The story is relayed with a matter-of-fact style suggesting Pine’s need to keep a distance from her father. It also makes the casual childhood cruelties, mentioned in equally casual fashion, all the more arresting ... By depriving herself of self-pity, Pine gives the reader space to experience real empathy ... Such is the strength of the opening essay that, were it followed by 150 blank pages, this book would still be worth buying. As it turns out, the second inclusion, From the Baby Years, is equally strong — I cried twice reading it ... Pine is fascinating and relatable throughout. As soon as you think you know her, she reveals another side. In the best testament of a good book, I have already recommended this to several people.
...extraordinary ... Pine’s short, gleamingly instructive book, both memoir and psychological exploration, transcends the trope of the misery-as-therapy narrative so radically that it becomes something else entirely ... It is disarmingly bold in its candour, discussing, head-on, taboo subjects such as alcoholism, addiction, infertility and menstruation ... Pine is unapologetic about her confessions while at the same time never underestimating the painful exactitude involved in bringing them forth ... In every piece Pine is simultaneously detached and vitally present ... This exposure of herself and of a misogyny that is identifiable and endemic, is, to put it mildly, brave, even reckless.
...unsparing ... there is no self-pity or justification in its calm excavation of the lasting damage caused to a family by addiction ... The second essay, From the Baby Years, charts the gruelling process of trying and failing to conceive and the pain of miscarriage. The mood is different and it is perhaps more introspective yet equally raw and harrowing ... I’ve never read anything quite like these essays. Pine’s fluent intelligence flows through each question, each dilemma, in its own inimitable way. It’s the kind of book you want to give to everyone.
[A] probing essay collection ... Her writing is clear and urgent, the kind that makes you sit up and take notice ... Notes to Self is the product of this act of metamorphosis: within its pages, messy raw experience is transformed into meaningful, honed prose ... the collection actually often reads more like memoir ... I don’t quite buy the publisher’s claim that the collection 'breaks new ground,' but Notes to Self is still well worth reading.
...winningly frank ... The book opens with a wry, shocking account ... what is most striking about the collection as a whole is its universality. These are not new stories, but they still urgently need to be told. Pine does so with an honesty and vigour that are always uplifting, despite her painful material.
Pine’s collection of six essays is a writer’s personal reckoning with the unsayable. Present-tense narration brings readers intimately close to past events ... Addressing periods, body hair, and menopause, 'Notes on Bleeding and Other Crimes' would make good required reading for everyone ... Resolutely confirming the still-radical notion that women’s thoughts, memories, and bodies contain stories untold, this is a formidable read-alike for essay-memoirs like Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply (2017) and Laura June’s Now My Heart Is Full (2018).
...she considers the female body, discussing menstruation in a powerfully unfettered way ... Bold and timely, Pine’s book tells truths about being female and human that are as necessary to speak as they are to hear. A sharp, refreshingly frank collection from a fresh voice.