Cover image for Ideal marriage
Ideal marriage
Friedman, Peter, 1936-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Sag Harbor, NY : Permanent Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
150 pages ; 23 cm
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It was September 1957. I was sixteen, a junior in high school, and contemplating becoming a gigolo, just for a summer or two in Rome. Unlike the gigolos I had seen in movies, I would be kind to the middle-aged women who kept me. I would be grateful to them, not only for the money I was earning, but for whatever I learned from them that I might later apply with my own wife. And I wouldn't ask for outlandish payment--merely enough to cover my trips, provide a little spending money for college, and add to my savings account for my eventual marriage. So begins Andre Shulman's tale. Like his narrator--and like many teenagers of the 1950s--the author himself was fascinated by the book, Ideal Marriage, written by the Dutch gynecologist Van de Velde. Translated into over forty languages, it was the sex and marriage bible of an entire generation. In this novel, Ideal Marriage stands as one of the central characters, which Andre turns to in quest of a glorious future.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Friedman's slim, puckish first novel chronicles the life of high school student Andre Schulman and his quest to lose his virginity in 1957 New York. Having discovered his parents' copy of H. Van de Velde's 1926 book, Ideal Marriage, 16-year-old Andre takes it as his guide as he navigates the treacherous landscapes of teenage romance and lust. His true love is Jessica, a girl from Massachusetts he meets while she is vacationing with her family in Manhattan. Her return home forces him to practice his seduction techniques on others, including an NYU student and Gloria, a 27-year-old woman he meets during his stint as a pillow salesman at Bloomingdale's. Scenes from Andre's everyday life lend substance to the novel Andre attends a lefty private school and rebuffs the dogged advances of a student Christian association but seldom does Friedman stray from sex. A visit to the dentist inspires erotic musings about the dental hygienist; a school trip to Philadelphia offers an opportunity for fumbling with a classmate in the back of a darkened bus. Friedman's tone is relaxed and humorous, and Andre's first-person narration is intelligent and engagingly self-deprecating ("On rainy days I held only half my umbrella over me, preparing for holding the other half over Jessica"). Gracefully skirting the pitfalls of his well-worn subject matter, Friedman crafts a light, airy novel with charm to spare. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved