Jenny Jiminez


Claire Dederer

May 9
7 p.m.

Something happened to New York Times best-selling author Claire Dederer around age 44. The married mother of two was subsumed by despair, too distracted to work, and unusually libidinous. “I felt more like a 17-year-old boy: horny, sleepy, confused,” she writes in her new memoir, Love and Trouble. In an attempt to understand the sudden resurgence of her sexual appetite, she retreated to her study and unearthed photographic and journal remnants of the “disastrous pirate slut of a girl” she once was. Her unconventional upbringing—including separated parents, her mother’s young lover, and an assault by a sexual predator—may explain why, as an adult, Dederer committed to a quiet, stable domestic life on an island near Seattle, but that understanding didn’t resolve her newfound restlessness. Throughout this blunt and intimate coming-of-age/midlife reckoning memoir, Dederer experiments with form, using the alphabet, a map, open letters, a psychological case study, and instructional writing (such as “How to Have Sex with Your Husband of Fifteen Years”) to keep the narrative engaging and playful as she deconstructs sexuality, aging, and family ties.