Tuesday, December 3, 2013


"It Was Like a Pile of Kleenex"

I read the ones by men instead, until I was like, “I cannot read another passage about masturbation. I can’t.” It was like a pile of Kleenex. I read Portnoy’s Complaint. I read Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude, when it came out. I read, I don’t even remember — but I read like five male coming-of-age novels that had intense, long passages about masturbation. These books taught me a lot about what it must be like to be a young man, and gave me some terrible ideas about the kind of woman I didn’t want to be, in order to not be thought dull or needy by the intelligent, masturbating young men I liked, but they did not help me understand my life. Except for The Bell Jar I didn’t have a book that gave me an archetype, of a young, educated, sexually curious, neurotic but adventurous heterosexual female who was not trying to overcome sexual trauma.

The Cut published an excerpt from No Regrets, a collection of conversations between women edited by Dayna Tortorici, who calls the book "a book of women talking about the processes of becoming themselves." The excellent "pile of Kleenex" line and the ensuing thoughts above are from the writer Emily Witt; read the rest here.

9 Comments / Post A Comment

Regina Phalange

Just chiming in to champion Emma Forrest's excellent memoir "Your Voice in My Head" - not sure if I'd call it a "coming of age" story, but it's a really lovely exploration of her twenties/thirties.

I'm also reminded of something Emily Gould said once - "If a woman writes about herself, she's a narcissist. If a man does the same, he's describing the human condition."


mmmmm interesting...@n


This is why I'm only reading female authors for a year. :)

(And when my year is up in June, I might never go back to male authors)


@klemay Ohh I like the idea of reading only female authors for a year! I should give that a try in 2014.


@klemay It's been really lovely! My regret is that I did not blog about it... so if you're up to the task, you totally should (and drop the link in the comments on an open thread or something)!


I'm sure it's an interesting book, but the phrase "a book of women talking about the processes of becoming themselves" just made me want to go lie down for the rest of the day.

Maybe I'll click on your link tomorrow.


If you are heterosexual are you really condemned to spend the rest of your life complicit in your own suppression? Yikes.


I'm also advised of something Gloria Gould said once - "If a lady creates about herself, she is a narcissist. If a man does the same, he's explaining the individual situation." Angel Jackets

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