Amanda Filipacchi,
Nude Men
(Viking, 1993)

I am not quite sure what to say about this book, except I absolutely loved it.

Jeremy leads a pretty mundane life as a fact checker/filer at a local celebrity magazine. He has a messy apartment, a cat he converses with and a girlfriend he barely tolerates. His life takes an exciting turn when he is approached by a beautiful woman, Lady Henrietta, who asks if he would pose for her nude. He accepts.

He's completely infatuated with the stunning artist, and long after the painting is done, he continues to come around hoping to gain a more intimate relationship. But life has other plans for him and he finds himself charmed by and attracted to her 11-year-old daughter, Sara.

I admit when I read the descriptions of the story and other reviews and found out about the sexual relationship between a grown man and an 11-year-old girl, I was completely turned off. The word "ew" came to mind, repeatedly. But this tale is so much more than a perverted older man having sex with a child; it's actually a very small part of the story. I was shocked to find out I didn't find it to be as perverse as I thought it was going to be.

What helps to erase the "ew" factor is that Sara is no ordinary girl. She has been raised by a free-thinking and perhaps too open mother who encourages her daughter to say -- and do -- whatever she thinks and feels. Sara is a combination of old lady and little girl trapped in a woman's body. She is a bundle of contradictions that both attract and repel. SHE comes on to Jeremy, repeatedly, determinedly, and he puts up a good fight for as long as he can.

The relationships between Jeremy, the women in his life (including his cat) and his subconscious are brilliantly written. This tale is crazy, hilarious, daring, politically incorrect, tragic, ironic, but most of all tremendous. Every character in this story has a remarkable way of cutting through the BS and just being real and true to themselves. A more colorful cast of characters you will never find. Its brutal honesty isn't always pleasant, but I think that's what makes it so great. I laughed, I cried, I didn't want to set it down and I didn't want it to end.

review by
Cherise Everhard

4 July 2009

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