I have been writing as Colette (alas from Cleveburg, not
Paris) for over a decade now. In that
time, I have talked, mused, ranted about love –in all its glory – or in many
cases its no-so-glorious ways.
To that end, I was recently asked to review a book: “The Bachelo
” written by Vicki Marie Stolsen. The book is being published by
FOREVERFORTY-FOUR. You can find a link to the book here: http://thebachelorchapters.tumblr.com/
While I am a self-proclaimed ‘free thinker’ when it comes to
love/relationship – I was nonetheless a bit confused by Ms. Stolsen’s approach
to this book and to romance in general.
The book opens with an out-and-out insult to white
males. Despite being a bit put off by
this, I decided to read further. I was
taken on a roller-coaster ride of ‘wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am’ from that point
forward with very little in the way of introspection, or apology for seemingly
out-of-control misogyny on the part of this woman. The book claims to be:
“Staking out the terrain between Sex and the City and Eat, Pray, Love. While I would grant that on certain levels, I
can see ‘Sex and the
City’ – this
book in no way, shape or form resembles Eat,
Love (that I could see at least, and I think Elizabeth Gilbert would
keel over if she knew this was the publicity/marketing scheme for this novel).
I will say that Ms. Stolsen is a good writer. She has a
knack for description, especially sexual scenes, which were not in any way
demeaning to women, and are to be applauded for their unabashed eroticism.
Eventually, I could simply not keep up with all of Vicki
Marie’s ‘conquests’. While I agree that
women should absolutely be as free in love as their male counterparts
(unapologetically!), slamming people for having affairs, and then enticing some
poor schmuck into cunninglingus (so he in essence, ends up cheating on his own
wife and is then terrified that Ms. Stolsen is somehow going to blackmail him)
– while shrugging it off with “I forgave myself soon enough” – was more than
distasteful – it was dastardly. I began
to despise the character at that point.
I do applaud Ms. Stolsen’s inner journey and moments of
introspection – but they were mere moments and never seemed to teach her
anything. It is not that I am suggesting
that she ‘settle down’ or not have her cake and eat it too, but acting as
though women have never done this in the past is a bit naive on the part of the
writer (Colette anyone? Anais Nin? Just two examples that come to mind). While
again, there does seem to be interplay and some learning about certain
partners, it falls short of the true exhilaration of finding and really learning
about a new lover. After all, if you are
so busy, moving from tryst to tryst, how can you in all honesty have a lover? Ms. Stolsen has taken a story that could have
been incredibly liberating, only to have it seem like a sexual free-for-all,
with no mention of personal responsibility, let alone, practicing safe sex, and
that screams poor judgment to this reader. My feelings on this matter were further
corroborated by Ms. Stolsen’s very own closest friend (who in one scene accuses
Vicki Marie of having NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), and in the very
same week her own brother disowns her.
While I am not one to encourage friends diagnosing friends vis-à-vis the
DSM-V – again Ms. Stolsen seems to take it all in stride and never stops to
think, perhaps her friends and family have more insight into her actions than
she herself is capable of having.
The other aspect of the book and character I struggled with is, how a person, who was a
self-proclaimed lesbian for over 20 years, turns her back so easily on that
part of her nature. I do not pretend to know the ways of lesbian inner circles,
but I found this at the very least, a bit odd.
Was it because she felt that a lesbian assisted with the downfall of her
‘marriage’ to her last heterosexual husband? Again, so much seems left out of sight, out of mind - the subtitle of the book claims to be “a thinking woman’s romance” -sadly, much of the thinking (and what I consider
romance), was left on the editing room floor.
If you want to read a book with some very well-written juicy
bits, learn about salsa dancing, and have a whirlwind ‘fuck tour’ of major
cities, then by all means, pick up this book.
Otherwise, I suggest you find yourself some episodes of ‘Sex and the City
’ and DEFINITELY buy a
copy of ‘Eat, Pray, Love
’ - save
your money for a decent martini, shaken, not stirred.