|2.5 stars out of 5|
Ever since her sexual debut, Julie has faked orgasms. One day she decides she's had enough and locks herself in the bedroom with food, baby oil, and Mr. Rabbit — a vibrator with a thirty-day orgasm guarantee. Lying in bed she reviews her sexual history: boyfriends, casual lovers, and, not least, the man she married. Meanwhile, her husband and their three children stomp around outside her bedroom, along with the sexually well-functioning Ukrainian au pair, all of them wondering why Julie isn't coming.
I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher, Anansi Press. Opinions expressed are strictly my own.
2.5 stars. Not my cup of tea. I rarely read “humour” because, for me, it just doesn’t translate to the page. I don’t get it. And this book is no exception. I really didn’t see the humour in it.
Not that weren’t some timely topics addressed—women feeling they have to live up to the standards of pornography or feeling that they are unworthy unless they are half of a couple. However, Julie, the narrator, was not a sympathetic character for me. How could I like someone who “lost” a dog, just because she got tired of caring for it? Her behaviour is so self-centred that I tired of her quickly.
Western civilization has become so sexualized—it would be difficult to have a sexual dysfunction. Plus, it is a touchy thing to talk about, although I felt Julie chose odd people to confide in. Why would she not just go to a doctor? I’m sure that Norway has plenty of professional, discreet physicians and psychologists who could help with such an issue. She seems to have plenty of boundary issues—putting up with an abusive relationship as a younger woman, not standing up to her mother about when she will get married, unable to exert any authority in her relationship with the au pair.
It’s a very limited commentary on these issues, because Julie is so limited as a human being. I certainly hope that any men reading this novel won’t view her as an average woman. I believe that most of us run our own lives successfully and don’t drift from sexual encounter to sexual encounter in some vain attempt to define ourselves. Yes, women like this exist (I can think of at least one I know personally), but they aren’t common. Sex is an important component in women’s lives, but it is far from being the be all and end all.
Needless to say, your mileage may vary. There’s a lid for every pot, as the old saying goes, and others may find this more entertaining than I did.