The (Unsolicited) Book Review
As has been noted on some of the finer sex blogs out there, there have been some less-than-honorable publicity moves on the part of the U.S. release of The Girl's book. Now, this blog is not prominent-enough to have been tempted with the "opportunity" to shill an edited, probably watered-down version of the book in question. Maybe, before I practically fell off the face of the earth for the better part of 2006, I might have had enough traffic to warrant an invite. But I didn't get one. Which is OK, because if you checked either of those first two links, you'll see that I'm not inclined to go along with what they were planning, anyway.
Instead, I'm going to write my own review. The cover-image to the right links to the UK Amazon store (it's actually the link that Abby herself uses on her site, so if there is any Amazon Associates code or similar, it will be her that benefits from it, not me... to use my code would link this blog to my "real life" too closely anyway). I recommend that if you are interested in the book (and hopefully you will be by the time I'm finished), that you'll buy it from the UK even if you're in the US, as I am.
I bought the book on a whim, earlier this year. I mean, I planned all along to get the book, of course, but I hadn't gotten around to it (not even on my trip to London last November). On a (separate) whim, I was perusing the Amazon.co.uk site looking for a rare, out-of-print classical CD. If, by the way, you like either of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition or Respighi's Pines of Rome, I cannot recommend this recording highly-enough. I lost my original in a car break-in years ago, and had been searching for a replacement every since. I couldn't be satisfied with any other interpretation. But I digress. At long last, I had found it. And I was so happy, I decided to add another item or two, as long as I was shopping. But what? Then I remembered Abby expressing some disdain as what she was hearing about the plans for the US market release of her book. Why not get it in the original Queen's English edition? Perfect!
So I get the book. Now first off, let me say that I've been reading her blog since about April of 2005. It was one of the first few sex-blogs that I came across from checking out other blogger's link-rolls. I was speechless as the wry wit and general sense of, well, fun that she seemed to be putting into each blog post. So I was already a big fan. When I heard that there was going to be a book, I knew I'd eventually get it and read it. Just a matter of "when", not "if". So how did the book stack up to the blog experience?
Quite well, if I may say so.
These are two very different media. It sounds obvious when I say it, but it's surprising how many people don't get this simple fact. Violet Blue gets it. Xeni Jardin gets it. Lots of people do, but they're sadly in the minority. So to do this thing, you have to understand that difference and make the material that you wrote for one form of expression work in the other. She does this, and in my feel for reading the book, she does it well. It turns the blog content back into the diary-form that blogs grew out of. But she has created content over the course of her blog that doesn't quite fit into this model, yet is top-notch content and should be included. How to do this? A little re-arranging, a little re-organizing, and you have excellent filler pages that are not only as good as the rest of the pages, they do a handy job of breaking up the logical sections of the narrative.
Know this before you buy it: if you're looking for a book to jerk off to, you might want to stick with Penthouse Letters. There are some hot pages in this book, and I was plenty hard on several occasions. But this is a more emotional than salacious book. While there are plenty of detailed descriptions, many of those descriptions are of how she's feeling about the latest emotional let-down, the latest punishment for letting her guard down. I winced in places, seeing the accident about to happen but unable to jump into the page and warn her. I envied her (or more accurately, her partner) when the stars aligned and the sex was had. And when I got to the last page, I wanted very badly to see "To be continued".
So in case it isn't clear, I recommend this book whole-heartedly and without reservations. More to the point, without any "coaching" from the sleazy US publicist. I don't know if she plans on more books in this vein. The fall-out over her identity being spread by London tabloids did quite a number on her personal life, and pretty much ended her professional life. But if she has anything else in the works, blog, memoir or fiction, I think I'll pre-order it this time around.
From Amazon UK, of course. It really is a global economy, after all.