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Love Junkie: A Memoir Hardcover – November 11, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her raw account of love gone wrong, L.A. journalist Resnick (Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick) describes her descent into self-debasement. Resnick's lifelong attraction to unsuitable men—unavailable, abusive and emotionally damaged—hit a perilous stage by the time she reached her early 40s and her last boyfriend, Spencer, who had seemed the perfect victim to make [her] dreams come true, broke into her house and wrecked her computer. Alternating with her litany of awful relationships—from the scarily egotistical ex-con painter Eddie to the various men who refused to have a baby with her—Resnick delineates her appalling, loveless childhood and the neglect by her hard-drinking mother, who lost custody of her and her younger brother when Resnick was 12. Subsequently, the teenager bounced around foster homes because she was not welcome in the new household of her father, remarried to an Orthodox Jew with four new children of his own. Resnick's memoir is a desperate, self-excoriating attempt to break the victim cycle first taught to her expertly by her mother, the original love junkie; engender a tenderness for her rather indifferent father; and mend the estrangement from her brother. Most important in terms of survival in this painfully honest memoir, Resnick found the wherewithal through a support group to heal and reground herself. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

In this excruciatingly honest memoir, novelist and journalist Resnick relays how a childhood bereft of love brought about her addiction to relationships with really, really bad men. She alternates accounts of her miserable parents (a mentally unstable mother married to a man incapable of showing loyalty or love) with play-by-play of her self-destructive unions with the opposite sex, each more toxic than the one before. (The worst by far is a tattooed ex-con named Eddie, who’s prone to vulgar verbal attacks and fits of terrifying physical rage.) In efforts to boost her subterranean self-esteem, Resnick repeatedly confuses sex with love, engaging in lewd, often risky acts and forever taking up with romantic partners who are dangerous, demeaning, and cruel. Resnick’s relentlessly candid laments become tiresome after awhile, leaving the reader wondering whether she’ll ever find happiness—or, at the very least, a healthy relationship. The author of Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick (1999), Resnick renders prose as direct and uninhibited as her subject matter, a combination that may be a bit too racy for some. --Allison Block

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (November 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596914947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596914940
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,791,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'll preface my review with two things:

I'm a writer.

I'm not a self-identified sex addict but am far better at seducing men than trusting them.

I procrastinated reading this book. I had it a few weeks, and I'd look at it, think about reading it, and then I'd not read it, procrastinate some more. I knew I'd feel the subject matter personally, that's why, and I needed to prepare myself for the emotional fallout.

Also, I wanted to feel ready to learn how to write better memoir.

So, for me, the reading experience would be two-fold. A big deal.

Once I started Rachel Resnick's Love Junkie, I couldn't put it down. How does a writer manage to write a story that feels simultaneously demoralizing and redemptive? That's a gift. I say that as a person who reads often, and reads varying types of books. I say that as a woman who's faced her own challenges with intimacy. I say that as a human being fumbling a path across the landscape of life. And I say this as a writer who felt artistically charged by reading this book. Thank you, Rachel Resnick, for all the above.

To you, scanning this review right now, I say: read Rachel Resnick's book if you are at all interested in memoir; read this book if you're at all interested in addiction; read this book if you're a feminist; read this book if you're anti-feminist. Read this book if you're a woman. Read this book if you've mistaken sex for love or used sex to create a false cushion of power or self worth. Read this book if you wish to write naked and honest, if you want to understand your own demons, if you wish to experience another layer of our human condition.

People, we're all fumbling here. Trust me.

That's how good this book is. Thank you.
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Format: Hardcover
Warning: There are some spoilers in this review. Rachel Resnick's powerful memoir starts with a bang. Any writer or avid computer user will cringe along with her as she discovers that her house has been burglarized and her hard drive drowned (don't worry, her data is later recovered). To find out the act's been committed by her ex only compounds our sympathy with her. But the plot thickens, and as Resnick takes us through her tumultuous childhood, filled with a mother so intent on her next boyfriend she barely has time for her two children and a father who leaves when she's 4 and later sides with his new wife over Resnick.

Sex lurks throughout her early years, from an exploration with a cousin to a boy who punches her for telling him she likes him to her reading of dirty books and magazines. As an adult, Resnick looks for the bad boys, but not the stereotypical James Dean-esque ones sporting leather jackets and tattoos. No, she looks for truly bad boys, ones who'll hook her and then torment her.

It's unclear where their bad behavior ends and Resnick's willful misreading of their cues begins. After one lover tells her "You're wasting your emotions on me. I don't believe in love," she writes, "This is the kind of love I recognize. The one where the conflicted lover pretends he doesn't feel the way he does feel, must feel." Resnick is clearly a smart, strong woman, and reading on as she makes the same mistakes over and over again is at times trying; like her friends who try to warn her away, as a reader one can see the hurt coming a mile away, the men pushed to being hurtful (not that most need much pushing) to get her to finally leave, or at least, retreat.
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Format: Hardcover
Yes, this book is one erotic ride. We have an old fashioned made of wood hold your hands way up and scream goin' down roller coaster in my town. Reading Rachel Resnick's life story on love is like riding that thing.

Love Junkie is a well written naked tour of one woman's passion for finding love. Scary and honest fun. And did I say hot? I feel like a voyeur here just using the word "fun". But she let's you look. And it's a juicy and drippy through the glass turn-on that she does let you look. Not often pretty, however.

First, I'm embarrassed to say, as a man, that I liked this book. A lot. Men aren't supposed to read books about love much less about wanting it badly. Being bad while wanting love is more a guy thing. And more Resnick's approach here, actually. And more why this memoir is so hard to put down. She is by vocation a writer and a writing workshop instructor. Many will want to go home with teacher after reading this book. Too bad she's acquired some discretions.

Before I learned a few things about myself around love, I'd have been the next guy in line to sign up for her personal studies--if she had gone to coffee with me. Besides being beautiful and having a heart to die for, Resnick is so intensely committed to finding love you just want to go there with her on her path. Philosopher, lover, daughter, sister, writer, wannabe mom--she's all and becoming more. You want her. You want her to find what she's longing for. And that's why this book works.

As a writer and reader--and not that long ago an online mad bent on love mid life dating person--I don't buy the sex addiction thing. I side with sexologist Dr. Marty Klein and his now famous 1998 web article "Why there's no such thing as sex addiction--and why it really matters.
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