Virginia Ironside reviews Unaccompanied Women by Jane Juska, in the Literary Review:
As this is a book about a book, in order to get through this one, you need to have waded through the first one: Jane Juska’s A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance. In this, the author recounted what happened after she’d placed an advertisement in the New York Review of Books which read: ‘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.’ Billed as a strike for sexual freedom for the mature (actually very mature) woman, it came across as a tragic wail from someone who was young in the Fifties but who clearly wished she’d been young in the Sixties.
As a result of the ad, Jane managed to get quite a few orgasms under her belt but oh, what a price she had to pay! Eighty-two-year-old Jonah, for example, insisted she talked dirty the first night and, on the second, announced that he didn’t desire her – ‘Get yourself some KY jelly. You get dry before I can get in, and I can’t keep it up long enough for you to get wet,’ he said, brutally, before fleeing with the two champagne flutes that she’d brought to drink from, not to mention the trousers of her red silk jim-jams. Then she met Robert. He was a member of AA and already had a girlfriend, whom he rang repeatedly, in order to tell her he loved her. He had also started drinking again. The following lovers were equally, if not more, unappetising (one of them sucked boiled sweets when they had sex) and finally she bumped into the much younger Graham, whom she adored because he pompously uttered this smug and well-worn cliché, which it appears she had never heard before in her life: ‘The greatest pleasure for me in making love is giving the other person pleasure.’
In her latest book, Juska tells us what happened next.