- File Size: 2566 KB
- Print Length: 173 pages
- Publisher: Dorothy Freed (April 19, 2018)
- Publication Date: April 19, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07CKL9NFJ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #920,949 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$11.99|
Save $8.00 (67%)
Perfect Strangers: A Memoir of the Swinging 70's Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Kindle Feature Spotlight
Try Kindle Countdown Deals
Explore limited-time discounted eBooks. Learn more.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Beginning her story in 1974, the author states the crisis immediately: “When I discovered my husband, Paul, naked and on top of my best friend, Cassandra, it wasn’t the infidelity that hurt me the most—it was the sizzling sex they were engaged in that cut to my core and changed my life forever.” Until that moment, she had not necessarily thought that her marriage was happy, but had believed that the unhappy sacrifices and compromises she’d made had been worth it: stability, two great kids, something resembling caring.
Dorothy is shattered, as anyone would be. She kicks him out. She is distraught, and depends on her neighbor Carla for emotional support. But she also realizes she has been unhappy in this marriage for a very long time, that only her conventional upbringing had kept her doggedly pursuing her defined role of devoted wife. She had given up her own power of agency, a passion for art (pottery), all for the hope of the Doris Day ending that never came. (And neither, very often, had Dorothy).
After her supportive neighbor tells her a friend in San Francisco is opening a coffee shop/gallery and is looking for a live-in manager, she packs up the kids into the station wagon, and starts her new adventure. Arriving in a city still undergoing radical expansion in freedoms and experimentation of all kinds, Freed makes a plan: A plan to plow through as many men as possible, sampling every type, experiencing freedom for the first time.
It sounds like fun, and it is. We get many chapters devoted to these interludes, some awesome, some weird, some dangerous, though nothing too terrible happens (which was a bit of a surprise). It all has a wonderfully nostalgic, ‘70’s feel to the encounters; looking back, these singles-bar approaches and open-minded sex parties feel so…optimistic; charming, in their way.
But all things change over time, even perfect plans. I won’t give away the ending. Freed has many relationships going on, to say the least, and resolving them does not necessarily come easy.
This was a fun, well-written novel that tells a vital story—that of a woman raised in a conventional time and environment but finding her faithfulness abused and unrewarded, who takes her shattered life into her own hands and enters a radical quest for sexual and personal fulfillment. She comes out of the experience transformed, in so many ways, and for the better.
The book captures a specific time and place, a unique one, and portrays the frustrations of an entire generation of women, while depicting a course chosen by few. That alone makes the book important, and well worth reading. (As do the many great sex scenes—this is an erotic memoir.)
This is a book about the sexual 70s in San Francisco before everything that is now. If you read the book for the erotic bits you will find them well done and immersive, but may miss the point. If you like me knew the Bay Area back then, in that Jurassic time with free love, oppressive inequality, Viet Nam, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Women’s Rights, swinging suburbs, hot tubs, and “tune in, turn on, drop out” morphing into cocaine, money, Reagan, and AIDS you will find much more in the tale than hooking up before Tinder.
This is a coming of life book and translates well to anyone who did that circa 20th Century America, and for that matter, anyone who comes at life aware and not embarrassed by who they are and how they lived the times they found themselves in. Take a trip back to those lost days and see where the streetcar takes you, it won’t be a bummer and you have your own souvenirs.
Soon divorced with two young sons to support, Freed made her way to the west coast in the mid-1970s. “If you come to San Francisco,” Scott McKenzie so famously sang, “be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…” Had she known what awaited her there, Freed might well have arrived with bells on. Already the legendary mecca of seekers, and undisputed world capitol of the dawning New Age culture, San Francisco in those years was the very pulsing, exuberant heart of the Sexual Revolution, and Freed found her element—and herself—there, truly at home for the first time in her life.
The city is much more than mere backdrop in this narrative, with its sleazy clubs and peep shows, steaming bathhouses, velvet-upholstered swingers’ retreats, greasy bistros, head shops, and cafes, high-quality psychedelics, and easy sex—what Erica Jong notoriously referred to as the zipless f***—San Francisco is the magical canvas on which the story of Freed’s quest for liberty and self-knowledge assumes vivid life.
As in any quest-narrative worth the telling, the heroine needs a guide or mentors to help her learn the workings of this strange, new, and sometimes scary world. Enter a series of fascinating acquaintances and “perfect strangers” to help Dorothy navigate the Yellow Brick Road. At one point, Freed informs us, she was simultaneously dating no fewer than seven men, and would ultimately have close to a hundred lovers in the space of four years. She describes a few of these encounters in frank, unblinking detail, the good, the bad, and the stark-raving bonkers, along with what lessons were learned along the way. But probably the most influential and constant figure in her life at that time was “Jake,” Freed’s friend-with-benefits galore, who, in his constant challenging of her inhibitions and hang-ups, ever pushing the envelope of convention, was instrumental in helping her realize her true sexual self, the dazzling butterfly at last emerging from its cocoon of uncertainty and self-doubt.
Freed’s musings about the pitfalls of love, the search for deeper connection and meaning in life, are often extraordinary, and beautifully written, rising to the level of the most memorable personal literature. She relates her story with deep self-awareness, honesty, passion, and grace; throughout, her language is direct, frank—but seldom brutally so—and never convoluted or confused. This is by no means a difficult book to read, though it is certainly an easy one to love.