A tale of multiple marriages that lacks strong characters.

A Search for Love

In this debut erotic novel, a radio and TV personality looks back on his seven-wife search for love and great sex.

Life is sweet for 28-year-old Matt Matthews; in 1980, he’s “the number one disc jockey in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,” and enjoys plenty of sex with beautiful women. It helps that he gets his dates drunk first, to lower their inhibitions. Plus, he avers, “It’s amazing what some women will believe” when you lie to them. Wife No. 1 is Debra, not only gorgeous, but “she might be an asset to my career. In addition, I’ll finally get between her legs,” he thinks. They have an “ethnic” wedding and honeymoon in the Poconos, beginning a tradition for Matt—he brings every new bride back to the same suite and bed. Why so many weddings? “I fall in love. I want to do the right thing,” says Matt, yet he also believes: “It’s only some words” and a “piece of paper.” In what also becomes a tradition, Matt and wife are soon divorced. Reasons over the course of many failed marriages include infidelity, disappointed expectations, and lies. Matt’s career grows; he hosts radio and TV talk shows in New York City, buys a West Side penthouse, and writes his autobiography. He marries wife No. 6, Dianne, so they can enjoy conjugal visits when she’s in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme, having first set aside an offshore account for them both. Dianne flees the country after her release. While Matt’s skills in bed seldom fail to supply multiple orgasms, the book’s many erotic scenes don’t have much sexual heat: “She was secreting and it was dripping down on my body…she moved [my penis] slowly into her oral cavity,” for example. The author seems to intend this as a comic novel of misadventure that leads to true love, but many readers will likely find it difficult to root for the shallow characters: does a married man concerned about doing the right thing get a vasectomy on the sly? And that offshore account signifies misfortune for those investors Dianne scammed. After a brief seventh marriage (to the mother of wife No. 5), Matt discovers one of his former spouses in Costa Rica. Will he finally find happiness? In the end, this obvious wish-fulfillment fantasy delivers little satisfaction. 

A tale of multiple marriages that lacks strong characters.

Pub Date: June 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68146-144-1

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Start Romance

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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