A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance Hardcover – May 6 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Contrary to the lurid title (a "round-heeled woman" was once slang for a prostitute), Juska is a semiretired English teacher with refined tastes: Trollope novels , opera and museums. "Before I turn 67-next March," she wrote to the personals column of the New York Review of Books, "I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like." While her adventures meeting these men frame her narrative, she's no geriatric Emmanuelle on a coast-to-coast fling, in spite of proclamations like "I adore penises." It's just that she was raised by repressed Midwesterners and had never managed-given her spiritual and physical bulk-a truly fulfilling love affair. Married to a loveless man, she then spent years in social retreat as a single mom. By the time she emerged from her chrysalis, she realized she'd never had a chance at pleasure, hence the ad and her comic adventures with the assortment of men culled from the daily mail. While it's no surprise that the best man comes last and that he's a hunk with a brilliant mind, this Harold-Maude liaison is hardly the most compelling chapter of this quirky little memoir. Surprisingly, it's Juska's accounts of visiting the Berg collection at the New York Public Library, or the stories of her writing classes at a prison, that remain in mind, long after her personals game has faded. Old women looking for sex may not seem a hot topic, but there's something universal in this woman's love affair with the written word.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Before I turn 67--next March--I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me." When Juska, a retired schoolteacher from Berkeley, placed this ad in the New York Review of Books, she was relatively happy with her life except that "it didn't have any touching in it." This thoroughly engaging memoir not only describes her attempt to find someone to touch, but also recounts the story of her life up to the point she placed the ad. "I am . . . a cliche," she laments, after describing her history of sexual abuse, repressed memory syndrome, weight and drug problems. The litany is familiar, to be sure, but there is nothing cliched about Juska's determination to reinvent herself. We learn of her sexual adventures and of the resulting emotional entanglements, but what is most amazing about this refreshingly honest, remarkably candid story isn't the senior sex but the courage shown by a round-heeled woman who decided it was time to pursue passion with a vengeance. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
And yet...I felt that I only got glimpses of this vibrant woman. Juska's good at setting up her romantic disappointments -- the book overflows with sentences like "I didn't know then the sadness that would come." But when the crushing moments did come, they fell flat and left me unmoved. I wanted to feel her pain, her struggle, her joy -- but Juska's love of books got in the way. (This is coming from an avid reader and lit major -- I share her love.) She spends so much of the book stuck in her head and building a wall with her words that by the end I felt I really didn't know her at all.
I also finished the book feeling that there was something dark lurking underneath the surface of it all -- something that Juska, despite her talent for self-examination and disclosure, was unwilling to look at or reveal. Her son's troubles, the father fixation, the drinking...there's more going on here that she's not telling or doesn't know.
And yes, she finds the proverbial Prince after she kisses a few frogs. Ahhh
As to her search for a man with an ad placed in the New York Times Review of Books, I found her experiences fascinating and admire her initiative. Probably not so encouraging for seniors seeking partners since she goes from disaster to disaster with men her own age and older and does not achieve real satisfaction until she meets a lover half her age. Could be an inspiration for the middle aged with the realization that passion and lust still burn in an old body, so don't wait till 67 like this woman did to start exploring that side of life.
Bet if it had been a 67 year old man with a 33 year old woman, there wouldn't have been half as much hesitation and self doubt.
I have been re-reading A Round Heeled Woman and while I still think it is interesting and in many ways daring, I also believe that prospective readers shouldn't think of it as either titillating or sexually satisfying.
There is also the interesting idea of a woman who was sexually abused as a child, distant from her father, husband and alas son, seemed deep down to be crying out for revenge or her just deserts and instead of wanting sex and satisfying sex I wonder if she wasnt/isnt looking for good/great sex in all the wrong places.. and or ... simply wanting to be fully in control in some sloppy BDSM mode.
Nothing sadder to me than a woman who travels three thousand miles away to a strangers bed and when used as a trollop (a vulgar or disreputable woman; especially: one who engages in sex promiscuously)I even wonder if she ever thought about the Freudian slip when she used Anthony Trollope as her chosen author.
I know thankfully many women over the age of sixty who are sensual, sensual, sexually active and respected by the man/men in their lives. This is the one thing that seems to be missing in Ms. Juska's life.
I look at the men like Robert who allows her to stay in his small NYC apartment, who has some good sex with her, but who verbally cuts her down. Or Henry who is married with kids and has 'sex' in front of the TV so he can watch the game. What kind of a woman has sex with someone's husband without some honesty? I am not talking about open marriage or polyamory where ALL the partners are in on the game. And poor young Graham who may have liked having her as a sexual experience, but who doesn't want anyone knowing him in 'real life'.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book has been on my pile for a number of years and finally read it. The premise of Jane Juska's book seemed promising - an older woman running an ad seeking sexual partners. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2011 by Kadi Kaljuste
First of all, only about 20% of the book deals with the author's "Late-life" adventures. The majority of the book deals with her earlier life. Read morePublished on May 28 2011 by Avid reader
Juska's book is enlightening and reassuring to a 65 year old woman who has had many sexual fantasies over many years and never travelled further than wishing for them. Read morePublished on May 21 2009 by Eliz. Kelly
Jane Juska is a most engaging memoirist and human being. She is a retired high school English teacher from Berkeley, California who sings in a chorale, has successfully completed... Read morePublished on July 17 2004
Jane Juska writes frankly about taboo topics--not only about her own sex life as an older woman, but also about sex in other places where it is considered not to "belong," such as... Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by Sara M Moorman
The idea is good, my problem is with the narrator. Juska is SO pretentious I can't stand it. She only goes out with the most erudite of men, then is disapointed when they turn out... Read morePublished on June 18 2004
This book stays with you when you're done. Months have passed since I read this, but I still miss Jane Juska. She's bright, witty, insightful, and honest. Read morePublished on June 4 2004 by Alfies_mom
This book rang true. It is funny, touching and perceptive. What an interesting woman. Her observations about people and places are so thoughtful. Read morePublished on April 4 2004
I was awed by this book. Juska is out in front with an essential but scary truth: we want sex---even if we're old and baggy. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2004
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