Ouch! Why Pain Hurts and Why It Doesn't Have To
Co-written with Dr. Margee Kerr, Bloomsbury 2021
Pain seems like a fairly straightforward experience – you get hurt and it, well, hurts. But how would you describe it? By the number of broken bones or stitches? By the cause – the crowning baby, the sharp knife, the straying lover? What does a 7 on a pain scale of 1 to 10 really mean?
Pain is complicated. But most of the time, the way we treat pain is superficial – we seek out states of perfect painlessness by avoiding it at all costs, or suppressing it, usually with drugs. This has left us hurting all the more.
Through in-depth interviews, investigation into the history of pain and original research, Ouch! paints a new picture of pain as a complex and multi-layered phenomenon. Authors Margee Kerr and Linda McRobbie Rodriguez tell the stories of sufferers and survivors, courageous kids and their brave parents, athletes and artists, people who find healing and pleasure in pain, and scientists pushing the boundaries of pain research, to challenge the notion that all pain is bad and harmful. They reveal why who defines pain matters and how history, science, and culture shape how we experience pain. Ouch! dismantles prevailing assumptions about pain and that not all pain is bad, not all pain should be avoided, and, in the right context, pain can even feel good.
To build a healthier relationship with pain, we must understand how it works, how it is expressed and how we communicate and think about it. Once we understand how pain is made, we can remake it.
Read an excerpt from Ouch!, published on The Guardian
Princesses Behaving Badly
Quirk Books 2013
Sure, most people over Disney age don't believe that being a princess is really all it's cracked up to be. At the same time, however, we kind of do -- witness the world's fascination with Kate Middleton, the pretty commoner who married Britain's Prince William to become Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Princesses Behaving Badly is an effort to inject a little bit of reality into the princess fantasy, to make sure that the fairy tale doesn't become the expectation. The best way to do that is to talk about real life princesses. Historical princess have been capable of great things as well as horrible things; they've made stupid decisions and bad mistakes, loved the wrong people or too many people or not enough people. They are women who lied, murdered, used sex as a weapon, or dressed like a man to hold on to power. They weren't afraid to get a little dirt, or blood, on their hands. These women were human, but the word princess, along with its myriad connotations, often glosses over that humanity. Their stories may begin once upon a time, but they don't always end happily ever after.
The stories of these 30 historical princesses from across the world are illustrated by award-winning artist Douglas Smith, perhaps best known for his fantastic illustrations for Gregory Maguire's Wicked books.
Who's talking about Princesses Behaving Badly
One of the Best Books Coming Out This Week? I'd like to think so -- but luckily, so does NPR's Book News blog!
We made the Indie Next List for December 2013! Here's the very kind write-up: "Everyone knows that princesses are lovely beings who live fairy-tale lives. Unless, of course, they are real people. Then it’s a bit messier. McRobbie has written a fascinating account of real princesses who didn’t live happily ever after. ... This book is a though-provoking addition to feminist literature.” —Janice Hunsch, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN
Armed with scandalous gossip from Princesses Behaving Badly, the New York Post compiled a list of several princesses who would have certainly made Page Six in their day, while the New York Daily News, inspired by the book, compiled a list of modern princesses and their historical counterparts. I wrote up a list of 11 Princesses Behaving Badly for the Huffington Post, and MentalFloss.com kindly shared my piece on Sex Parties, Scandals and Booze: 5 Naughty Princesses.
"an interesting, witty collection"
– Man of La Book
"a rollicking ride through history"
– Bookworm 1858
"a truly fun book"
– Little Lovely Books
Looking for a copy?