Friday 24 February 2012

Book review : The 52 Seductions - Betty Herbert

Thirty-something Betty has been married for ten years and is stuck in a bit of a rut with her husband Herbert. To spice up their love life and get their coupley mojo back, they undertake the challenge of a whole year of weekly sexual discoveries and fantasies, dubbed The 52 Seductions. It may sound like chick-lit but this is based on real life and is classed in the category of non-fiction/memoir.

While a great deal of fiction deals with sexual awakening and the coming of age, the theme of this book is more sexual reawakening and the coming of middle age. Betty could, initially at least, be seen as a bit of a prude with her fair share of inhibitions, so opening herself up to - well, pretty much anything her or her husband can think of (or buy in Anne Summers!), even if it's sexual fantasies that sometimes seem to belong to other people rather than themselves - is a real voyage of discovery and self-discovery.

The problem for me was that at first, I wasn't sure what the target audience was supposed to be. Would-be voyeurs looking for a cheap thrill will be disppointed because there's not much that's particularly explicit. I was expecting a lot of humour and there are certainly a lot of funny moments in there, particularly when things don't quite go to plan. But there is also a whole darker theme, with details of Betty's biopsies, bleeding after sex and worrying about cancer, which I felt didn't really fit in with the general tone of the book.This left me finding it hard to really engage with the book because I was never sure where we were going emotionally.

Having investigated online a bit though, I can understand more where Betty is coming from. She's got a blog, which you can follow at, and, if there's one thing I know from all the mummy-bloggers I follow, it's that us bloggers are all extremely adept at switching from "woohoo" moments to tales of projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhoea ! This warts-and-all approach to revealing your lifestory is exactly what Betty uses - in fact, I would have loved to have followed the book as a blog, being able to leave comments and light-hearted banter as the weeks passed. I think The 52 Seductions would be the perfect book to present in blog form actually, like a modernised (and sexed-up !) version of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (19 Jan 2012)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0755362535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755362530

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1 comment:

  1. The comedy side of this book sounds great but when you want to escape from everyday life and have a bit of easy going chicklit, you don't want to read about biopsies and cancer!


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