You don’t read this book, it happens to you.
The self-destruction on display in Bad Sex is palpable, and will take most readers past the point of empathy for its booze soaked heroine. Some people might call it coincidence that I just finished reading Blackout by Sarah Hepola and soon after, almost by chance tore open the envelope containing an ARC of Bad Sex that came with a note from publicist Lauren Cerand, “Jason, enclosed, Bad Sex” – and after only a few pages I knew this book was for me.
Brett is a writer living in Central America. I could almost feel the cool coming off the window she presses her face up against in the hotel room where she has been stranded by a hurricane. She seems to want out, but has to buckle down and write a novel. Was she begging me to help her? Maybe.
There is no exit and she must drink and screw her way to freedom. Brett’s husband Paul is a long way off, and out of nowhere a friend of his shows up. I wish there was good news for you, and this is the moment you should put the book down if you have something else to do, whatever that might be. Eduard the friend in question is a banker and investing in hotels. Paul is part of the deal making; it doesn’t really matter to the story because Brett is going to ruin everything. She will sleep with Eduard with furious intent. She makes it look easier than falling out of a boat. Brett will also drink everything not nailed down, but that comes later.
What was most shocking to me, (could be my Puritan bloodline) is how mercilessly apathetic she was about cheating. You see, she never leaves her husband, and keeps this little ace up her sleeve until the bill arrives. At that moment I felt a breath of clean air enter my body when the “discovery”, is made, and I knew right away that Brett was going back down inside the darkness.
At first she has a croupier’s grace around booze, a sneaky drunk, but she has danced with sobriety over the years. She is in a relationship with alcohol, not Eduard, or Paul, but the liquid companion that is just at the end of her fingers. She pines for it, schemes ways to get it, plots, and steals moments with all manners of inebriation. It is the spire hanging over her head. She prays for it to fall on her, and when it does, she is only grazed. Brett spins like a retired ballerina while the world she pisses on slowly turns, and that is the sad truth for all involved.
Eduard is a man of many talents, but his long-range bedside manners are beyond excellent. This book will make you hot, burn you at the edges, turn you on, and get you in the mood. The chapters are like Dirk Diggler hip thrusts, solid, firm and building to a great climax. At one point Brett asks a complete stranger if he is married, the answer is “no”, which is Brett’s way of confirming that she isn’t the marrying kind. When the blackouts arrive you should take cover. Heavy cocktails flood the novel and it is a glorious ride. I think you will like, dare I say love this book, but it is a lot like watching your skydiving partner step out at twenty thousand feet sans parachute.