The Wild Oats Project
March 17th 2015
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
What if for just one year you explored everything you’d wondered about sex, but hadn’t tried?
The project was simple: An attractive, successful magazine journalist, Robin Rinaldi, would move into a San Francisco apartment, join a dating site, and get laid. Never mind that she already owned a beautiful flat a few blocks away, that she was forty-four, or that she was married to a man she’d been in love with for eighteen years. What followed—a year of sex, heartbreak, and unexpected revelation—is the topic of this riveting memoir, The Wild Oats Project.
I was in a reading slump by the time I got this in the mail a few weeks after the Random House preview. It was one of my anticipated reads, but not because it was about sex (although being described as a Fifty Shades like memoir was definitely intriguing). It was because our presenters mentioned that the author had wondered if this book would be too much. If a story is perceived as being too embarrassing or taboo to share, I often want to read it so I can say, “No, it’s not. Never be frightened by what you should write.” The reality is there aren’t stories we shouldn’t tell. And this particular one cut through my slump. I was finished with it in days and thought about it for weeks.
This isn’t a book about sex. Is there sex? Yes, a lot of it. It’s the kind of sex that would make quite a few people blush actually (I was one of them). However, it isn’t really about sex. It’s about what it means to be a woman in relation to sex (gender roles, expectations, pleasure in relation to the female body, etc.) and how Rinaldi negotiates that throughout the book. It’s about the push and pull of marriage and that sometimes love isn’t enough. It’s about work, compromise, and understanding to let go when you realize that you aren’t the person you once were. It’s about the author dealing with the personal baggage that we all carry with us into relationships and learning to deal with it. It’s about constantly asking yourself what you want out of life, because if you don’t know, you can’t expect others to give you the answer or to substitute it with external sources.
Rinaldi has a knack for writing a truly captivating book and endears herself to reader because of the self awareness she possesses. I often had to hold myself from passing judgement and couldn’t help but repeat over and over again, “Leave your husband. We all know it’s the right thing to do and that you’ll have to eventually.” I felt like I was watching a friend make decisions that I wish I was there to talk her out of, which is a fantastic feeling to elicit from your reader. And I learned more about myself while reading this book than I cared to—self evaluation isn’t always pretty. But it’s nice to take something away from the book despite how deep you lose yourself in it. I think it’s important to check in with yourself to make sure you know what you want and that you don’t let yourself get buried under what others want.
So I want you all to grab this book because you should. Even if you blush easily, I promise you will take from it more than you would have expected. I know I have.