One-Minute Book Reviews

June 27, 2007

Were Holly Peterson’s Cringe-Inducing Sex Scenes Too Much for Newsweek and ABC?

Filed under: Novels — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:49 pm
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Where to find the sex scenes in The Manny that Newsweek and ABC won’t show you in their excerpts … the page numbers for the good parts

Why didn’t Newsweek and ABC include any of Holly Peterson’s cringe-inducing sex scenes in The Manny in their online excerpts from the novel? Were their Web editors squeamish about running phrases like “Now she was on her knees” and “like a fire hose”? Were the editors trying to avoid embarrassing the author, a Newsweek contributing editor and former ABC News producer? Or did the publisher of the novel decide not to offer them the passages and hold out for, say, Sixty Minutes?

As noted in yesterday’s review of The Manny, Peterson’s sex scenes are irreproducible on a site with links from public libraries. But that doesn’t have to stop you from checking them out at a bookstore.

Here are the places in Peterson’s new novel about a male nanny where you can find the scenes that Newsweek and ABC don’t show you in their excerpts:

If you believe novelists should remember America’s firefighters even when writing about adulterous sex in a linen closet …
See page 167, the part that begins with “Now she was on her knees …” and ends with “like a fire hose in her expensive mouth.”

If you prefer sex scenes that remind you of the Discovery Channel …
See page 288, especially the line: “He was munching furiously on his prey, like an African lion with a freshly caught zebra.” Guess what part of the body the “prey” is.

If you get undressed in weird ways, too ..
See page 333, including this scene that takes place in bed: “Then he rested his head on his elbow and started unbuttoning my shirt … He pulled my arms in the air and peeled off my shirt.” Wait a minute, you’re probably thinking. If the shirt had buttons, why did he pull her arms in the air? Isn’t that how you would take off a T-shirt? If the guy was dying for sex, wouldn’t he just slip the shirt off her shoulders? Was it maybe a polo or other shirt with only a few buttons? If so, why didn’t Peterson say so instead of always leaving you scratching you head about what’s going on in these sex scenes? Sorry, but if you have to ask, you clearly don’t run with the Park Avenue elite who are the focus of The Manny. I don’t get it, either, but this seems to be another of those Fitzgeraldian examples of how the rich are different. As the woman in the scene says later, “It was never like this with anyone.” Definitely not.

A review of The Manny and a Totally Unauthorized Reading Group Guide to the novel were posted on One-Minute Book Reviews on June 26, 2007 I can’t link directly to the Newsweek and ABC excerpts, but you can find the same excerpt at Click on the links for The Manny on the Random House home page, then click on “Read an excerpt.” Holly Peterson has a page on My Space ( that you can find by going to and searching for “hollypetersonthemanny.”

Janice Harayda is an award-winning critic who has been the book columnist for Glamour, the book editor of the Plain Dealer and a vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle. She administers the Delete Key Awards for the year’s worst writing in books, handed out annually on March 15 . The top three awards in this year’s Delete Key competition went Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s ChildrenFor One More Day (first runner-up), Mitch Albom’s For One More Day (second runner-up) and Danielle Steel’s Toxic Bachelors (grand prize winner). Submit your nominations for a special beach books edition of the Delete Key Awards, to be announced later this summer, by leaving a comment on One-Minute Book Reviews.

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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