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Pleasure

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 7/9/2009, 5 p.m.

"I'll wash out your mouth with soap if you say that word again!"

Remember hearing that from your Mama or Grandma? Back in the day, nasty words weren't for polite company or any company at all, really. Dirty words had to be scrubbed from your tongue with a wet washrag and a rub of soap. After that, only the bravest (or the dumbest) kids ever said "those words" in Mama or Grandma's presence again.

How times have changed.

In that same vein, Eric Jerome Dickey needs a whole grocery store shelf worth of soap for his newest novel "Pleasure" (c.2008, Brilliance Audio, $38.95, 13 CDs / about 15 hours) (performed on CD by Susan Spain). Listen for even five minutes and see if you don't desperately want to wash out your brain.

Nia Simone Bijou has a pretty good life. She's got a nice apartment in the ATL and a good job as a science fiction writer. But something's missing.

Although she craves love, she pushes it away. She doesn't, for sure, need love from her old boyfriend, Logan, who offered her a diamond and sends her flowers every day. She leaves the flowers outside on her doorstep because flowers aren't what she wants and neither is Logan.

Nia Simone wants pleasure, pure and simple.

Pleasure is something Logan can't give her.

But Mark and Karl, the twins? They can please Nia Simone, alone and together. She met them on a run in the park near Atlanta, two identical Mandingo gods, sweat streaming down their perfect bodies. Karl, the twin with tattoos, is for physical pleasure. Mark, the smarter, married twin, is for affection. Nia Simone sleeps with Karl, then Mark. When one twin is in her bed, the other is always somehow, some way, nearby.

And yet, it's not enough.

When Karl takes her on a photo shoot in North Carolina, Nia Simone meets Miss Kiki Sunshine. As Karl snaps Kiki Sunshine's picture in a sunny park near the trees, Nia Simone watches closely.

Another body. Another bed. Another pleasure.

But is pleasure fleeting, or is this - sneaking around, sleeping with two men, and more - the way Nia Simone wants to live her life? Is the pleasure worth the pain she feels in her life and the pain she knows she's causing others?

Alrighty, then.

If I had a quarter for every time the word "moan" shows up in this audiobook, I could retire on my very own island, happy in the knowledge that I would never have to listen to rubbish like this, ever again.

Laden with Kama Sutra claptrap and adolescent euphemisms, "Pleasure" is boring, pointless, plotless near-pornography, a men's magazine fantasy complete with twins, threesomes, foursomes, and the Wild Thing in public, private, and everywhere. Nia Simone is not particularly likeable and her "Identical Sins" are irritating with their unearned jealousy and the silly competition between them.

In short, I took no pleasure in "Pleasure".

If you're an avid Adult Movie watcher, I guess you might enjoy this audiobook. Even then,
though, I think "Pleasure" will really just make you moan... with irritation.