3 out of 4 stars
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Sex on Every Paige is the clever title author Graham Spaid bestowed upon this erotic work. Paige is the name of the girl that protagonist Aarin lusts after, and there is sex on every page. Every single page.
The book opens with an account of Aarin involved in relations with his live-in girlfriend, Grunter, real name Granta. There’s no purple prose here, no cloying poetry. The description of this tryst focuses on body parts and where they go. Everything is flopped out under the bright lights in clinical fashion. Throughout the book, he refers to Grunter as “the old girl” as if she’s an aged mare ready to be put to pasture. Even her name is designed to portray her as frumpy. In Chapter Two, we meet Paige, Grunter’s sixteen-year-old daughter, and the object of Aarin’s carnal desires. In contrast to how he describes Gunter, with mechanical and unappreciative words, he luxuriates in every sensual detail about Paige. Her hair. Her arm. The hair on her arm. The way she stands at the window watching fireworks in an almost see through short nightie. Aarin spends time comparing the woman to the girl, the thick legs of Gunter against the wisp of her daughter. Every second he’s with Gunter, he thinks of Paige. “Gunter isn’t Paige, although I merge them when I can —when having sex—so I’m making love to Paige.”
All of this is fitting for the character of Aarin, described by Graham in the prologue as brash and full of sexual energy. These accounts are purported to be emails that Aarin sent to Graham, although the story doesn’t need this pretense to work. The chapters don’t read like emails, there’s no back and forth to make the device meaningful, and the rest of the book stands just fine on its own without any other justification.
Aarin is an unreliable narrator. He’s selfish, immature and not very likable. The reader sees everything through his eyes and with his bias. He takes everything Paige does as a sign she wants him, even though we are rolling our eyes at his interpretation. When he observes her in white schoolgirl knees socks, one pulled up high, the other sagging around her calf, he assumes this is coquettish behavior, done just to entice him. In response, he steals looks and a few careful touches that he can claim are innocent. He carefully nudges their interactions to new plateaus, opining about what a girl thinks about such advances as if he’s an expert in the female psyche. Each time he reaches new ground, it’s a thrilling victory and sets the table for progress toward his ultimate conquest.
Spaid uses specific language choices to make it clear how Aarin feels about each of these women. His writing style is casual and conversational. The use of sentence fragments gives the narrative a spontaneous feel as if he’s randomly spitting out the next thought that happens to pop into his head. The book is well edited and follows a chronological timeline, making the story easy to follow.
Guys would probably like this deep dive into male sexual fantasy. Women, if not offended, will be nonplussed. It’s not romantic or sweet in any way, and it’s not intended to be. It would be easy for me to say, “Ugh, this guy’s a pig,” and dismiss this book as smut. But all effective art elicits a strong reaction, whether positive or negative. It holds a mirror to society and asks questions no one wants to hear. Viewed from this longer perspective, Sex on Every Paige does all of that.
I’m rating this book 3 out of 4 stars. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it all that much, but Spaid does accomplish his purpose. It might even qualify for four stars, but believe it or not, sex on every page gets a little bit monotonous.
Sex on every Paige
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