We quickly became the typical I-must-talk-to-you-every-night-and-drive-over-to-your-house-at-10-p.m.-because-I-absolutely-cannot-go-to-sleep-if-I'm-not-in-the-same-bed-as-you couple falling in love...But just as quickly our honeymoon period came to an end. At first it wasn't clear. And then it was very clear. And then it was so f--king clear that John and I found ourselves driving to Beverly Hills for couples therapy.
When Jennifer Lehr found herself, at age twenty-eight, falling in love with a brilliant, kind, supportive comic named John, she breathed a sigh of relief. After a decade spent in a string of destined-to-fail relationships, and countless hours of therapy trying to repair the damage, her Mr. Right had come along.
Even Jennifer's judgmental grandparents had no choice but to succumb to John's considerable charms. Happily ever after? Not so fast. True love, Jennifer soon discovers, doesn't necessarily go hand-in-hand with a white-hot sex life. Just months into the relationship, she finds herself grappling with the question: What do you do when you find the committed, loving partnership you've always hoped for, but the sex is just so-so...that is, when and if it happens at all?
Distraught, yet dedicated to making their relationship work, Jennifer and John embark on couples therapy, twelve-step meetings, romantic getaways, Scheduled Date Nights...and their gritty determination begins to pay off.
Looking back at her life (sexual history, botched romances, neurotic parents) while tracing her and John's bumpy progress toward marriage, what emerges is a provocative, courageously honest, poignant, and ultimately cheering chronicle of one woman's sexual odyssey. Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex is the quintessential modern-era love story - complete with confused expectations, myths of romantic love, and the overriding hope that a successful relationship can be forged from the rubble.
©2004 Jennifer Lehr (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
When I first stumbled across this audiobook, it had yet to be reviewed by the Audible listener community. So I went to Amazon where Jennifer Lehr is personally EXCORIATED by reviewer after reviewer. Multiple reviews include the words “self-absorbed,” “spoiled,” and “narcissistic.” The writing is described as “stilted,” “puerile” and “immature.” One reviewer even mentioned the Lehrs’ child, noting that she “will have to read the painfully embarrassing and pointless details of her mom’s promiscuity, chilly inability to enjoy sex, shrewish control freak behavior, materialism and the utterly demeaning and heartless way her mother has publicly castrated her father.” OUCH.
But, there were also a number of five star reviews that praised Ms. Lehr’s writing as “engaging,” “compelling,” “fun,” and “courageous.” Overall, the book was positively reviewed by critics and the subject matter was intriguing. So I took a chance. (Hey, I could always return the book if I hated it.)
Nine hours later, having laughed (and sometimes cringed) my way through this book, I understand why some reviewers did not like it. You either “get” Ms. Lehr and her sense of humor, or you don’t. Personally, I got it. What some may perceive as “self-absorbed,” I thought was self-deprecating. What some may perceive as “narcissistic,” I thought was wryly reflective. What some may perceive as “promiscuity,” I thought was an honest exploration of a woman’s developing sexuality. Mostly, however, I think I got this book because I didn't take it too seriously.
I also realize that my enjoyment of this book may be, in large part, due to Emily Zeller’s flawless narration. She not only captured the tone of Ms. Lehr’s writing perfectly, she managed to make Ms. Lehr’s character likeable and real. It’s equally notable that the stylistic issues some reviewers had with the printed copy of this book (poorly chosen font, over-hyphenation, and gratuitous photographs) did not apply to this audiobook. Whatever the reason, if you don’t take yourself (or others) too seriously, if you have ever experienced the anti-climax of a first kiss, if you have ever wondered why you always date guys who are all wrong for you, if you have ever realized that “frog” in your life is really a prince, or if you have ever loved someone enough to struggle though the hard times, I think you will enjoy this book.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
What happens when you’ve found the love of your life, but the sex quickly becomes just so-so? If you’re Jennifer Lehr, you pull up your boot straps and MAKE it work—couples therapy, sex therapy, and plain old date night until, eventually, it really does work.
"Ill-Equipped" is probably one of the all-time great books about a marriage falling apart and a woman whose husband is disinterested in sex with her. Lehr is unsparing, funny, insightful, heartbreaking, and relatable.
Emily Zeller pulls off the snarky L.A. pragmatist, and brings out the humor and hurt in the writing.
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