From Publishers Weekly
Contrary to the lurid title (a "round-heeled woman" was once slang for a prostitute), Juska is a semiretired English teacher with refined tastes: Trollope novels , opera and museums. "Before I turn 67-next March," she wrote to the personals column of the New York Review of Books, "I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like." While her adventures meeting these men frame her narrative, she's no geriatric Emmanuelle on a coast-to-coast fling, in spite of proclamations like "I adore penises." It's just that she was raised by repressed Midwesterners and had never managed-given her spiritual and physical bulk-a truly fulfilling love affair. Married to a loveless man, she then spent years in social retreat as a single mom. By the time she emerged from her chrysalis, she realized she'd never had a chance at pleasure, hence the ad and her comic adventures with the assortment of men culled from the daily mail. While it's no surprise that the best man comes last and that he's a hunk with a brilliant mind, this Harold-Maude liaison is hardly the most compelling chapter of this quirky little memoir. Surprisingly, it's Juska's accounts of visiting the Berg collection at the New York Public Library, or the stories of her writing classes at a prison, that remain in mind, long after her personals game has faded. Old women looking for sex may not seem a hot topic, but there's something universal in this woman's love affair with the written word.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Before I turn 67--next March--I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me." When Juska, a retired schoolteacher from Berkeley, placed this ad in the New York Review of Books
, she was relatively happy with her life except that "it didn't have any touching in it." This thoroughly engaging memoir not only describes her attempt to find someone to touch, but also recounts the story of her life up to the point she placed the ad. "I am . . . a cliche," she laments, after describing her history of sexual abuse, repressed memory syndrome, weight and drug problems. The litany is familiar, to be sure, but there is nothing cliched about Juska's determination to reinvent herself. We learn of her sexual adventures and of the resulting emotional entanglements, but what is most amazing about this refreshingly honest, remarkably candid story isn't the senior sex but the courage shown by a round-heeled woman who decided it was time to pursue passion with a vengeance. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved