Five Things About... Vladimir by Julia May Jones

First of all, I liked that this book focused on the sexuality of a middle-aged woman who was starting to grapple with the implications of really aging. At thirty-eight I do occasionally wonder what this phase of life will be like, so I appreciated the glimpse. There was a level of physical insecurity that the narrator constantly battled, which I think runs counter to this popular assumption that women after a certain age often "let themselves go." 

I tend to enjoy the academia trope, which this definitely unders. The narrator, her husband, and her object of desire are all professors and much of the background is set at a college in upstate New York. 

While I can see how some might criticize the narrator's voice, it is uniquely hers. She is deeply flawed and makes some very poor decisions, yet there's an honesty there that I at least found interesting. She really is embodying this sort of stereotype that has been created about many male professors- she's pretentious, she's opinionated, and she's egotistical. Her husband is all of this and more, so in order to survive in her marriage and at the college she works at she's become this way as a defensive maneuver. 

I appreciated the look into an unconventional marriage; it's not open... but it's not closed. Granted her husband takes advantage of this (and some of his students) more than she does, but she agrees to it and is vocal about that. There are a lot of issues between the two of them, but deep down there is love and I think that as a society we are just now slowly coming round to the idea that marriage means different things to different people. My husband and I are faithful, but there are things about our relationship that others raise their eyes at (separate bank accounts, I didn't change my name, he doesn't generally travel with us, etc...), so I like the idea of embracing more progressive moves. 

The last fifty pages are ridiculous. I mean, they're entertaining as hell, but things get a little crazy and I don't know if all the plot choices were the right ones. 

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