NIGHT TERRORS by Ashley Cardiff


Sex, Dating, Puberty, and Other Alarming Things
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A 20-something editor and writer's unapologetically snarky sex memoir that is “not about [her] sex life.”

In a book that is as disturbing as it is funny, Cardiff explores the absurd and at times bizarre events that have defined her journey to sexual experience. She begins with a description of recurring sexual nightmares she had as a child, which involved the singer Prince and a gigantic purple tricycle. Precocious but without any real knowledge of what sex was, she drew pictures of genital-eating piranhas and “Satan and the angel Gabriel sword-fighting with their huge penises” for the express purpose of getting kicked out of her catechism class. Carnal knowledge came to her unbidden, first through a porn film that she accidentally found on TV during a sleepover and then through homemade sex tapes that she discovered at a Thanksgiving family get-together. Cardiff grew into a graceless adolescence, where she fell for an older man with a penchant for seducing underage girls and eventually lost her virginity to a boy she got to know in the wake of a postponed orgy. In college, she pursued her sexual bliss with a guilt-ridden Mormon and experienced a moment of near-mystical enlightenment on the nature of dating and love in a Denver strip club. A move to New York allowed her to witness human sexuality in all its mayhem. In one essay, she describes an encounter with a man “lying on the sidewalk trying to orally pleasure a dead baby bird.”

If readers can get past Cardiff’s irritating efforts to constantly demonstrate her own cleverness, they may find some interesting observations about human sexual foibles, but not much else.

Pub Date: July 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59240-786-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Gotham Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2013


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