«Eleven is seldom the right age, Robin thought. Because you’re either too old for something or too young for other things. For example, when you’re eleven, you cannot have a child. But you can be fertile and have your period». That’s the starting line of the novel Period Girl; it was written by poetess, activist and author Giorgia Vezzoli with the intention of wiping out prejudice and an uncalled-for sense of shame associated with the menstrual cycle, which, in this novel, turns from an unspeakable taboo into a source of superpowers.

When Robin gets her very first period, strange things happen. Voices, noises, the withered plant on the shelf all start growing… She will find out that she develops a real superpower every time she gets her period: when touching the ground, Robin can make trees, plants and other natural elements grow. And thanks to the “power of the flow” she can save the planet from deforestation by fighting climate change and working with the foremost international organisations.

The perfect book for any girl who must still get her first period, or who must somehow “appease” herself with the menstrual cycle. The prejudice linked to the menstrual cycle begins with the name ascribed to it. Every family has a name for it: rules, monthly visitor, things, cycle… In some cases, the bizarre conviction that certain activities should be avoided when you’re on your period, such as sports and even taking a shower, still survives… “We grew up feeling ashamed for the blood stains, it was associated to something violent. We completely forgot what it really means… that it’s simply a part of us, which keeps us alive and gives life”, Giorgia Vezzoli said, interviewed by the magazine Elle. “To write the novel Period Girl, I took cue from a purely artistic inspiration: the narrative challenge of revolutionising the generally-held opinion of menstruations, then reacting to indignation, sparked by the fact that the menstrual cycle was either disparaged or simply invisible, from a social standpoint. I think that girls should live this moment of their lives calmly, easily. Being aware and also proud, to some extent, of what it is”.

Far from all superhero stereotypes, Robin is a reserved and sensitive girl. She gets lost in her world with a “light melancholy” and her superpowers show up slowly and very gradually: actually, they will be fully ‘operational’ only when she fully accepts her period. “Be proud of your period” the young heroine says, overturning, with these simple words, the generally-held picture: once an unspeakable taboo, the menstrual cycle now takes the centre stage, becoming a magical power that can save the world.

Period Girl is the book that skilfully links reality and fiction, favouring a collective transformation that is, narratively speaking, very effective, amusing and scientifically correct. A transformation we can all contribute to, in order to free women from the taboo of the menstrual cycle, allowing them to finally master their super period powers.