Picks and Pans Review: Making Love: An Erotic Odyssey

updated 11/02/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/02/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Richard Rhodes

This is a sad, beautifully written memoir by a Pulitzer prizewinning author (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) who unfortunately suffers from a skewed sense of what is appropriate. Rhodes's book errs not in its graphic, often febrile re-creation of sexual memories but in presenting the material in the context of "verity," a term the author invokes in his introduction.

Rhodes intends Making Love to be as candid a report as his last book, A Hole in the World, which amplified his experiences of child abuse. However, A Hole in the World has political and social implications; it brings to light a much hidden pervasive malady, whereas Making Love is an account of how the author healed his damaged soul through healthy sexual experience.

And yet, all we really get is a catalog of episodes—some of them, admittedly, highly charged. If this were fiction, the past would, by necessity, have to be given a lot more explanation. The reader might then be more compassionate and accepting of what often is very strong and, at times, off-putting material: the minutiae of Rhodes's masturbation, his forays into video sex, anecdotes from Extended Sexual Orgasm (a book he coauthored). In fiction, at least, one feels the comfort of being able to reject a character without feeling that one is rejecting the author. (Simon and Schuster, $18)"

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