The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex by Pagan Kennedy
Release date: Monday, September 1, 2008
Well that is certainly a catchy title.
The book is catchy too.
In “The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex,” Kennedy has put together a collection of her creative-nonfiction essays, most of them originally published in The New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe Magazine. Kennedy’s subjects range from Alex Comfort – the “Dr. Sex” of the title, to an Islamic mystic and auto mechanic, to Alex the African Grey parrot, with a healthy scattering of scientists and science enthusiasts pursuing interesting and odd subjects. Although it sounds like a disparate group, each of them is either trying to change the world or is actually do it in some way.
Pagan Kennedy pursues her subjects in a manner at once lighthearted and serious. She manages to be slightly irreverent without being cruel, which seems to me to be quite a feat. One such example:
“I knew I wanted to stay in this country,” says says, even though a certain loneliness was setting in – the loneliness of the nerd.
Each essay in “Dangerous Joy” is very well written. They also seem to be about some of the most influential people you’ve never heard of. In fact, two of the people featured in the book later won MacArthur Genius Awards and Dr. Alex Comfort had a hand in the sexual revolution due to his book “The Joy of Sex.” This is an extremely enjoyable collection that ends up being a fairly quick read. Sensitive readers may find some of the first story, that about Alex Comfort and “The Joy of Sex,” somewhat objectionable as it occasionally gets a little graphic. This is by far the longest story, but I think the book is still worth reading even if you skip Comfort’s story.