In The Scarlet Letter Society, three smart successful women meet monthly for an early breakfast book club... not that unusual, until you realize that the books are all about women having extramarital affairs, and the women have this in common in their real lives as well.
As with most book clubs, the book talk is quickly abandoned for real life talk, and in this case sex and relationship talk. It is dishy and fun and insightful, and sometimes yes touching.
My bloggy buddy Mary McCarthy, semi-famous for Pajamas and Coffee, has FINALLY published her first novel, and the timing is perfect... this is an ideal summer read, a fast, fun, sexy, chatty beach book.
Besides being a breezy read and interesting take on grown-up relationships, this Scarlet Letter is loaded with self aware pop culture references... a book with people talking about books, with poppy references from Sixteen Candles to the Eagles to Stevie Wonder to Erica Jong... if I didn't love my 70s and 80s shallow pop culture I may think was too much, but so not an issue for me at all... never enough!
In The Scarlet Letter Society, there is wit, there is humour, there is sex, and most importantly there are three women who think they're slutty but may just be lonely; okay, one of them is totally slutty, but in a wonderfully charming bi-curious kind of way.
Between monthly book club breakfasts we follow each woman's life; Eva the lonely attorney with a chef on the side, Maggie the vintage retailer with her ex on the side, and Lisa the baker with a different kind of secret. You will come to adore them all.
And yes there is a totally fabulous gay best friend, who has a totally sweet gay wedding to his boyfriend ALFRED!
Put this one on top of your summer reading list, and spend some time with these fun, fascinating, fidelity-challenged women, and their friends and lovers, in The Scarlet Letter Society...
Disclaimer: the publisher sent me a digital copy of this book. This review is my own, no compensation was received. Jelly beans would have been nice.
Tomorrow we see Cher and Cyndi Lauper live in concert (okay, okay, sort of live, as there may be some Cher lip syncing involved).
I love Cher, have seen her twice before, she puts on an amazing show…. and her 'comeback' album from last year, Closer To The Truth, is fantastic in a glitzy touching over-produced danceable-with-some-sadness kind of way… so totally Cher! Believe... If I Could Turn Back Time... Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves... Woman's World... Song For The Lonely... Dark Lady... Half Breed... You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me...
So while yes insomnia totally sucks, there are ways to handle it... drugs, exercise, hypnosis... I don't do any of them when I can't sleep. I read or watch TV. Usually I choose chopper gadget infomercials or Golden Girls reruns, but this week I chose Netflix... and discovered they are showing two recent acclaimed gay films I had read about but never had access to before. Both are awesome.
Stranger By The Lake, France, 2013 (English subtitles)
This sexual thriller is unlike anything I have seen before... at first I was thinking "what's the big deal" and then I was holding on to the edge of my seat to see what would happen next. The whole film takes place within a few days on a gay cruising beach. Franck is an out gay man who goes there looking for conversations, sex, and maybe love, unlike the other mostly closeted beachgoers just looking for anonymous sex in the woods. This is a beautifully shot work, with the lake and nearby woods by day and by night being postcard gorgeous. In more ways than just the scenery, the film overall is beguiling... and oh yeah, good to note, very sexually explicit. Franck becomes enchanted with Michel, another attractive man who spends his afternoons at the beach having sex with different men. He then realizes Michel has a possessive boyfriend. And while watching them from a distance, he sees Michel deliberately drown the boyfriend. Franck knows he should report this to the police, but is so infatuated he keeps quiet and starts getting involved with Michel. And two days later the body is discovered and police start interviewing all the closeted men at the cruising park, which you know is not gonna go well. And the mystery evolves... This is an original, suspenseful, explicit, dark and twisty thriller. Highly recommended.
Gayby, USA, 2012
This one is much lighter fare, the story of a gay man and straight woman who are best friends and decide to have a baby together. Sure this store has been done before -- hell, Jennifer Aniston and Madonna each did it in a couple of crappy films fifteen years ago -- but Gayby is fresh and fun. It's a bitchier, more vulgar Will and Grace.
Writer-director-actor Jonathan Lisecki's tale of thirty something BF's Mat and Jenn agreeing to try to have a baby together — he's gay and recently single, she's straight and loveless — is as fast and quippy as you expect a movie built around dry, neurotic, yoga-loving, comic-book-reading New Yorkers to be.
Gayby's warmth and character development lift it above sitcom status. The actors are highly appealing as they move from awkward sexual coupling to awkward fertility treatment, while simultaneously navigating new romantic possibilities outside their arrangement.