Bill Ragett rates this book a
9 (Excellent) and says:
I just finished They Neighbor's Wife--and it instantly became one of my favorite
Extremely well researched and well written, I heartily recommend it to anyone
interested in the possibilities of moving beyond socially accepted
Actually at first I found myself being angry at Talese--but I soon realized it was
because I wanted more information--the book ends in the late 70's and I desperately
wanted to hear the further adventures of many of the main characters--what has happened
to john and Barbara--how did the writing of the book effect Talese's marriage, what is
Hefner up to now that he is in his 60s (70s)?... Many questions about polyamory, although
well explored in the book, need further reporting.
Talese does a great job of refraining from moralizing--of very objectively reporting
what people felt, thought and did. I noticed this especially because the copy I had at first
was an old paperback in which a previous reader had underlined favorite lines--mostly
reflecting their more prurient philosophy--not agreeing with Talese--but with the musings
of one of the characters. Talese has produced a great in depth-review of the sexual
revolution, all the more valuable because he does not moralize.
The second gripe I had at first with the book was that it was
a mish mash of
topics--Hugh Hefner and other skin magazine businessmen, court cases on obscenity, massage
parlors and birth of open marriages and alternative sexual relations. I had wanted to hear
more about the long term effects of open marriages and polyamory and less about the skin
trade--but came to appreciate Talese's research in these fields too--realizing that these
aspects added to an understanding of the sexual revolution.
I just wish now he had written more on the effects of the Sandstone experiment on
the psyches of those involved--what happened to all the folks that participated--later to
form couples and leave.
I also treasure the last chapter, in which Talese describes his own participation in
the 'revolution'--it very clearly shows why he wrote the book and some of its effects on his