Unbridled, Apr 5 2011, $14.95
The essays are somewhat related by the memoirs of kissing connections, but in fact more tied together by relationships. Using herself over the course of her life as the focus of her links with others, the fascination is how the other kisser relates to the author and why the kiss as types varie based on relational roles. A person stars in one essay, disappears for several decades only to finally reappear in a later entry. Subjects explored include a wide range of people as Ms. Sternbach discusses BFFs forever and not, her parents, three husbands, and her twin sisters. The birth of her daughter (spouse three) leads to serial kissing and the Lost Photos remind the writer of kisses before and after cancer surgery. Other topics include the kiss that never was adolescent ‘puppy” love that is a precocious contribution that later turns melancholy, the Hard Landing kiss from mom to ease the pain of a broken arm birthday bashes, summer camp, marriage and divorce. Some of contributions delve into taboo topics like rape and death, but there will always be a Teddy K willing to take a Second Chance kiss.
All of the degrees of separation are intense yet amusing, profound but also sarcastic especially when the author affectionately and humorously discusses her younger siblings. Readers will appreciate this fine relationship memoir as Ms. Sternbach earns a mental kiss from me for this charming collection.