2 words that describe the book―Sex Memoir (NOT so much a travel memoir as you might think)
- Setting: Primarily Vienna and Amsterdam, Modern Day
- Rachel Shukert is a Jewish girl from Omaha who moves to New York City to make it as an actress. She is broke and barely getting by when she finally gets her “big break”—working for a temperamental director in an off-Broadway play that eventually has a European run in Vienna. After the play closes, Rachel decides to stay with friends in Amsterdam. After all, why not be broke and miserable in Europe instead New York?
- During Rachel’s adventures, we get to meet a colorful cast of characters, including: Berthold (“an Austrian photographer old enough to be my father”); Mattijs and Jeroen (a gay couple who allow Rachel to live in their tiny apartment in Amsterdam); Marco, Ivan and Enzo (Italians—one of whom is an amateur dentist and two of whom are sex-crazed possible sex traffickers); Pete (Rachel’s lover and possible boyfriend except for the little business of him having a girlfriend and possibly being a psycho); and Ben (potential husband material).
4 things I liked or disliked about the book
- This book is f#*@ing hilarious! BUT if you blanched when you saw the F word (even typed with nonsense characters), this book isn’t for you. It is raunchy, dirty, irreverent, bawdy and wonderfully scatological. In other words, not for everyone. But if this kind of stuff doesn’t bother you, you’ll be spitting drinks out your nose from laughing and saying “OH NO SHE DIDN’T” as you read along.
- At first glance, the book might seem like it is a travel memoir. Let me tell you, it is not. Sure, Rachel provides valuable information for travelers, including such gems as “The Swiss: Europe’s Perverts,” “Are You About to Be Sex-Trafficked?,” “Where The F*#K Am I? A Guide to Dutch Street Names,” as well as practical information on finding a dentist in Amsterdam with no health insurance or money. But, for the most part, this is a personal memoir that gets down and dirty about the realities of a single woman who isn’t afraid to take chances on casual sex.
- I enjoyed how Rachel wrote about whatever struck her fancy—from imagining imaginary Amsterdam-set sitcoms to examining the peculiar relationships between Phil Collins and the Dutch. From the very start of the book, which includes a helpful guide about How To Use This Book (as a trivet, as substitute coasters, as Kleenex, as toilet paper, as sanitary napkins) and a guide for Assembling A Rachel Shukert Costume, you know you’re not reading a conventional memoir that plays by the rules. The book is part comedic essay, part travel narrative, and part sex memoir—all rolled around in nice helping of curse words and irreverence.
- I really wanted to know who the big-time director was! I disliked that Rachel kept that information from me after being more than open about everything else. (But I suppose if I were more in the know about theater, I could have figured it out. Plus I suppose she has to watch out for potential lawsuits.)
5 stars or less for my rating:
I’m giving the book 4 stars. I thought it was a funny, fast read that had a generous ratio of laughs per page. However, if you’re easily shocked or not comfortable with bawdy, raunchy, irreverence and a generous helping of four-letter words, this book might not be the best choice for you. If, however, you have low standards like me, check it out … it was one of the more original and amusing memoirs I’ve read.
The Whys and Wheres: This was the book that I sneakily downloaded to my Kindle one day and then got caught by Mr. Jenners. Was it worth it? Yes it was!