Two Star Review

by T.L. Sherwood

It’s my theory that sexual thoughts involving authors are only considered when the authors themselves are exploring intercourse in a section of text. (I mean, I lean hetero, but I would have gone down on Anais Nin.) There are other exceptions, of course, such as James Franco, though some members of my book club have questioned whether Mr. Franco is an actual “author” at all, but as Susie Jacobs is quick to point out, he’s been published so it counts.

Anyways, writers do have sex and write about it, though few express the intimate act well. Before last week, something I hadn’t considered was what a non-writer would say about an author’s prowess. Googling, I found a few instances of non-writers giving voice to their experiences, but when they did, the literati elitists portrayed these onetime partners as petty or jealous when in fact they might have just been telling the truth. As anyone will tell you, the truth does not a good story make.

I was pondering this while staring up at the ceiling in room 408 at a Holiday Inn on Sunday afternoon with J._____ and while it was a passable first-time encounter, I was underwhelmed. As in his novels, I felt the climatic buildup far surpassed the ending.

Not everything was awful. The dialogue prior to the act was slightly amusing but I felt I did most of the work. Quite frankly, J. _____ lacked an understanding of how this reader’s body worked. The thing of it is, anyone familiar with Wikipedia can peruse his page and note the list of his marriages outnumber those of published books. If you Yahoo search his name, a further list of lovers makes a normal person wonder when he has time to write. It also made me marvel at how in the world he wasn’t better equipped to satisfy a woman at first try…

I mean, when he writes, his words flow smoothly. Encountering the literary lion in the flesh though…I saw he was not as fierce as I imagined.

I fell naked into the hotel bed and the situation with the understanding that this would be a one-time thing. As if to disabuse me of this idea, there were two bouts of coitus. The second time was not as bad, but for a disappointing reason: My thoughts were focused on another writer. During the second go—then, and only then—did I find any delight in J.’s _____ performance. The awkwardness and unfamiliar rhythms disappeared when my concentration was on pleasing and being pleased by someone who wasn’t even in the room—or genre. Let me tell you, that was one hell of a brilliantly executed literal and figurative mind fuck.

As to the book…well, this re-release of his first novel isn’t much different from the original so I’d like to caution future users of this man that either way, it’s not worth the $19.99 for a not quite hard second time between the covers.


T.L. Sherwood’s work has appeared in New World Writing, Jellyfish Review, Elm Leaves Journal, Page & Spine, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She lives in Springville, New York, blogs at, and is currently working on a novel.



%d bloggers like this: