“Laid” Book Review

November 14th, 10   •   Posted by Mistress Kay   •   No Comment
Laid

The book "Laid"'s cover

Laid is a book published by Seal Press that includes the tagline “Young People’s Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture”. The author who put together the book is Shannon T. Boodram. The book is a softcover book and includes 302 pages which is divided into 5 different chapters. The text is relatively large and easy to read, and the entire book took me about four hours to read from cover-to-cover. The front of the book shows a foil-wrapped something with the words “Laid” on it in big letters as well as the tagline. The back just shows praise. The front is a bit obvious as to what this book is about, but at the same time, if anyone bothers to look farther, it’s going to look like a research book because of the tagline, so you shouldn’t have to worry about people thinking you’re a weirdo reading erotica in public.

While you might think this is just a book with the author talking about what she feels are the big contributors to teenage sexuality, that’d be wrong. I love that Shannon took this book in a whole different direction. Instead of just being a book of preaching, Shannon instead found teenagers who wrote their honest accounts of the topics inside of this book. There are over 40 stories. Basically, this book is just a large book of stories given by teenagers about the topics included in this book with Shannon only making commentary at the beginning and end of each chapter.

The topics covered in this book make perfect sense. There’s a chapter on hooking up, a chapter on sex that’s pleasurable, a chapter on pregnancy/STIs, a chapter on rape, and a chapter on abstaining from sex. Shannon makes a note in her introduction about the rape chapter. She states that book publishers rejected her book because the rape chapter was too negative – she says that’s the point, rape is negative. The entire book (and the chapter contents) are all written very honestly, and while the stories were edited so you won’t read anything that looks like it came straight from IM, all of the writer’s voices are different and honest in their own way. Most of the stories seem to come from people who are 15-22.

The stories usually come without any sort of “lesson” or anything like that. Boodram says she asked the writers to tell their complete and honest story without including “lessons learned” or conclusions. She wants the reader to draw their own conclusions. This means that the story is sometimes left cut off short, but it usually isn’t noticable. As an interesting mention, Shannon did encourage the writers to submit in whatever format they liked, so some of the stories are in poetry while the majority are in prose.

This book is made with a couple different features in mind. At the beginning of each chapter, Shannon Boodram talks about what is contained in the chapter and why she chose to include this chapter. She talks about why it’s important to sexuality as well. At the end of each chapter is a “Questions and Answers” portion where the author posed questions to the writers in the chapter that average readers might be curious about. For example “How did you know you were a lesbian?” or “Did being raped change the rest of your sexual life?” The answers are short and succinct, but it was nice to read their opinions on some of the questions. After the Questions and Answers section, there’s a “Activity” which you, the reader, are supposed to do to help drive in the importance of the point made by the writer’s stories. The activities are really easy – one’s a checklist, another asks you to rate things in terms of importance, and another is a quiz.

Really, though, the meat of this book (I’d say about 240 of the 300 pages) is all about the stories. Each story is honest, told from both females and males, and written in the format of the writer’s choice. I was honestly glued to this book from when I started reading. Each story is different in its own way, and I liked being able to read honest accounts of sexuality instead of something fudged. It’s a new way to present sexual issues – instead of just someone lecturing, you get to read interesting stories that help let you know what those experiences are like – and if you want to do something like hooking up.

While I wouldn’t call this a sex ed book, I’d still highly highly recommend this for anyone who is considering having sex or has a sex life. (Or adults who are looking to understand a teenage modern viewpoint on sex.) It’s not a comprehensive guide to sex, but the author does mention things like waiting until you’re ready, using protection, and avoiding STIs. But the author doesn’t judge. She says that she just wants the best for the reader and the text of the book shows that. It’s not a comprehensive guide, but it’s still an amazing book about stories of average-life teenagers who happened to get themselves into good (or bad) situations. Thanks to Seal Press for sending me a copy to review, and if you want your own copy, you can pick one up at Amazon. More book information (including the trailer and other places to purchase it) for the book is on the Seal Press website.




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