Conrad, Christine 1946–
Conrad, Christine 1946–
PERSONAL: Born 1946.
ADDRESSES: Office—Natural Woman Institute, 8539 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, public speaker, administrator, and women's health activist. New York City film, television, and theater office, commissioner, 1970–74; Bantam Books and Warner Books, New York, NY, editor, 1974–82; screenwriter, 1982–. Natural Woman Institute (nonprofit women's health information organization), founder, 1997.
(With Kevin Wade) Junior (screenplay), Universal Pictures, 1994.
(With Marcus Laux) Natural Woman, Natural Menopause, HarperCollins Publishers (New York, NY), 1997.
A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones, forewords by Leo Galland, Jesse Lynn Hanley, and Carolyn V. Shaak, Perigee Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man (biography), Booth-Clibborn (London, England), 2000.
Mademoiselle Benoir (novel), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Author Christine Conrad is a novelist, biographer, and women's health advocate. She is the founder of the Natural Women's Institute, a nonprofit organization that helps women find doctors in the United States and Canada who specialize in natural treatments for menopausal changes. Her Natural Woman, Natural Menopause, which was written with naturopathic doctor Marcus Laux, presents detailed information on what natural hormones are and how women who want to use them can find them. In addition to practical current advice, the authors offer a historical overview of the use of medicinal plants in alleviating menopausal symptoms, and a background of how the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has approached menopause treatment.
A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones "provides the reader with the information needed to make an educated decision about hormone therapy," noted reviewer Janice Cuzzell in Dermatology Nursing. Conrad includes material for women experiencing typical symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, decreased sex drive, and hot flashes. She explains how to choose over-the-counter natural hormone treatments and describes methods for focusing individual treatments on particular conditions or symptoms of menopause. Anthony L. Rosner, writing in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, called Conrad's work a "clearly written, highly accessible, and engaging book," and concluded that "the material presented in Conrad's book is essential for women who plan to take a more activist role in restoring and maintaining their own health."
As a biographer, Conrad is the author of Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man. Robbins was a brilliant choreographer and director with a reputation for being difficult to work with. Still, he was considered a genius by many of his peers and associates. Robbins was also well known—and vilified—for providing names of suspected Communists and associates in Hollywood to the notorious House Un-American Affairs Committee (HUAC) in 1953, which consequently harmed the careers of numerous performers. Still, his impact on the American theater was significant, and he worked on such high-profile, even iconic, productions as The King and I, West Side Story, and Gypsy.
Conrad was a friend of Robbins's for more than thirty years, and early in their relationship they even lived together for a time. The author's assessment of Robbins is therefore tempered by affection while enhanced by close familiarity. "Her view of her subject is not only kind, but sweet-natured," commented Doris Hearn in Dance. Through her own experiences with Robbins and considerable access to his papers by the Jerome Robbins Estate, Conrad "has come up with an enormously readable book, profusely illustrated with numerous photographs, many of which have never been seen previously," noted Jennie Schulman in Back Stage. Barbara Kudanis, writing in Library Journal, called Conrad's biography "a heartfelt tribute to a man she clearly loved who contributed much to his art."
In what a Publishers Weekly critic called "Conrad's pleasant first novel," Mademoiselle Benoir features an idealistic and romantic mathematics professor in his thirties. Tim Reinhart has moved to France, where he has bought a farm in the sparsely populated Midi region. While there, he works to renovate the house into proper living quarters including a studio for his fledgling interest in art. Told in the format of letters addressed to family and friends, the story unfolds as Reinhart tries to deal with unfamiliar laws and customs, accommodates his emotionally unpredictable girlfriend, Marcelline, and works on living what he calls "an authentic life." He makes the acquaintance of a prominent local family, the Benoirs, who welcome him hospitably. He becomes particularly great friends with Catherine Benoit, who is twenty years his senior, but as the novel progresses their friendship becomes deeper and eventually turns to love. When the two decide to marry, they face obstacles such as virulently disapproving family members, a stifling local bureaucracy, and the social pressure of longstanding French traditions. Booklist reviewer Laurie Sundborg called the novel "a thoroughly satisfying and thoughtful story of love triumphant." Library Journal contributor Christine DeZelar-Tiedman observed that "the characters are likable and engaging, and it's hard not to root for them."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Alternative Medicine Review, April, 1999, Kathleen Head, review of Natural Woman, Natural Menopause, p. 111.
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, May-June, 2001, Anthony L. Rosner, review of A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones, p. 150.
American Theatre, October, 2001, Mark Dundas Wood, "A Tyrant and His Whipping Boys," review of Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man, p. 117.
Back Stage, May 4, 2001, Jennie Schulman, review of Jerome Robbins, p. 11.
Booklist, November 15, 2005, Laurie Sundborg, review of Mademoiselle Benoir, p. 18.
Dance, November, 2001, Doris Hearn, "Dancing around the Real Robbins," review of Jerome Robbins, p. 66.
Dermatology Nursing, August, 2000, Janice Cuzzell, review of A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones, p. 272.
Health Naturally, December-January, 1998–1999, review of Natural Woman, Natural Menopause, p. 20.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of Mademoiselle Benoir, p. 1044.
Library Journal, May 1, 1997, Kate Kelly, review of Natural Woman, Natural Menopause, p. 133; May 1, 2001, Barbara Kudanis, review of Jerome Robbins, p. 86; November 15, 2005, Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, review of Mademoiselle Benoir, p. 60.
Publishers Weekly, October 3, 2005, review of Mademoiselle Benoir, p. 47.
Total Health, May-June, 2000, review of A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones, p. 14.
Variety, June 25, 2001, Wendy Smith, "Robbins' Twin Tomes," review of Jerome Robbins, p. 28.
Natural Woman Institute Web site, http://www.naturalwoman.org (January 15, 2006).