The title of this book is enough to intrigue anyone with an interest in voice, be it laryngologists, speech and language therapists or professional voice users. The text does not disappoint; Jean Abitbol takes us through a fascinating tour of the female voice. There are in-depth explanations of in utero development, the effect of puberty on the larynx, the impact of the menstrual cycle or the menopause and through to old age.
He affords a narrative leading to a recognition of the power of the vocal instrument and its influence on others, including the difference between the female and male voice. His research assessing the impact of hormones on the voice identifies one third of women in his study group to have premenstrual voice syndrome (PMVS) and he recommends that the timing of phonosurgery on this group of patients needs to be carefully considered.
His vast experience in treating professional voice users offers a wealth of stories and encounters, all of which bring the book to life. This is further augmented by the attention to detail and inclusion of brief historical accounts or recourse to the basic sciences.
The chapter ‘Madam: Keep your voice fit’ describes environmental influences on the voice, management strategies, alternative therapies, lifestyle and dietary modifications. The author, editor and publishers recommend that the application of any of these be by the recommendation of one’s own healthcare practitioner.
Some areas of the text may be a little too detailed for the more experienced clinician reader, however this does not deter from the experience. There are the occasional text repetitions; an area which should be addressed in forthcoming editions.
The current price is reasonable for the target audience and the book would be a useful addition to medical libraries. I would certainly recommend this book to students, clinicians, and voice professionals.