Book Review

DocTurtle Reads 6 Through 10

Book CoverDocTurtle continues his chapter-by-chapter liveblogging of Sex, Straight Up with chapters 6 through 10. Sayeth DocTurtle: “I have a hunch there are some revelations your readers are likely to appreciate.”

The continuing adventures of a scornful mathematician’s journey through a category romance novel: DocTurtle reads Kathleen O’Reilly’s Sex, Straight Up, Part the Third
Chapter 6: In Which the Plot Moves Forward Like Napoleon Into a Winter-Wet Russia

The first eye-catcher in this chapter was a comment about one of the O’Sullivan boys’ bar’s regulars: “He [an engineer for the MTA] talked like a professor, carried his tall frame like a professor and had two ex-wives, who wish he’d been paid like a professor.”  So do I!  Oh, wait…hmm.  Fact is, university faculty don’t get paid nearly as much as the general public thinks they do.  Don’t get me wrong, we do pretty well, and I ain’t complaining, but not many faculty get into it for the money.


This chapter is distinguished primarily by the Mother of All Plot Twists, in which Daniel’s brother Gabe, undertaking renovations on one of the brothers’ bar’s walls, finds a mid-century engagement ring buried inside the wall.  The ring falls into Daniel’s hands (the question he’s to answer: “whose finger does it fit?”), offering him the perfect excuse to track down a jewelry expert of the sort as might be retained by a major auction house.

Of course, this excuse proves unnecessary, as he’s soon tapped to head the team of outsiders tasked with performing an independent audit of Montefiore’s.  Poor Catherine doesn’t even have a chance to Google Daniel (although she thinks about it on page 73) before he shows up in her building’s elevator.

Move along, folks, nothing to snark here…

Chapter 7: Our Hero Undumbasses Himself and Places the Ball Squarely in Her Court…No, Not That Again, Not Yet Anyway…Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter, You!


“Don’t talk to me.”

“You need to listen…Please.”

“No, I don’t think there’s anything to say.”

“I should have told you.”

“Yes.  You should.  I never would have…would have…if you had.”

“That’s not what I’m trying to say.”

“I don’t want to listen.  I’ve never done anything like that in my life, and now I’m going to have eto live with it.”

“Catherine. I’m widowed.”

There it is, folks!  It’s out!  And it’s only page 77!  That leaves…[thumbs through book]…[what, this thing has an Epilogue?!]…137 pages to go!  Man, what are we going to do for conflict now?

Fortunately for us (but not so for them) this bodacious beau has been hired on to investigate her grandpa, making it unlikely the pair will be able to engage in much carefree nookie.  Not to mention the fact that Daniel’s dead wife keeps getting in the way of their clumsy semi-romantic advances.

You should rest assured that by now Maggie’s informed me of the romance novel’s convention of misunderstanding and miscommunication that leads to protagonist conflict.  Nevertheless, being a pretty straight shooter myself, I find the game-playing these two are going through to be pretty silly.  For sure, I understand that human emotions are fragile, subtle, chimerical creatures, and that very often human interaction is not all that it seems to be.  And for sure I understand that love is the most tortuous and tempestuous of all human emotions, and that sometimes it takes a skilled navigator to map a course through its throes.  (At this very moment I’m helping a young friend try to figure out just what in the hell this one guy she’s got her eye on is thinking.)

But come on!  Sheesh…

I’m sure the SBTB readers will be happy to hear that by the time
Chapter 8: Rolls Around

I’m actually cheering for these two numbskulls (huzzah, Ms. O’Reilly!), which is why their continued attempts to sabotage their own happiness are so damned frustrating.

By now we can add to the list of things we know about Daniel (erenow he was a cut [bodily, not phallically], dark, brooding, mysterious accountant-cum-widower): he’s now revealed to be a nice Catholic boy who loves his mother-in-law, even though he and her daughter were only married for a few months.

Moreover, on page 91 we find I wasn’t far from the mark when I surmised that Catherine’s a dynamite cook, too.

This chapter’s action carries the two to a date at a nice trattoria.  A relationship malfunction at an adjacent table allows us to learn a bit more about our heroes’ altruistic characters, and then they skulk off into the lobby of an office building and boink publicly to Barry Manilow.  Well, pseudoboink.  Or quasiboink.  Or whatever.  They never make it to the finish line.

“You want an affair?  No emotional commitment, no sharing, no ties?” Catherine asks on page 99 after coitus interruptus.

“That’s all I can do.”  Oy!  Like I said, I’m actually cheering for these two, but my neck is sore from watching the ball bounce back and forth.

Chapter 9: But This Can’t Be Tennis…

…for our hero is allowed a bump, set, and spike of dumbassitude.  After his insistence at the last chapter’s close that all he has to offer is sex sex sex, he now asks for Catherine’s help in tracking down the immured engagement ring’s true owner.  You can’t have it both ways, partner.

By me, nothing else of considerable interest goes on in this chapter: the couple schlep the ring down to the jeweler who’s most likely to have made it, and just outside this Park Avenue proprietor’s they help a young girl find her way back to her father.  (Aha!  Mark your scorecards, ladies and gentlemen: Daniel would make an excellent father.)

In the “Oh, And” column we can place a few suspicious e-mails between Charles “Grandpa” Montefiore and the head of one of the rival auction houses: is Gramps in collusion after all?  Oh noes!

The chapter’s highlight?  Catherine’s mother Andrea’s use of the word “puddleglum.”  I’ll take “puddleglum” over “man-man” any day.
Chapter 10: Awkward Moments and Feverish Masturbation

Hey, everybody!  It’s the long-awaited Italian Renaissance art reception and auction!

Hilarity ensues when Catherine and Daniel feign unfamiliarity while being introduced to one another by Charles “Grandpa” Montefiore.  Well, maybe not hilarity…mild unease, at least.

It’s nothing compared to the torture Daniel goes through in spending the night at Catherine’s side, unable to keep his eyes off of her “silk-covered ass” (“the curves made for a man’s hands”), her “lush bountiful breasts,” and her “nipples perked against her dress.”

After all, “seven years of celibacy took a hard, hard, nail-chewingly hard toll on a man.”

At the day’s end, the couple find themselves lonely and alone in their respective domiciles, Catherine fingering herself beneath her covers and Daniel whacking off in the shower, coming with a “long and anguished roar.”

Hee hee!

“Why would it be anguished?” Maggie asks.  “I’m pretty happy when I come.”

“He’s masturbating.”



Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Chanel19 says:

    Please, please have him as a guest reviewer. 

    Set him loose on a Bertice Small?

    Or maybe he can explain to my husband how there are so many SEALS at home, getting it on in nearly every book in the grocery store??

    needs13—he needs to do at least 13 reviews!

  2. 2
    JenTurner says:

    This is damn near, if not just as entertaining as actually reading the book.  I agree with Chanel19 – Turtle needs to regularly play in SBTB-land. :D

  3. 3
    hollygee says:

    I want him to read Crusie or one of Phillips’ Stars books.

  4. 4
    Jessica says:

    I don’t know what’s better reading the book or reading the review!

    I read category romances religiously, know that they’re like this, but read them anyway!!

    hand15 – the number of hands (+1) needed to clap for this review.

  5. 5
    rebyj says:

    He should be locked in SB Sarah’s garage and forced to do guest reviews !!! Our very own Doctor Bitchboy.

  6. 6
    SB Sarah says:

    *doesn’t have garage. Begins building one.*

  7. 7

    I say, old boy, you’re making the professorate look like FUN! Yeegads!

    Thanks, and at tip of the mortarboard!

    deep18 Indeed!

  8. 8
    Wryhag says:

    I am enjoying this way too freaking much.  Oh, the drollery!  Oh, the Latin!  (Coitus interruptus nearly made me reach for my toy drawer . . . well, if I had one.)

    Once DT is good and broke in, he’ll need much bigger challenges than wimpy category romances can provide.  Like a big ol’ smack across the mug with . . . 

    Whoops.  Can’t name names.

  9. 9
    Cori says:

    Can you put a tag on all the chapters of this so that those of us who missed the first installment can find it! I want to know how it all began! =D

  10. 10
    EJ McKenna says:

    What glorious fun!

  11. 11
    Annmarie says:

    Ok.  This is getting good.  I was sorta worried Doc Turtle would not find his HEA and I MUST have a HEA.

    Also, I don’t remember MY math professors having a personality.  At all.  Check out the Doc!

  12. 12
    Annmarie says:

    Oh.  I forgot to add a thanks to Doc for clarifying which kind of cut Daniel is.  Now, however, I wonder if Daniel is circumcised.  hmmmmm

  13. 13
    ev says:

    Let’s get him to do this full time for us- the money I could save just reading his reviews!!

  14. 14
    DS says:

    I chortled my way through it so far.  It’s not the kind of book I would ever pick up, but it’s great fun getting the outsider reaction. 

    I had to smile at the professor comments.  If you want to make the big money don’t bother teaching—- administrate.  Sad, isn’t it?

  15. 15
    Chanel19 says:

    Oh.  I forgot to add a thanks to Doc for clarifying which kind of cut Daniel is.  Now, however, I wonder if Daniel is circumcised.  hmmmmm


    Cut == circumcised.

    The Doc did state “not phallically”.  So I’m guessing that never got mentioned in the story or or hero is “intact” if not mentioned.

    Why is it Americans want all men “cut”?

  16. 16

    This review is cracking me up and making me add, “Sex, Straight Up” to my must-buy pile.

    I second RelbyJ: bring on more Doctor Bitchboy reviews! ;)

  17. 17

    This is really great! Good writing there, Doc Turtle. I really appreciate the candor, too.

  18. 18
    Miss B says:

    This is pure brilliance. But now I don’t know whether I should even bother reading the book now. Can it compare to the snark? Hmmmm.

    read27? I could try reading 27 books in a month…if I did nothing else with my free time.

  19. 19
    Chicklet says:

    Sarah, could you ask DocTurtle to NOT read the epilogue? It’s so over-the-top Care Bear I’m worried it’ll make him lose any goodwill he continues to build toward the book. ;-)

  20. 20
    Suze says:

    Why is it Americans want all men “cut”?

    Apparently, we’re brainwashed to think that uncut men are dirty, and harbour mysterious ‘n icky stuff under their foreskins.

    (Can’t do the fancy links)

  21. 21
    shaina says:

    i agree with everyone above that this is AWESOME!

    but, re: circumcisions—i actually know a guy who got circumcised at the age of 21—VOLUNTARILY PUT HIS PENIS UNDER A KNIFE—because he felt like everyone else was cut and he was tired of girls being grossed out or surprised or whatevs. although i do have another friend who is also 21 or 22 who i happen to know is NOT cut because his girlfriend used to be my roommate and she liked to talk about these things…he’s french. yeah. but he’s also the most oblivious guy ever, and probably wouldn’t respond to peer pressure like the first guy.
    carry on.

  22. 22
    Mishi says:

    I agree with the others – I’m loving this review! I’m a fan of the “guest reviewer” idea. Doc Turtle has a flair for snark that should definitely be exploited. Even if you have to lock him the garage to do it..

  23. 23
    Tara says:

    Why is it Americans want all men “cut”?

    Apparently, we’re brainwashed to think that uncut men are dirty, and harbour mysterious ‘n icky stuff under their foreskins.

    And here I thought it was all about visual appeal for most women, but apparently not. :o)  Still, if you took a poll, I imagine “pink storm-trooper” would win hands-down over “snake wearing a turtleneck” just on eye appeal.

    Hmmmm, sounds like a good SBTB type poll to me.

  24. 24
    Faellie says:

    “Grown man voluntarily getting the cut for cosmetic reasons” was a SATC storyline – the natural born version was described by one of the four as looking like a shar-pei. 

    Religious reasons I can understand, but cultural ones?  What other operation would be carried out on a baby for purely cosmetic effect?  (There’s a funny contrast with how much fuss is sometimes made about docking dogs’ tails.)  Circumcision is medically unnecessary, and makes no medical or hygiene difference for someone with access to soap and water and the inclination to use them. 

    Personally, the more the merrier.

  25. 25
    Annmarie says:

    Why is it Americans want all men “cut”?

    I’m an equal opportunity lover of the penis.  Cut, uncut…it matters not.  It’s just…now that I’ve thought about Daniel’s penis being cut or uncut, I need to know. 

    It’s all Doc Turtle’s fault.  HE led me down this path.

  26. 26
    MS Jones says:

    I am so buying this book. 

    Circumcision in America was prompted by the fear of masturbatory insanity – check out the hilarious picture of a guy in the grip of onanism.

    Daniel’s “long and anguished roar” proves he’s cut (no insanity there!).

    But what I don’t get is the reference to 7 years of celibacy – what happened to the nonstop sex at the beach that DocTurtle described in Rising to the Challenge, Part Deux?

    Was that a lost weekend?

  27. 27

    I’m loving Doc Turtle’s review.

  28. 28
    Bev Stephans says:

    OMG! His review just keeps getting better and better. Good work Doc!

  29. 29

    These posts are great!

  30. 30
    Lurker says:

    Uncircumcised guys are generally said not to last as long, from a practical standpoint. *cough*

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