Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a mighty opponent for both women and men. The Princess and the PMS/The Prince and the PMS are two manuals presented in one bound book and packaged as a “PMS Emergency Kit” (complete with bonbons and a gift certificate for Häagen-Dazs). The Princess and the PMS covers the history of PMS, its various symptoms, food and supplement suggestions to counter such symptoms and relationship advice for peacefully co-existing with others while afflicted.[b] [i][/b] The Prince and the PMS[/i] dabbles in helping men understand PMS, but mostly it entertains readers by labeling PMS sufferers as “Needy Nelly’s” or “Schizophrenic Sue’s” and listing ways to avoid women “when PMS drops the ‘B’ (rhymes with pitch) bomb,” as one author puts it.
The main author of The Prince and the PMS is Brian Young, a real estate entrepreneur whose life coach suggested he write this book in order to work out his own issues with women. Herb Tanzer, Young’s life coach, and his wife Elizabeth Goodman, also a life coach, are the primary authors of The Princess and the PMS/The Prince and the PMS. In their writing, Goodman and Tanzer enlisted a team of medical professionals: nutrition expert Neal Barnard, Hyla Cass for supplements, menopause expert John Sunyecz, and James Tsai and Andrew Wen for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Also sharing the author credits are Lori-Shaw Cohen, former managing editor of TEEN Magazine, and Tracey Stevens, editor and book designer.
Despite such collaboration, this book misses its mark. Targeted for women 18-45, it uses a juvenile curly font and corny cartoons which may put off some readers. For some women, PMS is severe enough to be disabling and for others, it can be enough of a disruption in daily life to not be taken lightly. Furthermore, the book characterizes the sexes as banal stereotypes with men either playing golf or clutching the TV remote while women devour chocolate and shop. It is difficult to take the content seriously since the presentation and tone are so ill-suited to the topic. The best advice is the authors’ suggestion to track symptoms by using the provided blank monthly menstrual charts in order to seek out more accurate treatment.
Ultimately, The Princess and the PMS/The Prince and the PMS have several major flaws. It never addresses the very thing that most women use to alleviate PMS symptoms, birth control pills, and relies instead on the healing affects of supplements and vibrators. And while the Princess section of the book is outraged when men demean those suffering PMS; the Prince side is blatantly offensive. A woman with PMS may be coping with a lot but it is highly likely she will eventually flip the book over and read the inappropriate jokes that this so-called prince has made at her expense.