Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews -Menopause and the Black Woman by April S. Lily

Title: Menopause and the Black Woman: A Guide to Wellness for African Americans

Author: April S. Lily

Publisher: April Lily

Published: June 15, 2022

Pages: 103

As women learn about the lack of knowledge on the subject, the discussion of menopause and perimenopause is becoming more common. (Even Oprah Winfrey is in on it.) The author highlights the significance of normalizing this topic in Menopause and the Black Woman: A Guide to Wellness for African Americans.

We learn that despite all women going through it, over a third of American women between the ages of 40 and 65 who participated in the State of Menopause research said they had never looked into menopause before going through it. Additionally, almost half were unaware of the distinction between perimenopause and the actual menopause.

The author explains how, in many traditional West African communities, elderhood was to be cherished and respected and held tremendous rank and influence, in contrast to modern American culture, where growing older is something individuals attempt to avoid. We should prepare for and accept these changes as a normal part of life rather than feeling ashamed of our bodies as we age.

“I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world that understands that menopause is normal, natural, and something that women shouldn’t be afraid of anymore.”

-April Lily

In the same way that we had to get ready for our first periods, we should learn about menopause and perimenopause, the symptoms associated with them, and how to prepare for the journey.

The author also shares her journey of experiencing hot flashes and night sweats that stopped her from getting a peaceful night’s rest and other signs and symptoms to be aware of, such as hair thinning, vaginal dryness, weight gain, dry skin, aches and pains, and more. These issues are accompanied by solutions to make the transition from perimenopause to menopause smoother such as exercise, diet, and natural supplements.

Women who have already been on this journey and have already done individualized research may find the book basic as it does not get too deep. It is a conversation starter, though, and I applaud the author for helping us de-stigmatize menopause and perimenopause.

While the title suggests this is exclusive to Black women, I think it is a good beginner guide for all women on this journey across ethnicity as it reads like a message to women in general.



  • Strong Introduction: 4/5
  • Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
  • Organization: 5/5
  • Thought Provoking: 4/5
  • Solid Conclusion: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

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The Unknown Woman


Wisdom is an unknown woman

her identity absent for too long now

a distorted image of degrees and formulas

neatly wrapped into the deceptive image

of professors and graduates of universities

with egos that stand taller than the academic buildings

from which they’ve misplaced their minds

creativity hung


in the silent hallways of repeated ignorance

wisdom is an unknown woman

hastening to make herself known to those who seek her

a radiant beauty of lawful lips she descends

into the beautiful body of instruction

only the most sincere men are courageous enough to approach her

and only the strong can be heard by her

for she whispers soft delicacies

into ears that wish her breath to brush upon their cheeks

but she is abandoned by men who do not delight in her structures

who believe her throne is a worthless scepter

that she wears like a burden

too foolish to know that there is nothing

that she cannot carry

But fools do not speak the language of wisdom

cannot hear the prayers coming from her tongues

the songs pouring forth from her words

wisdom is an unknown woman

to the man

to the woman

to the person

who values the knowledge of custom papers

with expensive ink,

this they chose over her

they cannot see that gold is but a little sand in her sight

and that silver is like clay before her

because her radiance never ceases

and in her hands is unaccounted


Her Skin


She has heard for too long now
that her pores bleed the color of slave ships
that chains have been seen in her smile
that her skin shines like a beacon of shame
sprinkled amidst Mississippi cotton fields
her beauty sticks out
like a diamond in the ruff they notice her
and still
she is only pretty for a dark skin girl
Who does she think she is?
being darker than a brown paper bag?

The truth is that she is the color of the Goddesses
a dark chocolate kiss
neatly wrapped in silk
want to touch her face
just to see if it’s real
just to see if it’ll melt underneath my fingertips
I’ll keep my hands to myself
don’t want to be the stone
responsible for the wrinkles in her skin
this delicate rose petal of a woman
reborn in the spring
don’t want my touch
to taint her gorgeous
where not even the bite of Winter
dares to diminish
her light

The Invisible Woman


November, 2001

The dust particles flying from the duster floated slowly off the boxes, strangely reminiscent of the worst terrorist attack to occur in the United States. Each set seemed to align themselves parallel to the others, and tilting dangerously off the Brooklyn Brownstone as if to mock her. The coming of dawn splashed its hint of shadow off the dull cardboard, distorting its true image. They were taller it seemed, and almost menacing. The woman looked on sadly, fastening its flaps, tucking them one inside the other. It was safer this way, but still she took a step, and rested her bottom against the course concrete as if finding a foundation strong enough to hold all of her baggage. That’s when she saw it, its pages flapping quickly in the wind almost blowing the book off the steps; she caught it, along with a strange feeling with how her arm had extended itself in rescue. It had only been two months and she was intrigued to find that Ellison had read her mind. No, she did not believe he was an invisible man; she instead was prepared to insist he was a mind reader. The only other explanation available to explain his knowledge of her departed state was if he was talented enough to take her heart and contextualize it in ways that even she could not. Of course now she understood that Ralph Ellison was neither mind reader nor genius. Like a mirror that penetrates the souls of the invisible, she could easily see herself in a similar situation. The neighborhood had gone on as it always had; the people continued in their routine way and it made her angry, how could they? “To the mall!” she says. “To the workplace!” he shouts. They move about, “To the city!” they shout. But there is no city, and there is no mall. There is no workplace, there is only darkness. What’s everybody so happy about? Nothing was the same and she was utterly alone. Why was that so hard for them to understand? She has tried to make them aware that their journeys were in vain, but she has been pushed over. She has been blocked. She has been ignored. They have walked right through her, and for a split second they’ve become one with her, but only to come out on the other end and still they cannot see. None ever noticing that she has just pushed against them, and burned the top of their flesh with her light. Cymbalta wasn’t helping much either. But that’s because she is invisible. It is she they cannot see.

Candy wrappers and Anthrax warned Newspaper clippings loiters the sidewalk in front of her, and the screaming engines of cars sped by in a desperate attempt to escape the moment for the one at the corner, shattering the woman’s thoughts and calling her attention away from the book. And as the brisk November wind rattled angrily against her blouse, she disregarded the unopened mail laying idly on top the brown boxes. Inside, the small sirens going off seemed to rattle the cordless resting comfortably on the sofa like tiny explosions.

She was sick with exhaustion with the interviews and radio shows, and journalist thirsty phone calls that promised never to bring her husband back, just a hot story. It’s not like they were really talking to someone anyway. She had never been around a group of people who enjoyed talking to themselves so much.
“I don’t think so”, she annoyingly spoke into the receiver before hanging up at the sound of a trucks engine; the movers were here. “Great”, she said exasperated, managing to make it out the door. She was going to be late…again.

She Rebels


Soft kisses and warm hugs is what she gets from men.
Hot dates and perfume smells, but from truth she rebels.
An emotional roller coaster ride he takes her…
every so often they visit this amusement park.
And she wants to cringe when he grabs hold of her but instead of listening to herself
she listens to her heart.
Unwanted lips kissing her face and she takes it all in stride
afraid to admit her mistakes because of her pride.
Soft kisses turn into sloppy kisses
and warm hugs turn into feelings so hard and cold you’d think they were milk mugs.
Hot dates she no longer wants to take
but her financial status is at stake.
No more Christian Dior, Stephanie Taylor or Dolce Gabbana because she’s known on the streets as being his hottest baby mama
so she rebels.
Refusing to follow directions like a sterile sperm cell alone she cannot fertilize
this she soon realize
so she turns back to what she often refers to as hell.
She can’t understand what has happened to the warm hugs and innocent smells, yet she rebels.
He has painted her face with his fist,
multicolor on its sides
Sharpening his nails to cut her thighs’ and insides
but she laughs it off in stride
afraid to admit her mistakes because of her pride.
Excuses upon excuses she is determined to sell, so she rebels.
Convinced this is the last time she
runs to the nearest store praying her favorite make-up is on sale.
But she looks good though!
Driving his Lamborghini
shades on windows down, saying to herself “I know you see me!”
Blasting Jay-Z she agrees, “I can’t leave this alone the game needs me!”
So she endures the nightly screams of “Please don’t beat me!”
Attempting to open her eyes, Truth tries but she refuses to see.
Months and months have passed, and she’s lying in a place filled with screams and death mail.
Truth’s flowers she now wants to smell but her obituary has come too early,
so to the dirt,
she Rebels.