TITLE: By the Book
GENRE: Women's Fiction
Susan Finkel attributed her sex education to Lady Chatterley's Lover, not that she'd read beyond page twenty-seven. Two copies purchased in 1964, two copies snatched by her mother and ripped to shreds. Allowance money saved for the forbidden. Assets more successfully squandered on McDonald's French
fries frizzled in lard and devoured away from Leah's watchful eye. And so it was, at age thirteen, Holly had no choice but to turn to the Talmud to learn the ins and outs of intercourse, and how to handle such marital calamities as halitosis and overwhelmingly large breasts. Not that either of these maladies could be ascribed to her.
She read voraciously, constantly studying the legitimacy of sexual pleasure, perusing this material again and again over the years, working her way from apprentice to master as her appreciation ripened. Always eager to display her knowledge, she talked nonstop to almost anyone who would listen, and when she entered her senior year at Boston University, she was ready for her first paid gig. At least that's how she felt one sleepless night after seeing a flyer announcing an upcoming symposium, Contemporary Applications of Biblical and Talmudic Wisdom. Twenty-five bucks for each of three abstracts accepted; how could she resist?
Now, two days away from her debut, she worried about fainting on stage or, worse yet, speaking before an empty auditorium. What if people preferred smoking dope at an anti-war rally over an event promising sponge cake and rugelach? Even her lover had turned her down.