“It’s been a hair-raising millenium and, for those of you in touch with your past lives, a bad scene ever since the fall of Minos and other great matriarchies. Women have been trying to take back the power ever since—but without much success. And that is for one reason and one reason only: In our heart of hearts, we believe we’re worthless, good-for-nothing she-devils. Right after Minos, we got the idea that if we just lost ten pounds and stopped loving the wrong men too much (Genghis Khan, Woody Allen), we’d be back on top. But that, dear womansisters, is the whole horrible disgusting problem in a nutshell. We think we’re supposed to be better. More. Different.”
So begins Barbara Graham’s Women Who Run with the Poodles: Myths and Tips for Honoring Your Mood Swings—a hilarious, satirical swipe at the excesses of the self-help movement. After taking one self-improvement workshop too many, Barbara realized that the unspoken premise underlying that workshop and so many others is the belief that we’re not OK the way we are—a notion to which women are especially vulnerable. And so she decided to write Poodles as a corrective. Barbara, who has been practicing meditation for 25 years, doesn’t mean to imply that efforts at personal growth aren’t valuable, but simply to suggest that true growth for women (and men) may also come from embracing ourselves with our very human quirks and imperfections.
Among the chapters in Poodles are:
- Heeling into Wholeness
- Killing the Inner Nazi
- Empowerment through Accessories
- Reclaiming Your Sacred Inner Bitch
- What Women Really Want (and Why Men Don’t Really Want to Know)
Victoria Roberts, whose cartoons will be immediately recognizable to New Yorker readers, brilliantly illustrates Poodles.