“When I got my hands on Claire Dederer’s new book, I instantly turned off my phone, cancelled all my appointments, curled up in bed, and read all day in grateful — and thoughtful — abandon. As always, I was delighted with what I found in her writing. Dederer is not only a brilliant author, but an honest and brave one, who is not afraid to deep-dive into her own history and her own heart in order to examine what it really means to be a woman right now. Love and Trouble is a book that caused me to think differently about marriage, about intimacy, about middle-age, and especially about what it means to have once been a sexually adventurous teenage girl. I saw myself all over these pages, and think a lot of other readers will, as well.
–Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic
Love and Trouble is a ferociously intelligent, blazingly funny new memoir from the New York Times best-selling author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses.
When Claire Dederer turned 44 she began to have what she describes as “a lot of extremely inconvenient feelings”—feelings of recklessness, of impatience, along with a kind of voluptuous erotic reawakening. After the wildness of youth, and the bliss and captivity of motherhood, she experienced at midlife a sudden yearning for jailbreak. Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning shifts between her present experience as a middle-aged mom in the grip of unruly and mysterious new hungers, and her recollection of herself as a teenager—the last time she experienced life with such heightened sensitivity and longing.
With extraordinary insight, ingenuity and wit, Love and Trouble toggles back and forth between youth and middle age—two vastly different periods that upon examination Dederer discovers are actually uncannily similar in their emotional intensity. From her hilarious chapter titles (“How to Have Sex with Your Husband of 15 Years;” “Recidivist Slutty Tendencies in the pre AIDS Adolescent Female”) to her irresistible voice and formal caprice—a scathing letter to Roman Polanski on the occasion of her daughter’s 13th birthday; a history of ruinous kisses; a geography of Seattle in the 80s; the ABCs of Oberlin (and the girls from Saint Ann’s: “When I left Oberlin I thought I was done with them forever, but it turned out they also edited all the magazines, and wrote all the books”)—Dederer captures the perils and pleasures of girlhood, womanhood, and life itself.
“Love and Trouble is unlike any memoir I’ve ever read: formally inventive and wise, have-to-put-the-book-down funny yet somehow tinged with grief. And the sentences! They simply sing. I’ve never thought so deeply, or in so many different modes, about my own sexuality, femininity, and motherhood. Though I don’t mean to suggest that this is a book just for women—I kept reading passages aloud to my husband, as a way of asking him to understand something essential about me, and about himself, and about marriage in general. I began reading Love and Trouble thinking Dederer was writing about herself; halfway through I decided she was writing about me. By the time I finished I realized she’d written to me, and to my daughters—to all of us.”
–Jamie Quatro, author of I Want to Show You More
“In equal parts hilarious and haunting, Love and Trouble captures the ways in which our past selves are never really past. In loose, edgy, confident prose, Claire Dederer peels back layer after layer of herself as an erotic creature, and in so doing, has crafted a book that grabs the reader in an utterly visceral way. This is an exciting, daring memoir.”
–Dani Shapiro, best-selling author of Devotion and Slow Motion.