers who mean everything to each other and will do anything for each other, including laying their lives on the line.

The amazing imagination in the story and how she was able to come up with creatures, rituals, languages and songs I could never have thought of in a million years. Every detail completely worked out, dating back to another time not connected to ours.

Fantasy mixed so well with reality, the brothers going from the everyday world of driving cars and running a business to riding phantom, skeletal horses and acting as king and champion in an alternate universe.

The way the dialogue switched from modern to ancient, without a hitch. One second the brothers are chanting an old verse and the next cursing each other out in a way that would make a sailor proud.

The spirits of those who have passed continue to help the living, still there when they are needed to provide counsel.

The story ending in an epic battle, pitting ancient creatures, humans and even spirits against each other as the wall between the two worlds is blasted down, allowing all to fight on equal ground.

Overall an entertaining read with a fun mix of fantasy and adventure that brings the reader into another reality.

By your copy of The Hunt HERE

Want to know more about the author? Head on over to my fanfiction blog and read my interview with Muffy Morrigan.

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More from The Positively Positive….
Royal Pains, season 2, episode 1 “Spasticity”
Burn Notice, season 4, episode 1 “Friends and Enemies”
Sex and The City 2

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Positively Positive Review – Book: Wedding Journals & Keepsake Gifts by Tammy Kushnir

by on Sep.13, 2009, under Books, Non Fiction

When I was asked to review Tammy Kushnir’s book “Wedding Journals and Keepsake Gifts”,  I was a bit nervous. After all I’m not married and don’t really do crafts that often. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to understand the instructions or get into the spirit of it.

The moment I opened it, I saw that my apprehension was unwarranted. “Wedding Journals and Keepsake Gifts” is very easy to understand, and I’m sure that even I will be able to make the crafts within its pages.

The instructions are very simple, with each step clearly labeled. The instructions are also joined by very good photos of not only the finished product, but all of the items you will need to complete the project.

Before each chapter the author writes a nice little introduction to the kinds of crafts about to be discussed. You can really feel the joy she felt as a bride and it’s nice to hear not only from the person who made each project, but from a bride to be as well.

Overall I found this book quite enjoyable, even for a somewhat less than crafty person like me.

When I finished reading the book my roommate spotted it. Being not only a very crafty person, but also a wedding photographer, she was very interested in it. I handed it over happily for her to see and this was her response.

“…. Very creative, easy to understand and diverse in project type.”

-Jessica Sterling, photographer  –


Wedding Journals and Keepsake Gifts is available for purchase at:


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