Cannonball Read V: Laura Meets Jeffrey: Both Sides of an Erotic Memoir by Jeffrey Michelson and Laura Bradley
Laura Meets Jeffrey: Both Sides of an Erotic Memoir is as much a travelogue of a journey to a fabled land as a memoir. The world in this memoir doesn't exist anymore. There was a brief period of time between the wide availability of the birth control pill and the onset of herpes and AIDS when sexual freedom and exploration were celebrated in a way that seems unimaginable today. Casual sex and recreational drug use aren't hard to find today, but the idea that either of those things are consequence free or even good for you, is gone and may never return. Laura Meets Jeffrey illuminates the end of that period, 1980 - 1983, from the joyous abandon of meeting your libidinous soul match to the bitter realization that nothing comes without consequences.
I was offered this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I accepted it because it was already on my "to read and review" list.
One of the treasures of this book is Jeffrey's voice. It comes through with clarity and honesty. It's a very masculine voice, which at times gave me the feeling I was getting a penis eye view of Jeffrey's life. I don't mean that as a negative, only that for me, it was a very different perspective. It added to my feeling that I was a getting a glimpse into a completely foreign land. Jeffrey's feelings about himself, Laura, and the world around him come through without great descriptive paragraphs of analysis. His experiences as a magazine writer and in advertising serve him well in conveying a lot of layers with only a few words.
Sex was a large part of their lives, together and separately. Laura was a prostitute when Jeffrey met her, and remained one through their time together. Sex is not the entirety of their relationship, but it is the heartbeat. Laura and Jeffrey are partners who allow each other to seek out more and more extreme sexual experiences. They have moments of jealousy and insecurity, but it isn't the sex that puts a strain on their relationship. Some of their sexual adventures were challenging to read, but always told honestly.
Laura's contribution to the memoir is sporadic, but important. She adds veracity, but not as much depth. There is one moment near the end of the book when Laura is at a funeral and reflecting on the current state of her life. This is Laura's most honest, revealing moment. Through most of the book, we have to trust Jeffrey, and in one instance Norman Mailer, that Laura is a fascinating woman. It isn't until the funeral that Laura reveals herself, and became, for me, the woman Jeffrey had been describing. I trusted Jeffrey about Laura, because Jeffrey presents himself so honestly.
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