I am pleased to report that a reviewer found the 52 incredibly sad.
I wanted to write a book that was pure and simple, cause and effect.
There were other ways to tell this story, happier, more popular ways. But I am not trying to conform to a redemption narrative — at this time.
I am trying, with all of my force and self-absorption and worth, to tell what happens to me and to girls and boys everywhere, when someone in their childhood is allowed to crush their spirit through both abuse and sexual abuse. Cause — effect. Cause — effect. Cause: the abusive other unchecked by family or family friends. Effect: chaos and lot of pain for everyone.
It made me sad, too.
That’s the book I wanted to write. Thanks to reviewer Kirsten McDougall and and editor Louise O’Brien at “New Zealand Books.” Here is the opening:
I felt deeply sad upon finishing Louise Wareham Leonard’s new book, 52 Men. Its constituent 52 parts tells a story that fits right into our Tinder-times, even though Leonard is reporting back from the age before apps supported hook-ups. Dating can be a perilous business for the mind, heart and body, and it was both fascinating and sobering to read through the 52 encounters. But this book is more than just about dating 52 men; it is a book about the power dynamics that exist in our society between a rich man and a comparatively less wealthy woman; a famous man and and a non-famous woman; a girl and an older man. The complex layers of sexual desire, emotional torment, fun and recklessness are all in here; but there is not much love to be found. The final story explains why that might be so. And this left me sad.
Here is the entire review: