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Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex : A Memoir Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 17, 2004


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 17, 2004
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0060741570
  • ASIN: B0007ZNUVE
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,231,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Once upon a time, Jennifer, a 28-year-old Los Angeles grad student who has never supported herself financially nor had a successful romantic relationship, met John, 31, a nearly broke actor. He's a former alcoholic and drug addict, has long, thinning hair and lives in an apartment that smells of cat urine. Reeling from repeated encounters with unavailable men, Jennifer thinks John's "brilliant, funny, and fun," though he looks "like a troll." John's looks are just the tip of the iceberg. As the title of Lehr's charged memoir suggests, this is a story of sexual dysfunction—and redemption. Though too long, Lehr's narrative moves quickly, as she recalls being a teenager "afraid of having to 'go further' " with boys, trysts with handsome actors and her unfulfilling sex life with John, with whom she falls in love despite her initial lack of attraction. Lehr graduates, John lands a role on a sitcom and their relationship deteriorates. He doesn't want to have sex. She's determined to change that. So the bumpy road to happily ever after begins, including therapy, AA meetings, religious conversion, antidepressants, money fights—and sex, which Lehr describes explicitly. More than 50 photos of the couple throughout the book further personalize a very private tale. Thanks to Lehr's humor and openness, it's one that may help others struggling with similar issues.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Can lackluster sex turn a beloved partner into an ex? That's the question pondered in this engaging--if overlong--memoir from Lehr, an L.A.-based publisher of coffee-table books. When 28-year-old grad student Jennifer meets former alcoholic and drug addict John, she's convinced he's the man of her dreams. Jennifer has a wretched track record when it comes to romance, though, and her attraction to John seems borne of desperation rather than desire (she openly admits that he looks "like a troll"). From tense teenage dates to forbidden forays with handsome actors, Lehr recounts her rocky road from sexual dysfunction to marital bliss (well, not quite). Husband-to-be John, it seems, is soporific in their sessions between the sheets. Lehr is determined not to take his lack of lust lying down (so to speak), trying every trick in the book, from therapy to antidepressants, to light the libidinal fire. While her candor is admirable, Lehr's descriptions of sex may be a bit too explicit for some readers' tastes. More than 50 black-and-white photos--with black eye strips protecting the identity of former amours--keep things lively when the narrative loses steam. The sensationalistic aspects of this memoir may well generate plenty of off-the-book-pages publicity (an appearance with Howard Stern seems inevitable). Hoopla aside, Lehr's journey to happily-ever-after doesn't quite work as a piece of narrative nonfiction, but it may help the similarly bed-bound become better equipped. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

 A compelling read from beginning to end!
S. Friedland
For reasons that only Jennifer Lehr must know, she thinks she has a "universal" story to tell, but don't count on connecting with this drivel.
Jill Jayson
Lehr's writing style is blunt and fun to read.
R. Clifford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jill Jayson on September 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
(...) There is absolutely no way they read the same book that I did! For reasons that only Jennifer Lehr must know, she thinks she has a "universal" story to tell, but don't count on connecting with this drivel. In between sex scenes that rival pulp fiction for bad cliches, all you get is the day-to-day ramblings of a quintessential spoiled, shallow, self-important, self-indulgent narcissist. She reminds me a lot of Elizabeth Wurtzel -- without the writing ability. (Her idea of literary style seems to rest solely in her compulsion to overhyphenate, as in "a post-graduate-school-early-thirties-now-is-the-time-to-get-it-together time of her life" and "I'm-not-going-to-make-trouble-for-these-two-wonderful-kids-that-I-love-so-much-the-day-before-their-wedding-when-over-sixty-guests-from-around-the-country-are-coming-to-town-and-I'm-sure-they-have-a-million-last-minute-details-to-contend-with Grandmother." My god, did this woman have an editor?) It boggles my mind that anyone would think this is a story worth writing, let alone sharing with the world. If there's anyone I feel sorry for, it's her husband. It just makes you wonder, what kind of guy is supportive of his wife telling the world about his sexual inadequacies? This is the sort of book that the phrases "too much information" and "who cares?" were invented for. By the way, the only good thing about the book is its very creative design. But take my word: Enjoy the cover. Skip the book.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Biblio Nut on September 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I think it's interesting that most of these glowing reviews are from Lehr's hometown, L.A. and that they typically don't include more than two lines. Come on, folks, let's be honest. The writing is stilted, the "message" completely self-absorbed. I'm sure Ms. Lehr is a very interesting person. But she needs an editor and several years in Iowa.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Champy on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't sure it was possible in our Jerry Springer world, but Lehr has taken the "fun" out of dysfunctional! Despite its racy subject (sex), this book is grindingly dull and unreadable. Even skimming it is torturous, given that Lehr has no writing talent and no command of the English language and grammar. (Enough with the hyphens, use of "his/hers," and swear words!) I've labored over who-cares memoirs (like Katy Lederer's Poker Face), but Lehr's book redefines the category.

I'm left wondering: Which is more ludicrous--that Lehr thought anyone would be interested in reading about her pathetic, immature relationships or that a publisher paid her to write about it? It would all be laughable if Lehr didn't take herself and her situations so seriously. No such luck.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charismatic Creature on November 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book (already discarded by my local library, at their monthly book sell-off) because of the striking, collage-like cover (designed not by the book designer author, but by Richard Ljoenes) and the tart promise that this would be a shocking, no-holds barred, sexual diary written by a daring and experimental young woman. Sounds marvelous, doesn't it? And it probably would be, only THIS is not THAT book.

"Ill Equipped For a Life of Sex" is a haphazard biography of Jennifer Schlosberg, an immensely wealthy, spoiled privileged "princess" living a life of idle shopping and twee art projects (financed by mummy and daddy), and struggling with her own frigidity and dislike of sex, even as she feels compelled to enter into multiple unhappy sexual "hook ups". At the age of 28, she falls in love with a broke, struggling actor and from that point on, the story becomes the tale of their ENDLESS (and I truly mean ENDLESS) couples and sex therapy and financial counseling, as they attempt to take a relationship that was dead in the water on Date #1 and flail it into miserable life -- apparently to appease parents, rich grandparents and deal with the usual pressures that Princesses feel to marry at an age-appropriate time (lest they be spinsters).

As a Jewish woman myself, I feel bad for labeling anyone with the stereotype "jewish princess" label, but here it is unavoidable, because Mrs. Lehr beats the reader over the head with it incessantly, from her boyfriend's Jewish conversion classes to their "Martha Stewart-esque" wedding...no detail (or prices) possibly left unturned. As the text apparently was not enough suffering for the reader, we are also subjected to at least a couple hundred pictures of Mrs.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nix on September 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Are you kidding me? Who wrote these 5-star reviews? I'm guessing the answer to my question is: "her friends." This book has lines like: "Tom was upset, and I was upset. We had a great time." How anyone could sit down and read this entire book is beyond me. Reading about this self-absorbed woman and her husband were almost more than I could take - ugh! Will her next book be about their messy divorce? Please publishers, spare me the details. I do not want to be punished again. Save your money for real writers.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By F. Splatt on October 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The idea of this book is interesting, unfortunately the writer does not have the talent to use that idea.

Probably you will grow to hate the writer as much as I did. She is extremely spoilt, basically being supported by her parents and husband until she was over thirty. She just expects everyone to keep giving to her, spending huge amounts of other peoples money (that they can ill afford) on luxuries. She is so proud of all the accomplishments that she's made in therapy, but they're all pretty trite and obvious, at least to anyone over the age of about 18.

In addition to my dislike of the writer as a person, and the execution of the idea of the novel, the writing is also appalling. One other reviewer has called attention to the excessive use of hypenated phrases. Believe me, it's ridiculous and starts to grate. The general writing style is peppy and immature.

The font is badly chosen and the paragraphs widely spaced. The book is an awkward shape. About the only thing they got right was the cover design, which admittedly is quite nice.

I would definitely recommend that you stay away from this book, if you're looking for insightful and meaningful discussion.
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