Love Junkie by Rachel Resnick is a brave, compelling memoir/confessional of the author's decades of seeking love and finding chaos and hot sex with damaged men within destructive, degrading, dangerous relationships. I couldn't put this book down.
I've had my wild times in the past and made some bad choices, but I always loved my men caring and my sex gentle. Resnick made me hold my breath as she pummeled me verbally and emotionally with graphic tales of rough sex with damaged, controlling men -- men who filled her vagina without ever filling her desperate need to be loved and valued.
Rachel Resnick grew up with a mother who was a drunk and picked up strangers in bars, her 11-year-old daughter drawing on paper placemats until mom was ready to go home, the man-of-the-night following in his own vehicle so he could make a quick escape the next morning. Her father had left when she was four.
As a child, she admitted her crush on a boy who responded by punching her in the stomach and hissing, "Don't you ever come near me again, ever." She took that painful contact as proof that he was destined to love her, and pursued him. So went the story of her adult dating life, too.
Resnick's needy yearning ("a shadowy choke hold") drove her life and relationships from one wrong man to another. She would do anything to please a man and make him love her -- which of course drove him away or brought out the worst in him. She obsessively sent e-mail after e-mail to the man she craved: "If it took fifty e-mails of justifications and explanations, late-night drive-overs and I'm-sorry blow jobs, sign me up," she writes about one such obsession.
Other reviewers have described Love Junkie as a train wreck -- you know you should avert your eyes and keep going, but you can't help staring at every bloody detail. I never felt like a voyeur reading it -- I felt involved, a part of the story, wishing I could pull my friend Rachel away from her own need and the men who degraded her. I wanted to talk some sense into her, help her turn her life around, let her know that love is possible, but first she has to look inside and get help to repair the damage.
I'm relieved that she comes to this understanding herself, committing to a 12-step program for people who are out of control around sex and love. Love Junkie is riveting reading, highly recommended.
(photo of Rachel Resnick)