A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance

by Jane Juska
ISBN: 1400060117

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A Review of: A Round Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance
by Gordon Phinn

The ineluctable glamour of scandal seems to be why the brisk trade in confessional memoir continues unabated. For some reason, which may one day be unveiled by psychiatry, militant feminism, or aliens with a kinder, gentler agenda, the female of the species is especially keen on kissing and telling. Transgression, it would seem, remains ever so tempting, the season of indulgence it generates quite irresistible, while the lure of hard won redemption vies with public acclaim for the big prize. While guys, when not boozily unemployed or dreaming of fly-fishing, seem keener on the debilitating effects of war on the testosterone charged psyche and the paranoid phallocentric cultures it upholds, gals still much prefer to gore that virgin/madonna ideal with the kind of carefree sluttishness previously the preserve of the indolent rich. It sure looks like brazenness has supplanted modesty in the panoply of desirable attributes. And apparently discretion, decorum and restraint have been a cheesy sham all along. Carefree, immediate indulging of desire is definitely what the doctor ordered. Perhaps even stuffed shirts will soon be in short supply.
Juska, a retired school teacher of 67 from Ohio, for whom you'll be pleased to hear, "Art compensates for life," had the cojones to place a personal in The New York Review Of Books, advising of her love of Trollope and her imminent need of some serious rolling in the hay. Her memoir, which comprises the cross country adventures resulting from the most appealing replies, is living proof that bonking books need be neither brassy nor boring. Displaying as deft a touch with the psyches of her respondents as the tangles of her own childhood and failed marriage, she brings to the genre a refreshing breath of refinement and culture. When she submits that "participating in art and sex allows us to transcend the certainty of our own death and the destruction of all that is beautiful and good," one feels like cheering: In praise of older women indeed.
Juska is the possessor of not only a soft heart, but a sharp eye and fine wit, not to mention a vocabulary blessedly beyond the functional. She too oogled the rear ends of boys in high school hallways, but had the great good sense to unhitch her fantasy from her hands and hover until her anticipation ripened into daring exploits on the right side of the law.
And when she emerges from the wistful shadows into the light of erotic commitment, later in life than most perhaps, she is able to usher her readers into the secret empires of sex and culture with equal facility, proving once again that the life of the mind can and should be the life of the body, and that all experience is conjoined by the energies of eternal delight.

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