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Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End Paperback – October 28, 1997

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Katie Roiphe made quite a name for herself a couple of years ago with the publication of The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism,which explores the issues of date rape and sexual harassment on college campuses, both of which the author regards as problems that exist mainly in the minds of strident feminists. In her Last Night in Paradise, Roiphe widens her scope from college to the culture-at-large. AIDS figures prominently in this book as the author chronicles the sexual revolution of the '60s and its aftermath in the '90s. Where once (or so the mythology goes) young women took the pill and fell joyfully into bed with a number of lovers, today they are constrained by fear of sexually communicable diseases and death.

Just as a previous generation remembers where they were the day JFK was shot, so Katie Roiphe's generation recalls the day Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive. A new wave of puritanism is sweeping the country, Roiphe posits, and in Last Night in Paradise she recounts the forms it takes, from "secondary virginity" to high-school health class discussions of masturbation as an alternative to sex. But more than just a report on the sexual state of the union, Last Night in Paradise is also a meditation on sexuality, morality, and a nation's yearning for new rules to replace the social anarchy of the past three decades. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Roiphe, who writes regularly for Harper's and New York, is best known for her controversial book about date rape, The Morning After (LJ 9/15/93). It takes a while to figure out where this book is going, and its destination isn't worth the effort. Roiphe sees the concern with AIDS and safe sex as a plot by social conservatives to re-create the social/sexual environment of the Fifties. She conflates lust and love and, apparently, feels the right to one-night stands should have been enshrined in the Constitution. The tone of the book is defensive, whiny, and mean-spirited. Those with whom she disagrees are criticized not just for their views (abstinence and virginity seem to be major horrors for Roiphe) but also for their hair styling and fashion sense. Not recommended.
-?Sharon Firestone, Arizona State Univ. Law Lib., Tempe
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375700536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375700538
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,043,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 10, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Katie Roiphe searched for the pulse of sexuality in America. She interviewed high school and college students and came to the conclusion that everyone's scared of sex and AIDS and they all resent the fact that they missed the sexual revolution.
But Roiphe only interviewed students from elite schools which mimicked her own upbringing, almost to validate her own fears and sexual hang-ups. Her sister is HIV positive, so naturally, she is consumed with thoughts of AIDS. But instead of taking ownership for these feelings, which should be the case in a first-person book, she projects those feelings on the country. She's not comfortable with people having sex with multiple partners at once, so she gloms on to the fact that this may be how Magic Johnson got AIDS.
If Roiphe regrets her own promescuity, that's a valid feeling and an interesting topic for a book. But assuming the country's morals automatically align with hers is arrogant, and probably inaccurate
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Format: Paperback
It's been about two years since I read this, but I remember the book as being dark, brooding, meandering and questioning rather than preachy. Rophie should be admired for not pretending to have all the answers on this difficult and complicated topic.
I read the book in one sitting, the writing was that good. I know it's hard to find a positive review of this book on the I-Net, but I liked it a lot even if I'm left now with an impression rather than specific info gleaned. I'll definitely read her next book because even if I disagree with her on some points I think she's an important writer worth listening to.
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Format: Hardcover
She does have a point, but the problem is not definable. The nations growing social conservative mood has no true definable center, it is a movment of two seemingly diffrent forces, a need for a force beyond lust (yet is also a part of lust) and a love of preaching what is "right". The virus of the SAFE is covered here with Kate's eyes wide open.
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By A Customer on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
There's something deeply creepy about the use the Roiphster is making of her sister's HIV+ status. Never a writer in control of her effects, Roiphe weeps crocodile tears but you see her between the lines, choreographing the step she'll dance on her vanquished rival's grave. "Ha-hah, you're dead and I'm a famous writer and handbag model, ha-hah, now I've got mommy all to myself." Till that day, she can still spin a buck out of the situation. Other than that, I have no idea what the point of this book is meant to be.
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