By Jane Vandenburgh
Jane Vandenburgh's existence started commonly sufficient. Born into "a convinced type of family"—affluent, white, Protestant—she got here of age in the course of a time whilst the sexual revolution used to be sweeping our cultural panorama. Her father, an architect with a renowned la company, was once arrested a number of instances for being in homosexual bars in the course of the Fifties. He was once despatched to a health facility to be "cured" of his homosexuality; he dedicated suicide whilst she used to be 9. Her mom was once a Bohemian who believed that she used to be glamorous and proficient and will write her personal ideas for how she lived her existence. confident that she was once being persecuted for being "unconventional," she misplaced her brain and was once despatched to a psychological medical institution. Vandenburgh and her brothers have been raised by way of kin in an prosperous suburb within the San Fernando Valley, a spot the place medications, intercourse, and generalized performing out have been the waves of social swap that have been simply hitting the seashores the place they spent each weekend. Quirky and impressive, A Pocket historical past of intercourse within the 20th Century is an engaging mix of memoir and cultural revelation.
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Extra info for A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century: A Memoir
Buck up, dear, we all must buck up now, mustn’t we? she says, but she isn’t looking at Yvonne. Instead, she is fiddling with the rearview mirror. We’re in the Nash, so everything needs adjustment, as she is only that moment noticing. Everything needs adjustment because our father, who was so tall, was the last one to drive this car. This day he’s evidently driven our mother’s new blue and white one to the office. Our mother sighs hugely, theatrically, at the arduousness of everything, what with .
I never see this car, but still I nod with my brothers and act as if I get her jokes, the one about Marge being his right-hand man and so forth. I know this is a joke the way our new house is a joke: She chose it because Salisbury Court was a dead-end street. Dead. End. Street. Words like these now come freighted with all kinds of important meaning. Dead-end street now rhymes, in our mother’s musical, comedic mind, with sets of threes and with Pickering. W Without my mother’s aid or governance, my brothers and I make up schedules for ourselves that we then struggle to follow.
15 A pocket history of sex Houston and Dallas are only now being invented, but our mother already despises them, hates Texas, hates anywhere Becket, who is our father’s boss, wants to send him to make another city. It is Welton Becket and Associates, our mother says, who is responsible for building the same ugly place Los Angeles is turning out to be. Like Mr. Disney’s Tomorrowland, it is crappy, tinny, junky. Becket’s offices are on the Miracle Mile, right next to the La Brea Tar Pits. When we drive down Wilshire to take our dad to work, he shudders as we pass beneath the shadows of the new glass-faced office buildings—it’s his half-fake shudder, at once real and not real.