Susan Johnson’s poetic language took me a little by surprise and to be honest, rather put me off to start with. I’m not a natural born romantic and the one time in my life I was asked to write a love letter – in an airport as we were about to part after a romantic getaway together – I floundered completely. That may have been the bad timing. Nevertheless, sentences such as ‘Everything is coming together: the past, the future, memory, forgetting. A circumstantial joining, a burst, a throb.’ threw me a little. However, as Johnson drifts into less metaphysical experiences, her language becomes more prosaic.
Book review: My Hundred Lovers by Susan Johnson
I’m not sure what I was expecting of My Hundred Lovers. Some salacious, juicy tales and a few life lessons in love perhaps. However, My Hundred Lovers is so much more than that and as a result, is a delight of a book.
My Hundred Lovers is an erotic journey. I don’t mean just the sensuality of flesh on flesh, but the eroticism of sensation. The taste of wine on the tongue, the feel of soft mud between your toes, the kiss of the ocean on the skin. All of them stimulating and sensual, sensations that you delight in and yearn for when they’ve been and gone. Feelings such as this are of the sort everyone can relate to, even if we don’t recognise them in the way that Johnson describes. Some of her ‘loves’ reminded me a little of the start of the film Amelie and the character descriptions that include loves and hates, like the feeling of dipping your hand into a sack of dried legumes. I do enjoy that sensation myself, as I enjoy exquisitely fine dark chocolates and the feeling of freshly clean skin. If I were to write of my hundred lovers, those are the sorts of sensations I might include.
My Hundred Lovers is a beautiful, sensual tour through the photo album of one woman’s memories. It was a delightful, easy read that tingles your mind to think about the erotic moments of your own life. I found I kept putting the book down at the end of chapters to contemplate what Johnson had written and think about similar experiences I might have had. In this way, it is not only a visit to one women’s sensual life journey, but an invitation to look back on your own life and smile at all the pleasurable moments you have enjoyed.
I hate to bring this up as a comparison, but to all my girlfriends who have read 50 Shades of Grey – pick this book up instead. Here is genuine erotica at its subtle suggestive best.