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Love Junkie: A Memoir of Love and Sex Addiction by Rachel Resnick
By William Leith
23.01.09 [Online Version]

In this rather gripping book, Rachel Resnick tells us about her addiction to unsuitable men.

She goes for guys who are rude or abusive, who won't commit, who drink or take drugs — guys, in other words who will cause her emotional heartache, at the very least. When she meets them, she thinks they're lovely — and then they turn out to be nuts. And then Resnick wonders if she, too, is nuts. (She is, sort of, which is the point of the book.) After she splits up with one of these terrible guys, what does she do? She finds another.

"In the beginning," she tells us, "Spencer was perfection." Even "though he looked menacing with his wide-set blue eyes, shaved head, and steroidal physique, he was the biggest teddy bear". Spencer, though, is no teddy bear — he likes the idea of drinking turtle's blood.

He loves the smell of skunks. He believes he is ultra-masculine, and that his sperm are super-fit. "I can get a rock pregnant," he says.

When somebody takes his parking space one too many times, he punctures all four of the car's tyres.

Resnick tells us about some of her other lovers. There's Eddie, who might be the scariest of all. She is with Eddie for "two screamingly long years". On the first date, he tells her he's a convicted felon, having committed several robberies. "Mostly convenience stores, for smack money," he says. Resnick is entranced — as she puts it, both unsettled and excited. "The first kiss is so powerful," she tells us, "he literally stumbles back toward the stairs." Bang! There it is — "the instant superjolt we love junkies look for".

Life with Eddie, of course, is both exhilarating and horrifying — as, we realise by now, is life with Resnick. They are both full-on sex machines, as well as being weak and lovelorn.

Eddie, it turns out, has a strangely shaped penis, to go along with his strangely shaped psyche. He is always challenging. He jerks off in her car. He spends his money on "hookers, exotic pets, costly watches, custom-made clothes, travel, gambling, and pharmaceutical-grade codeine". He also likes threesomes.

Why, then, does this intelligent, highly sensitive woman have a weakness for men who treat her so appallingly? She tells us about her childhood, and it's not pretty. Her father left her mother when she was very young; her mother liked to hang out in bars and get drunk. She, too, had a weakness for unsuitable men, and hanged herself when Resnick was a teenager.

Meanwhile, Resnick's father remarried, was often cold, and also slightly creepy. "Truth is, Rachel," he says, "I love you. And I hate you." This is the backdrop, Resnick believes, that "unleashed & a typhoon of anger that I think drove me deeper into the arms of undesirable, dangerous men". Having been given weird, inconsistent love by her parents, she is drawn to the same type of love, again and again. It is all she knows. That is, until she attends a "support group for love junkies" and meets another type of lover — this time, a woman. It's a great ending to a brave, well-told account. Towards the end, she kisses her new girlfriend. "And damn," she tells us, "if it wasn't as hot as with any man."

Synopsis by

Love Junkie is the story of Rachel Resnick's dangerous addiction to sex and love. An addiction that has cost her in horrible ways throughout the course of her life - from the time she rear-ended a family van on the freeway because she was obsessively speed-dialing her lover's phone, to when she blew the deadline on her first major newspaper assignment. Love Junkie charts Rachel Resnick's harrowing amotional journey from addiction to intimacy, from despair to hope, and the men - the worst kind of men - who accompanied her on it. It is a groundbreaking and compulsively readable memoir that cracks open one of the more elusive and pervasive addictions of our time. Written with raw humour and unflinching honesty, it is the story of coming to terms with your past in order to be able to map out a different kind of future.

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