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3.8 out of 5 stars
My Secret Garden
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2001
For years, I used erotica books as surrogate fantasy material, believing that I was incapable of fantasizing during sex, that I had no fantasies of my own and had to use other people's. Reading "My Secret Garden" changed my perception of myself drastically. Those horrid, disturbing thoughts that floated into my brain, that I would shove down quickly as "sick," were indeed fantasies. The brave women who contributed their fantasies and feelings showed me that even if what I was drawn to was "sick," it certainly wasn't uncommon.
I am especially grateful to the women who commented on making the decision to share, or not share, their fantasies with their lovers. This was crucial for me. At a time when my thoughts were to be confessed on demand, I deprived my lover by depriving myself: those weren't fantasies, they were just random weird thoughts that made me uncomfortable. However, after getting out of a bad relationship and realizing that my mind was my own toy, I found that I could explore those thoughts without fear of exposure to anyone but myself ... and thus without shame.
Once I allowed myself my own secret garden, I found that I could share with myself and my current lovers in a way that previous ones had tried to coerce out of me. Living well is indeed the best revenge, and I thank Nancy Friday for her subversive assistence.
There are sections and chapters. Here's a listing of the section headings:
Introduction: Twenty-Five Years in the Garden
1. "Tell Me What You Are Thinking About," He Said
2. "Why Fantasize When You Have Me?"
3. The House of Fantasy
4. "Where Did A Nice Girl Like You Get An Idea Like That?"
5. Guilt and Fantasy, Or, "Why The Fig Leaf?"
6. Fantasy Accepted
7. Quickies
Afterword: "In Defense of Nancy Friday" by Martin Shepard, M.D., psychiatrist
Along with fantasies submitted via taped interview and by mail, Friday includes her own analysis of the history of women's erotic nature, of the era at the time of initial publication and of the fantasies themselves. There's no bibliography and no footnotes; she mostly refers to any sources in the text itself. She's a good writer, whether or not I agree with her from chapter to chapter.
Written letters are kept in the style in which they were sent. Some of the women are amazingly articulate. Some of the letters are a painful read from a literary standpoint. But I think this enforces the idea that all of the submissions are genuine.
People who are interested in this book simply as another erotica compilation may well be disappointed. This is an academic study of women's fantasies, and not a "best of" compilation. If anything, it's a compilation of what Friday observed to be most representative of her times. And a quarter of a century after its initial publication, it changed my life.
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on January 26, 2001
For years, I used erotica books as surrogate fantasy material, believing that I was incapable of fantasizing during sex, that I had no fantasies of my own and had to use other people's. Reading "My Secret Garden" changed my perception of myself drastically. Those horrid, disturbing thoughts that floated into my brain, that I would shove down quickly as "sick," were indeed fantasies. The brave women who contributed their fantasies and feelings showed me that even if what I was drawn to was "sick," it certainly wasn't uncommon.
I am especially grateful to the women who commented on making the decision to share, or not share, their fantasies with their lovers. This was crucial for me. At a time when my thoughts were to be confessed on demand, I deprived my lover by depriving myself: those weren't fantasies, they were just random weird thoughts that made me uncomfortable. However, after getting out of a bad relationship and realizing that my mind was my own toy, I realized that I could explore those thoughts without fear of exposure to anyone but myself.
One I allowed myself my own secret garden, I found that I could share with myself and my current lovers in a way that previous ones had tried to coerce out of me. Living well is indeed the best revenge, and I thank Nancy Friday for her subversive assistence.
There are sections and chapters. Here's a listing of the section headings:
Introduction: Twenty-Five Years in the Garden
1. "Tell Me What You Are Thinking About," He Said
2. "Why Fantasize When You Have Me?"
3. The House of Fantasy
4. "Where Did A Nice Girl Like You Get An Idea Like That?"
5. Guilt and Fantasy, Or, "Why The Fig Leaf?"
6. Fantasy Accepted
7. Quickies
Afterword: "In Defense of Nancy Friday" by Martin Shepard, M.D., psychiatrist
Along with fantasies submitted via taped interview and by mail, Friday includes her own analysis of the history of women's erotic nature, the era at the time of initial publication and the fantasies themselves. There's no bibliography and no footnotes; she mostly refers to any sources in her text itself. She's a good writer, whether I agree with her at each chapter or not.
Written letters are kept in the style in which they were sent. Some of the women are amazingly articulate. Some of the letters are a painful read from a literary standpoint. But I think that enforces the idea that all of the submissions are genuine.
People who are interested in this book simply as another erotica compilation may well be disappointed. This is an academic study of women's fantasies, and not a "best of" compilation. If anything, it's a compilation of what Friday observed to be most representative of her times. And a quarter of a century after its initial publication, it changed my life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2008
This book has been around for many, many years and it's easy to see why. Inside are real women who talk about real things, fantasies and what have you. They don't hold back, either and some make "normal" fantasies seem almost vanilla. It's a great read for anyone who wants to explore this realm. Another good one: Playtime.
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I wrote a review of this book (following all the Amazon review guidelines), but it was yanked for being 'inappropriate'. So.. it seems Amazon will sell this book, but can't stomach positive reviews for it. Let's see how I can change my review so it passes the censors......
- Still a ground breaking book
- Still a must-read, unless anything.. uh.. *censored*?.. rhymes with textual.. content offends you
- Revolutionary for women for many reasons.. which I presume I'm not free to mention in a "G-rated" review for a book that isn't G-rated..
- Still lets women know they're not alone, and that as much in 2015 as in the 1970s we still face oppression, ignorance, censorship, stupidity.
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on January 24, 1999
When I first read My Secret Garden 25 years ago, my reaction was WOW! I was just discovering my lesbianism and realizedI wasn't the only one with these wicked thoughts. The fantasies still give me hours of arousal and new ideas for my fastasy life; some of which have become pleasurable realities. My wish is to see more concerning lesbians. My current fantasy is to see this book published in an audio version...I might never leave my bed if that happened! Thank you Nancy Friday for your wisdom and courage!
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on January 31, 1999
This book is still breaking ground 20-something years later and the stories of arousal and passion go far beyond what you think could happen in real life, except alot of them are true,,,, And they are having WAY more fun than you.... I Highly RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYTONE EXPLORING THEIR SEXUALITY. THS IS YOUR CHANCE TO KNOW THAT WAHT EVER IS IN YOUR MIND IS IN OTHERES MINDS AS WELL
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on March 21, 1999
This book was a brazen attempt (in it's era )to liberate Women to realize that their sexual fantasies are okay. If more women and men would read this book, perhaps it could help to alleviate some of the sexual tension between our sexes.Then we could get on with the communication issue, that we all need so much.
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on May 18, 1999
"This first of Nancy's books of womens sexual fantasies was a landmark in liberating women from the sexual dark-ages.Despite its age it can still get the pulse racing and opens your eyes to things never dreamt of before.It also provides a fascinating insight into 70s womens fantasies.
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on November 7, 1998
This book puts a spotlight on one of the "mental prisons" in which so many women (and men, also) spend their lives. Friday shows us the secret and denied fantasies that a few couragious women were bold enough to share with the world.
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on July 11, 2000
I've never been one for fantasies, but this book really helps open your eyes to a world in your mind that can make life so much more pleasurable. It helps you realize that fantasizing is a good thing. An excellent book!
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