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As Featured in Publisher's Weekly

Last updated: 5:14 am
November 23, 2008
Posted: 4:18 am November 23, 2008
[Check out the Online Review]

Nobody grows up hoping to become an alcoholic or a heroin user; people don't sit around thinking of ways to become compulsive eaters or gamblers. But sex addiction? Didn't David Duchovny's stock rise the minute he checked himself into rehab for it? A few weeks ago, Oprah and Gayle argued with Ben Stiller and Chris Rock about whether sex addiction was real or just good fortune! "It sounds like college," Stiller said to loud laughter and wild applause.

They had obviously not read Rachel Resnick's riveting memoir, "Love Junkie," which traces her unbridled, compulsive love affairs and sexual adventures with men who abused and demeaned her at every turn.

Resnick found herself 40 years old, broke, childless and at the edge of the abyss. When her latest ex-boyfriend breaks into her apartment and urinates on her computer, she calls a girlfriend. "What a psycho," the friend says. "Her words comfort me," Resnick writes. "But there's a dull, nagging thought - who's psycho? I picked him, I kept him. I kept him after he began debasing me, just as I kept a lifetime of other men who seduced and then debased. So if he's psycho, aren't I psycho too? There's no way to dress this up and make myself look good in the process."

Resnick decides it's time to take stock, to try to finally get to the root of her problem.

And what a problem it is! Resnick comes to realizes that her mother was the original love junkie, leaving her kids alone at home when she went to bars, bringing home one man after another in her search to feel adored. Resnick learns early not to bother her mother when she's trying to seduce someone.

When her mother takes her along to a bar one afternoon, Resnick gets restless and tells her, "ñ'We've been here since school.' I look at the Miller Time clock, with the pretty beer-gold neon frame. 'It's almost six.' 'I'm talking to someone right now,' she hisses, her pale blue eyes narrowing. When she gets this drunk, her eyes turn into cold blue ice floes."

Resnick's father had left them and married a religious woman who did not like Rachel. She eventually refuses to let Resnick into her home, accusing her husband and his daughter of incest. "Batsheva was wrong," Resnick writes. "There was no incest. But there was a lot of .ñ.ñ. confusion. Blurred boundaries. Acknowledgment of my sexuality, then rejection. Have an apple dipped in honey; you're a filthy little girl."

Resnick writes about her Dickensonian past with no plea for sympathy; she lets the sex stories turn you on, and then riddle you with revulsion. Her self-contempt is at once her strongest suit and her Achilles heel. "At the time I thought this was as good as it got - I thought this was the greatest thing a man could offer me. Friendship? Inconceivable. Marriage? Pure fantasy. But an underwear model who wouldn't love me back? This was - oh, this was pure bliss. Never mind the painful yearning, the sleepless nights that followed his frequent disappearances. Forget about the tears I shed when he blew me off. When he did show up, all that anguish only fed the flame. This had to be love."

If there's a flaw in "Love Junkie," it's Resnick's not-so-cute idea of addressing the reader directly every now and then. It's jolting, but not as much as the high octane stories Resnick chooses to tell.

Love Junkie: A Memoir
by Rachel Resnick

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