Affection: An Erotic Memoir Book Review

September 20th, 10   •   Posted by Mistress Kay   •   No Comment
Affection: An Erotic Memoir

Front cover

Affection: An Erotic Memoir is a book published by Seal Press. It’s written by Krissy Kneen about her life and childhood as a sexual person. It’s a softcover book that is about eight inches tall and five inches across. It has plain black and white pages on the inside that read like regular novel pages. The book released in September 2010, so it’s still a pretty new book. (Okay, really new.)  This book has 314 pages and those pages are split into 67 different chapters. (Yes, 67. This means that each chapter averages a little less than five pages.) The front cover shows an artsy picture of a woman’s front lower half of her body including her stomach, vagina, and legs. The shading is such that nothing is really visible. It says “Affection: An Erotic Memoir” on the front, but I still had no problem taking this in to work to read it as long as I kept the front cover hidden from sight.

The basic premise of this book is that it’s a memoir of Krissy Kneen’s life. That’s why I’m really reluctant to review it – who am I to say whether her life was exciting or good or not? However, as she wrote a book about it, I suppose when something is put into print for mass publishing, it’s something that somebody wants enjoyed. The best way for me to summarize this is to give you the description from the back cover:

“Affection follows the path of Kneen’s life journey, from the compulsive sexual self-exploration of her childhood to her experiences as a young woman for whom the world is a sexual playground. Brave and honest in her assessment of her own sexual addictions, Kneen succeeds in satisfying her needs.” In my words, we basically follow Krissy and learn about her life growing up, her current marriage to her husband when she’s 40, and her life as a young college adult.

The book likes to jump – as you noticed from before, the book’s chapter average at about 5 pages long, so they aren’t exactly long. I’m not sure why the author chose to have such small chapters, but she did. The words (as a sidenote) are also pretty spaced out – like the book is in double-spaced format, so the book only really ends up being about 220 pages of what would be a normal book. As I was saying – the book jumps. We go back and forth from the start of her childhood to how she’s doing currently in her 40s and in marriage. The 40s timeline stays stable, but we follow the childhood timeline from about 5 years old up to 25 (it never actually says an age.) This can make the book a bit hard to follow a times, but I think it was a neat way to keep the book more interesting.

I’m not arguing that the book is pretty good for a memoir – because it is. I’ve read so many books that are about the author’s life that bore the crap out of me. This one, while not amazingly exciting, didn’t exactly bore me either. The frank way in which Kneen approaches her own sex life kept it being exciting and fresh.

However, this book didn’t read like an erotic novel – which is one of my main qualms with the book. When it says “An Erotic Novel”, I expect something that is like some soft-core adult action which is included to arouse throughout the book. While there was sexual action, and sometimes it was detailed, it wasn’t arousing. It wasn’t the author’s writing – it was the circumstances that Kneen was in. The entire book read like an addiction to sex – which is really what she did have. And as a serious mental condition that was causing her life to go into a downward spiral, it’s kinda hard to find any of the sex scenes arousing in the slightest. All I kept thinking was “No! You shouldn’t be doing this! Get help!”

I had a hard time considering this a sexual addiction too, less I be a hypocrite. Sometimes it seems like doctor’s diagnose a woman who just enjoys a lot of sex as having an addiction just because it’s odd in our society. However, she really did. She’d find things erotic about everyday life and would imagine sleeping with random strangers. Her need to have sex overwhelmed her idea of safety, and she even stayed with tons of partners just for the sex when they were verbally abusive. Abuse and an addiction paired with descriptive sex just doesn’t make something erotic for me.

I learned in English class when I was younger that all stories should follow a certain formula – an introduction, then a build-up of details that all revolve around solving some sort of problem, then the climax where the problem is solved and we get a satisfying conclusion. I know this book is a memoir and all, but I feel like it didn’t follow that formula, and I have a feeling that it’s part of the reason why I didn’t find it as enjoyable as I could have. For example, when we have flashbacks to her past, we watch her go down a very downward spiral until she’s basically at the very bottom – and then it jumps back to the present and ends the book. It pissed me off. We never got to find out if she got help, if she went to treatment, if she really thought she had a problem at that point. Instead, we jump back to the present where the author spends the last ten pages of the book talking about how she now loves her body and wants to be with her husband. It’s kinda a “what in the world” moment – I just feel like, as a reader, I was expecting a much more filled-out ending that didn’t leave me feeling completely unfulfilled.

I also had a slight problem with all of the body comparisons during the book. It’s her own memoir, so I can’t complain too much about that, but the author spent a majority of the book comparing herself to little skinny girls. This was probably exaserbated by the fact that she continued to sleep with men who would always tell her that she just wasn’t pretty enough for a relationship – but the body-hating throughout 310 pages of the book made me feel really sorry for her. But like I stated above, within the last ten pages she decided she loved her body. The ending was just too abrupt for me and made me longing for a better understanding of the character.

However, this isn’t a bad book – I just feel like it’s mistitled. Something like “My Life With Sexual Addiction” better suits the book because that’s basically what it was. I didn’t find the story erotic in an arousing sense at all, and I found myself feeling sorry for the character the entire book. As a memoir for sexual addiction, it does a good job. As a memoir intended for erotic purposes, not so much. However, the author does give a good, in-depth look into her past sex including her discovery of her sexuality. Thank you to Seal Press for sending me Affection to review, and if you would like to buy your own copy, Amazon has copies of Affection: An Erotic Memoir.




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