I don’t feature nearly enough non-fiction on Linda’s Book Bag, so I’m delighted to welcome Rosie Wilby, author of Is Monogamy Dead? today. Rosie has kindly written a guest piece explaining how she came to write Is Monogamy Dead? and there is a UK exclusive video clip for you to watch. I have my review too.
Is Monogamy Dead? will be published by Accent Press on 3rd August 2017 and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
Is Monogamy Dead?
In early 2013, comedian Rosie Wilby found herself at a crossroads with everything she’d ever believed about romantic relationships. When people asked, ‘who’s the love of your life?’ there was no simple answer. Did they mean her former flatmate who she’d experienced the most ecstatic, heady, yet ultimately doomed, fling with? Or did they mean the deep, lasting companionate partnerships that gave her a sense of belonging and family? Surely, most human beings need both.
Mixing humour, heartache and science, Is Monogamy Dead? details Rosie’s very personal quest to find out why Western society is clinging to a concept that doesn’t work that well for some of us and is laden with ambiguous assumptions.
A Personal View
A Guest Post by Rosie Wilby
I’ve been taking solo comedy shows to Edinburgh Fringe for a decade and it has always been important to me to make people think and create a bit of discussion as well as to entertain. So, to me, the serious, provocative questions I like to ask about how we live in the modern world go hand in hand with comedy. With comedy, you can get away with digging more deeply because you’re sugar coating it with humour. It makes tricky ideas way more accessible.
I decided to write the book Is Monogamy Dead? as a very personal investigation, journey and quest whilst I was at the LAMBDA writers’ retreat at University of Southern California last July. We had to write a piece to perform at a showcase at the end of the week at a wonderful bohemian arts centre, Beyond Baroque near Venice Beach.
I decided that recounting my own somewhat inept attempt to rediscover my sexuality on a visit to a lesbian sauna would illustrate just how awkward we humans are around sex and connection and how sometimes we actually really might prefer a chat and a cuppa…
For a fabulous video clip of Rosie in action, please click here.
My review of Is Monogamy Dead?
I don’t read much non-fiction so Is Monogamy Dead? was such a different read for me and not one during which I always felt entirely comfortable. At times, reading Rosie Wilby’s very personal exploration of her own sexuality and her desire for intimacy on all levels, not just a sexual one, made me feel as if I had been very blase, unthinking and uncaring about others. I really had no idea about the real difficulties encountered by lesbian or bi-sexual women. Of course I had some inclination, but Rosie Wilby writes with such raw honesty and not infrequent self-effacing humour (I loved that Rosie was only a73% match for her own profile on a dating website, for example) that I feel I understand all members of society far better as a result of reading Is Monogamy Dead? It didn’t cross my mind that my unthinking acceptance of my gay and lesbian friends might actually undermine their sense of identity, for example.
There’s so much about humanity in Is Monogamy Dead? and I’ll never throw out the broken biscuits from the bottom of the tin in future without a slight feeling of unease!
I must admit I found the passages relating to Rosie directly, rather than those with a more overtly sociological element more engaging. That said, Is Monogamy Dead? has all the hallmarks of any good writing, being intelligent, clear and incredibly interesting with mini cliff hangers at the end of each chapter to draw the reader into the next part of the book. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of a new vocabulary to describe relationships with a range of partners and I’d never heard of breadcrumbing before although I’m sure it’s something many people do every day! I found Rosie’s reactions to her partners, her friends and, especially her Mum, very moving at times too.
There’s so much to think about in Is Monogamy Dead? I hadn’t ever considered what counts as infidelity beyond the accepted sexual relationships that we would all recognise and it was this aspect of the book that I found so thought provoking. Rosie Wilby really made me step back and reassess my views of life. I had wondered whether Is Monogamy Dead? would be the self-indulgent musings of a celebrity, but instead it is a well researched, well written and thought provoking treatise on how we interact as humans, regardless of sexuality in a modern world. I feel enriched having read it.
About Rosie Wilby
Rosie Wilby has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Summer Nights, Four Thought, Midweek, The Human Zoo and Woman’s Hour and at festivals including Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Green Man, Larmer Tree and Latitude. She was a finalist at Funny Women 2006 and Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2007 and she’s been touring award-winning solo shows and steadily building a word-of-mouth army of fans ever since.
Her writing has been published in The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman and more. Her first book Is Monogamy Dead? will be published by Accent Press in August 2017 and follows her TEDx talk of the same name. She was a runner up in the 2014 Mslexia memoir competition and the only UK writer selected for the 2016 LAMBDA writers’ retreat at the University of Southern California.
She co-hosts Radio Diva on Resonance FM alongside Heather Peace and has presented for BBC Sussex and Surrey. Her award-winning show The Science Of Sex was programmed by New York City’s Fresh Fruit Festival 2013. She has also performed in Los Angeles and at Sydney Mardi Gras.
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