1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A cathartic self-wallowing,
This review is from: Sixteen, Sixty-One (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book because I thought it would have parallels with my own experience: in my case, I had just turned seventeen, and he was sixty three when we met. But there the parallels end, apart from the coincidence that, like Natalie, my sexagenarian topped the Authonomy rankings and is a published writer. Unlike Natalie and Matthew, ours wasn't an abusive relationship, and we are now very happily married.
I think this book falls into the trap of being more about self-therapy than art. It churns out grief and bitterness from the start, and bitterness never supports creativity. It certainly isn't, as the title suggests, about age-difference, because sado-masochism and manipulation are not age-related. And the biggest problem with a `memoir' of this nature is that we only read one side of the story, and see only the letters and emails that Natalie chooses to publish. I was unconvinced by her account of many events.
I never got the impression that Natalie ever loved Matthew. For her, it was always a game, a daring experiment, and those who play with fire usually get burned. BDSM relationships are rarely loving ones: they are all about power and submission, and Natalie knew what she was doing. She plays the victim card too often for it to be believable
Looking at the technical aspects of the book, I do wish that the editor had told Natalie that the participle of `sit' is `sitting' and not `sat', which occurs several times, or that using different type-faces for emphasis is akin to shouting instead of persuading: it doesn't work. I also found the American travelogue section boring and lazy, and found myself skipping most of it. It contributed nothing to the storyline. Some of the mundane emails (e.g. job applications) which were re-printed in full, also served no purpose, and were an irritation.
I'm sorry that Natalie had such a bad experience, and that Matthew's mind games were so nasty, but now that she's got it off her chest, I hope she will now write something worth reading, something creative, uplifting, and informing.