[I'm mining my review archives as I work on promo for my new release. But if you missed this book, do get yourself a copy! ~Lisabet]
ROCK MY SOCKS OFF by Jeremy Edwards
Accent Press, 2010
At times, sex is the mirror of the soul. Sexual congress can be a spiritual experience, an act of rebellion, an expression of need or an existential confrontation with one's own mortality. The erotic genre explores the multi-layered nature of desire―its meaning for the individual and for society. Erotica can be inspiring, enlightening, shocking or educational.
Sometimes, though, it's just plain fun. Jeremy Edwards' novel ROCK MY SOCKS OFF is a prime example.
ROCK MY SOCKS OFF is a breezy tale featuring a brilliant, gorgeous and unrelentingly horny astronomy professor named Normandie Stephens. (“My parents called me Brittany, and when I turned sixteen in a sea of other young Brittanys, I said 'Fuck this' and swapped it for the next French province over.”) If there were a Nobel Prize for lust, Normandie would win hands down. Jacob Hastings is the lucky journalist who catches Normandie's eye at a grad student party and eventually wins her heart (with many and varied clinches along the way). Normandie desperately wants tenure―almost as much as she wants Jacob―and over the course of the book they concoct a half-way accidental scheme that wins her national acclaim, almost destroys her career, and brings them into contact (and I use the term advisedly) with a collection of other equally randy characters. These include Normandie's department head Kate (a savvy and salacious bisexual cougar) , Jacob's photographer Susan (superficially shy but with a deep appreciation of the erotic―at both a professional and personal level) and the dumb but charismatic dance club god Brandon.
There's a lot of sex in the this book. In fact the thin plot has little function other than to provide the sexual superstructure. This is clearly intentional rather than an artistic flaw. I have read other examples of Mr. Edwards work and I know he produce a realistic story with non-trivial conflicts if he has a mind to. ROCK MY SOCKS OFF is a romp with a capital R. Everyone gets off, all the time, in a wide range of environments including in the traditional utility closet, on the department chair's desk, at a roadside rest area and in the audience of a TV game show. All the while, Jacob and Normandie engage in witty repartee, emphasizing the fact that Jacob is as enamored of Normandie's prodigious intelligence as he is of her pert ass.
In some ways, this book reminds me of classic Victorian erotica like The Pearl. It is pure wish fulfillment. No one is ever too tired to fuck. No one ever gets jealous. There's enough cock and pussy for everyone. Normandie is an educated man's dream (well, she'd be my dream if I were an educated man!): articulate, self-confident, funny and horny, with a streak of mischief a mile wide and a huge wardrobe of candy-colored bikini panties that are perpetually damp.
Curiously, my most serious complaint about this book relates to the sex scenes. They are frequent but often very short, a paragraph or two. Not only are they brief but they are also short on detail, emotional or physical. There's little time to build up tension. When a character itches, he or she scratches―or gets a partner to do so.
The characters are revealed almost entirely through their conversation. We rarely if ever get a glimpse into their minds or hearts. Even Jacob, the point of view character for most of the book, rarely shows us more than his whole-hearted appreciation for Normandie.
On the plus side, I liked the fact that sex in this tale means more than just fucking. In Mr. Edward's fictional world, sex is a whole body experience. Oral sex, groping or kissing can be just as satisfying as whole hog penetration. Probably half the sex scenes involve something other than intercourse. Furthermore, the characters enjoy bringing each other off almost as much as they like coming themselves. Not every scene is symmetric and that's just fine with everyone involved.
If Jacob Hastings reflects his creator at all (and I suspect that he does), Mr. Edwards really adores women. Jacob is not in the least submissive, but he's almost awed by Normandie and willing to let her take the lead. He has a healthy attraction to other women as well, which Normandie encourages. She's smart and experienced enough to know that his attitude is rare and precious.
'You're not a little boy who's trying to compete with me, and you're not a big boy who's trying to own me, and you're not a selfish boy who wants me to just shut up and fuck. ...Do you realise how special that makes you?'
Mr. Edwards paints a delightful picture of a relationship grounded on mutual respect and mutual horniness. The result is satisfaction for all, including the reader.
If you're looking for deep insights or revelations, don't buy this book. On the other hand, if you're in search of some good-natured, cheeky entertainment, I recommend it highly.