Review: Losing February by Susanna Freymark

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Title: Losing February: A Story of Love, Sex and Longing

Author: Susana Freymark

Published: Pan Macmillan February 2013

Read an Extract

Status: Read on January 26, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Pan Macmillan Australia}

My Thoughts:
Losing February straddles the thin divide between truth and fiction with the author Susanna Freymark admitting the events of this raw and frank novel closely parallels her own experience during a difficult period of her life.

Bernie is in her early forties, a writer who she lives on the outskirts of Byron Bay, content in the shed she calls home. Her sexless marriage has recently ended and she shares amicable custody of her children with her ex husband. When a past love comes back into her life, Bernie re-discovers desire but Jack is married and their tortured, emotional affair triggers a disturbing slide into a world of sexual addiction in her desperate search for the meaning of love.

Losing February is a confronting read, exposing a woman’s grief at love lost and dreams unrealised. Her heartbreak at being rejected after a tumultuous almost affair sends Bernie on a search for validation in all the wrong places. Exhibiting many of the classic signs of a midlife crisis, she looks outside of herself for what she needs instead of facing the more difficult truths of her everyday failures. While the admittedly explicit sexual encounters in this novel attract attention it is what is driving Bernie to such extremes that I think the author hopes we acknowledge.

Surprisingly I found several of Bernie’s actions understandable, though her path is not one I would choose to take. It’s acknowledgement as a desirable woman that she pursues through the anonymous medium of online sex chat, and while essentially hollow, the interactions sates her ego temporarily. When the anonymous adoration isn’t enough anymore she pushes further – meeting the men who pursue her, and then when the thrill inevitably fades, takes even more risks, addicted to the tenuous high of being wanted. The divide between sex and love blurred by desire and acceptance is something many women struggle with and Bernie clearly illustrates that the confusion remains past adolescence.

Losing February is a glimpse into the complexities of love and desire, anger and grief, repression and letting go.  This is an intriguing if sometimes disconcerting read, readers uncomfortable with graphic sex and language should probably steer clear but I think an audience of women mid thirties and older will be able to identify with the themes in this novel and Bernie’s difficult journey.

Available to Purchase

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Daystarz Books
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 19:57:46

    Thanks for pointing out some of the content that may not appeal as part of your review. I’ve been so disappointed lately starting books that the blurb makes sound wonderful and then finding that there’s content that just isn’t my thing. Think I’ll be giving this one a miss too.

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  2. laurelrainsnow
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 22:51:44

    This actually sounds like a book I might enjoy…I can relate to some of the themes from a time in my own life when I was lost and searching…thanks for sharing.

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  3. Petty Witter
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 04:49:33

    not a book I’m instantly drawn to but some of the issues intrigue me. Great review, thanks for the recommendation.

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  4. 1girl2manybooks
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 14:07:29

    I really like the sound of this one, although I do wonder if I’ll like the actual experience of reading it. I’m curious though!

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  5. Trackback: February 2013 Roundup: Contemporary Fiction | Australian Women Writers Challenge
  6. Trackback: Losing February – Susanna Freymark | All The Books I Can Read
  7. Trackback: Book Review: Losing February
  8. Trackback: February 2013 Roundup: Contemporary Fiction | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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