Cover Image: Available

Available

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Member Reviews

I found this one really interesting and informative. Theres lots of funny moments but also times when I had a little cringe.
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Dnf at 54%

1. It started good. The prose was good. 

2. It felt like Laura was only exploring because it was expected? Thete wasn't a jot of thought behind those dates---one after another.
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"I see now there can be commitment without monogamy and further that a lack of monogamy doesn't signify that a particular relationship is not enough. No matter how fulfilling a relationship is, it doesn't negate the part of me that still wants to be noticed and wanted, that enjoys flirting and the hunt..."

This isn't a book about non-monogamy per se, but I really appreciated that this is where Friedman Williams journey led her by the end of this book and that she was open to analysing what value another monogamous relationship would bring her life after her husband of 27 years cheated on her, signifying the end of quite an epic marriage.

Similar to What It Feels Like for a Girl, Available is another book that I requested on Netgalley but had lost interest in reading until I heard the author interviewed on a podcast. Clearly, this is now the way to get me interested in reading anything these days. I was struck by Friedman Williams' openness, honesty and energy and was curious to see where her tale of decoupling and emerging as autonomous sexual in her late 40s would take her.

This book is a mixture of heartbreak and horniness, essentially. There are plenty of delicious stories about desire and pleasure but woven between all of this is the devastation that not only the author but her children felt as their family as they knew it fell apart, only to be rebuilt again in a different shape.

I really loved Friedman Williams' tenacity. The way she grabbed the wheel and steered her life in a whole new direction after such an unexpected change. If you've just ended a big relationship (or are thinking about doing so) this book will help you overcome any fears and get back out there.
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Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐⭐️️
Sin rating: Clear ✅

A heart-throbbing mesmerising and uncensored story of dating in your 50s, not for the faint of heart.

After 27 years of marriage, author Laura Friedman Williams discovers her husband’s affair and finds herself at a crossroad: forgive him and move on, or reinvent herself. Following encouragements from her friends, she decides to start dating and discover a world she’d never explored before. 

I devoured this book. Quite simply. In this difficult retelling of what dating looks like in your 50’s, Laura gets lost and finally finds herself again. It is not an easy or nice story to read and this search for an identity is paved with failures and deep wounds... But it’s also a beautiful tale of personal growth and empowerment.

Side note: I appreciate how this book makes a big emphasis on safe sex. Something so often ignored in books, yet so important!
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Brave, bold, easy-to-read and sometimes fascinating - but overall I found it hard not to judge. Written as a memoir , Laura captures her grief during her divorce and subsequent sexual awaking during her separation. At 46, with 3 kids, Laura reshapes her life, from stay-at-home mom to sexual goddess. 

The good parts - well-written, good pace, good flow, lots of variety and some great sex scenes. The harder part was relating to the writer - who frankly has a good life. Her husband betrays their 27 year marriage, but all the writer can see is rage, although she hints at her part in the breakdown of the marriage. She faces potential divorce with financial stability, healthy kids, a generous husband, and a huge support network. She comes across as self-indulgent and self absorbed, as she  hunts men down with determination. That said, there is a lot of vulnerability in her writing and she includes a balanced view of herself which is very brave. It might have been easier to write this book as semi-fictional. 







*Thank you to Net galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a review.
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I decided to read this after seeing an article in the Daily Mail. A good read, truthful and candid. Not sure what her children will say when they’re older though!!
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she was a happily married stay-at-home mother with three children and plans to grow old with her husband. Sure, their sex had become a little formulaic, and yes, their life together mostly revolved around their kids, but whose doesn’t?Then came the shocking, utterly clichéd discovery of his affair.Five months of emotional turmoil later, Laura found herself single for the first time in 27 years and with two choices: to eke out her existence, or reinvent herself. A little encouragement from her friends and one astonishing one-night stand later, she realised that she had a sexual appetite she’d never explored, and that being a mother didn’t mean she had to ignore it. She could be independent, a good mother, and have a great sex life all at the same time… couldn’t she?

When I first picked up the book, I didn’t know if it was for me. It was a few nights ago when it was impossible to sleep in England! 
I persevered past the first two chapters and I’m so pleased I did! 

I thought the book might be a bit cringe talking about sex throughout the book, but this book is so much more. It’s about Laura’s journey of finding herself and picking herself back up after the affair 

Laura is so open in her book and I actually read it in one sitting for this reason. I loved how I could relate to somethings and Laura did not hold back

There were times I found myself laughing my head off and I took photos of some of the paragraphs to send to my friend the next morning 

This book was great. Fab! And perfect for book club discussions
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I was so excited to read Available. I think it's such an important conversation to have. We don't really talk about sexuality post 40 years old and Available pitched itself as an honest and humorous portrayal of sex as a divorced and middle-aged woman.

There was a lot to like in this book. Laura is a frank and open narrator who is happy to share both the ups and downs of dating and sex, and seeing her come back to life after a traumatic and unexpected breakdown of her marriage was inspiring and affirming. 

However at times, privilege seeped from Laura's words. I didn't enjoy the casual judgement of men based on their cheap furniture or living situations. It felt snooty and out of place and deflated the hopeful feeling of the book. 

I found it difficult to connect to Laura. While she spoke candidly about desire, sex and emotions, at times it felt less authentic than I would have liked. 

It's also interesting to note that most of the men feel very much like scenery. Their sole purpose is to further Laura's story and it can read as a little bit flat and self-indulgent at times.

I'm glad the book exists and will hopefully lead to more women feeling able to speak openly about sex, romance and relationships. But I hope it is handled in a more authentic and personal way than this memoir.
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Available is a candid and incredibly open insight into one woman's life post-affair marriage breakdown. Laura was married for 27 years, and believed her and Michael were happy. So when she discovered he was in love with another woman, her grief was all-consuming.

As a glimpse of light returned a few months later, she decided she could stay bitter and stuck. Or she could embrace the freedom and opportunities for exploration that her new life presented her with. She chose the latter. In meeting new men she awakens a side of herself that she describes as insatiable. She wants to be seen, to be desired and to be touched. She learns a lot about herself, and reconciles her dual roles as mother, and woman. Recognising that it is more than ok to take care of her own needs, as well as those of her children, is a fundamentally life changing moment.

Written with wit, with candour and with compassion, I think this is a memoir that will inspire and comfort anyone who has reached a crossroads in their life.
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If you’d told 46-year old Laura Friedman Williams that in a few years she’d be having some of the best sex of her life with men who were not her husband, she’d have laughed in your face. She was a happily married stay-at-home mother with three children and plans to grow old with her husband. Sure, their sex had become a little formulaic, and yes, their life together mostly revolved around their kids, but who doesn’t? Then came the shocking, utterly clichéd discovery of his affair. Five months of emotional turmoil later, Laura found herself single for the first time in 27 years and with two choices: to eke out her existence or reinvent herself. A little encouragement from her friends and one astonishing one-night stand later, she realised that she had a sexual appetite she’d never explored and that being a mother didn’t mean she had to ignore it. She could be independent, a good mother, and have a great sex life all at the same time… couldn’t she?

This is an enjoyable, quick and easy read, perfect with a cocktail or glass of wine around the pool or on a beach! This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

3.5/5.
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27 years after giving everything to her husband and children, her life exploded. She could of withered away or reinvented herself. With lots of encouragement from her friends she decided to reinvent herself. She discovered things about sex that she had never imagined. An honest and empowering true story of how you can flourish after a disaster.
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Laura Friedman Williams is a GODDESS! In "Available" she beautifully articulates the myriad feelings surrounding betrayal and the break-up of a long-term relationship. Laura's account of her ensuing sexual encounters is relatable, empowering and life-affirming. I loved reading about her (sometimes hilarious) escapades. I particularly loved her wee, wise Mammy and all her sage advice. "Available" is realistic and uncensored, illustrating the ways in which Laura made the best of a bad situation. Now, she lives by her own rules and standards and AMEN TO THAT, SISTAH! Also, thank you for speaking out about cumbersome strapless bras!
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This book had me laughing out loud and cringing for Laura as she recalls the period in her life, after her divorce, when she discovered her dormant inner sex goddess by simply playing the field.

I absolutely adored how open she was about these encounters. The afternote includes a message by Laura, which states she was worried that maybe she'd been too open about this time in her life, but I don't think this is ever possible. Why shouldn't we be able to talk about sex freely?

The title clearly emphasises what this book is about, it makes it clear from the cover that there are obviously some explicit details throughout, however, there is a perfect balance of openness without being too much. Laura also writes frankly about the serious side of "free love" such as the importance of safe sex, STD testing, and making sure her friends knew where she would be for the evening, for her personal safety. She also covers how she set her own boundaries as well as not ignoring red flags of potential partners. All of which equally paramount.

This is a book that I will be recommending, and will be no doubt be talking about for some time with my like-minded social circle. This isn't just about sex, this shouts empowerment, liberation and personal growth throughout!
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I really wanted to love this book, but I found it very frustrating. Maybe it's because I'm nearly 50 and long term single, but her success rate is unbelievable. She's either not written about the awful dates or she's just been incredibly lucky. She comes across as very privileged, both in terms of looks and finances, and the fact that she can orgasm at the drop of a hat!!
So it's definitely a case of hats off to her, I am in awe of the ease with which she approaches the world of dating and it's an entertaining read, but I think I'm a touch jealous.
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I love this book!

So many women are faced with suddenly finding themselves starting over in their late 40, early 50's but no one ever really write about that and when they do it is all about finding love again. In this what Laura finds is herself, he own sexual agency and prowess and eventually a realization that monogamy and goal orientated love is not what she is looking for. Along that way it details her dating triumphs and mishaps and shines a light of female sexual desire and reconciling the roles of a sexual woman and a Mother. 

The writing is open and honest and often times very raw and VERY relatable. I too have done the, sleeping with a guy so you can get out there, scenario. It is not something men ever experience but it is a common story for many women. There are also some laugh out loud moments too, probably most notably the dogs! (I won't spoil it, you will have to read it)

If you are in your 40's or 50' and starting over, heading out dating and/or exploring open relationships then this is totally for you and if you are a younger woman, then read it too and be mindful. You never think you are going to be Laura or me but chances are many of you will be. Find you voice now. Be yourself now. Don't wait.

Definitely one of my top reads of 2021 and I am going to telling all my friends to buy this book.
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This book seemed promising from the description, but unfortunately it was anything but. I found it rather sad, and feel for the author's children, who probably didn't need to know the ins and outs of their mother's sex life.  Putting that to one side, I didn't feel it was particularly well-written, rather a rather poor attempt at an erotic novel.
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I love a memoir. I really do. In fact, I have a list of favourite memoirs you’re welcome to take your pick from if you click right here! When reading this type of non-fiction I spend most of my time oscillating between feeling giddy that I’m being given so much insight into someone’s life and cringing at the thought of ever putting myself out there to the same degree. With fiction you’re able to seamlessly blend reality and imagination to produce some kind of truth without the reader knowing quite how much of the actual you they’ve encountered. With memoir, so we assume, everything is as close to truth as it can be. 

             This is particularly relevant in Laura Friedman Williams’ Available because it’s about her rediscovering her sex life in the wake of her husband cheating on her, followed by their divorce. By this point Friedman Williams is in her forties and what seems to begin as a way to make herself feel a little better becomes a bona fide adventure in sex. It’s not until she begins telling her friends about her encounters that they encourage her to start writing everything down and then, later, to write a book. There’s a section right near the start where Friedman Williams describes talking to her mother about deciding whether or not to go ahead and write this book. She covers the potential embarrassment of sharing this information with the world, the fear that her kids or perhaps her father might pick it up for a read. In turn her mother, who she says she’d hoped would talk her out of the idea, persuades her to go ahead.  There are moments while reading when I think Yeah, go girl! It’s fantastic to read about a woman - and the men she’s with - in her forties - and older - enjoying an exciting sex life. It’s great to read about a woman who feels like she’s given much of her life over to her husband and kids getting the opportunity to find what she enjoys again. But there are also moments where I cringe, where I realise I know more about her body and experiences than I do about many of my closest friends, that I’ve been given this information so freely. I also think it’s flagged up the more prudish side of my nature, the side that echoes (mostly) older generations’ opinions that this stuff should be private, that sex shouldn’t be pursued quite so aggressively, that hooking up with two men on the same day is outrageous. If anything though I quite liked that it was all at odds with my personal feelings, that I continually felt uncomfortable and was forced to confront that rather than giddily gliding along on her adventures. 

                This is a book about sex and dating after divorce, and although it delves pretty deeply into these, the author also shows us her relationship with her soon-to-be ex-husband as well as documenting the fall out of the break-up on their children. We see tears, tantrums, attempts to hang out as a ‘family unit’ at important events, therapy sessions, emergencies and the constant support of her group of female friends. All of this information is pertinent as what Friedman Williams is really trying to navigate is the intersection of being a mother and being a person in her own right. She claims she was perfectly happy in her marriage, that being a mother is her most important role and the life they’d built allowed her to always put that first. Post break up she feels guilt for wanting to explore these other facets of herself and I really felt for her, impressed at how tenaciously she worked to find a respectable balance. 

              OK so, the meaty part of this book is exactly what’s euphemistically suggested by the juicy peach emblazoned upon the front cover. There is sex, there is a lot of it and there’s quite a lot of detail. The men Friedman Williams sleeps with are mostly referred to by number (#1, #2 etc.) but we do usually also learn their names and a little about them. I’m not sure whether the numbering system is just to help us keep track of where we are in her sexual timeline or if it’s there to simplify the encounters that aren’t as successful as the others. It might even simply be a nod to the way in which her journey begins as a sort of challenge to herself. The appetite that the author has for sex, particularly as she approaches her first conquest, felt in many ways like the kind of libidinous drive we attribute more to men. Indeed, most of the partners she writes about also comment on it, either delighted by it or in fact a little put off, #5 tells her, ‘I was really surprised the first time we had sex by how quickly you moved. I was put off by it, if we’re being honest.’ Friedman Williams is ‘taken aback, seeing now that what I had thought was a sexy, bold play was interpreted by him as aggressive and unseemly’. Everyone, and women in particular, is raised with certain beliefs about sex, what’s appropriate, what’s dignified, what will make sometime value you as a person and not just a sex object. Many of the ways that Friedman Williams behaves after her divorce would fall into a camp more in line with #5’s opinion and yet why? Everyone is an adult, everyone appears to be getting what they want and having a good time! There’s one moment in the book however where I do question a decision she makes that feels more like something I might have tried when I was a teenager. Even while I respect her for sharing it truthfully, and even though again no-one seemed negatively impacted by it, I must admit I do feel some discomfort. 

             It’s worth noting that Friedman Williams seems to have an extremely high hit rate with her sexual encounters. If the dates she shares in the book are really the only ones she goes on then, more often than not, both she and the man are attracted enough to each other to have sex. And the sex, even when it’s disappointing, still seems to be pretty good! She orgasms without fail, the phrase ‘toe-curling’ is often used and everyone seems pretty satiated afterwards. It surprised me because I don’t think that’s the experience of most women. For a start, most women do not orgasm through penetration alone, first-time sexual encounters are not often feted for being earth-shatteringly, compatibly fantastic and if I was entering near-strangers’ homes I’m not sure I’d be as relaxed as she seems to be. I have to assume however that these genuinely are her (very delightful) experiences because, when something does go wrong, she’s just as honest about that. Her encounter with #2 seems almost entirely driven by her, with the man playing a hopeful but nervous role in a hook-up that is ultimately a bit of a mess. It’s the darker, more uncomfortable meeting with a man called Kevin who manipulates the date and behaves in an emotionally detached way that I thought she wrote about extremely well. In the middle of a streak of pleasant encounters, Friedman Williams ends up at the home of a man who instigates sex she doesn’t really want but has anyway. It’s a messy situation. In no way does he threaten her and she’s well aware that she entered his home out of choice. But the way he’s behaved up to this point also gives her pause to wonder quite how much he cares about how she feels or what she wants. ‘Sex’ she writes ‘has been purely fun and joyous and liberating and toe-curling and energizing and fulfilling and transcendent these past two months, but now the ugly side of it is lashing its forked tongue at me: asymmetry of power, physical vulnerability, fear, mistrust, revulsion.’ Thought I’m not pleased the author had this encounter, the reminder that sex and humans have the ability to hurt acts as a reminder of why her personal journey is, in many ways, extremely brave. 

               Many of the sex scenes could be right out of a romance novel and, though intriguing and voyeuristic, it feels strange to imagine meeting this woman and to know her so intimately. I was more intrigued by her experiences of dating when the initial burst of sexual experimentation waned and these relationships became more serious. In particular I was struck by Friedman Williams’ attempts to work out what she wanted from a relationship, now that marriage, financial stability or starting a family were no longer considerations. The realisation that she could redefine what she wanted was joyful to see and how she communicated this to the partner we leave her with at the end of the book felt novel, modern and true to herself. 

              Though the book is full of these moments where consideration is paid to all sides of a situation and complicated issues discussed and navigated clearly, the one aspect that let the writing down for me was the quality of the dialogue. If speech marks hadn’t been used I would often have missed the fact that we’d even moved into speech at all as the tone remained consistent throughout. By this I mean I heard Friedman Williams’ voice rather than that of whoever was speaking and felt no real change in language, grammar, tone or pace. I read a lot of fiction and scripts so I’m hyperaware of the power and joy of dialogue and love to hear whatever’s being said in that person’s unique voice. In a memoir however I don’t think this is a huge concern as, ultimately, the story is the author’s and everything that’s said or done is filtered through her perspective. 

              I’m not sure what made me pick Available up but I’m glad I did. It hooked me in right from a rather epic first scene and though my attention waned a little in the family-oriented chapters that focus on the discovery of her husband Michael’s affair and the beginning of the breakdown of the marriage itself, I really enjoyed Friedman Williams’ navigation of life after marriage. There’s a moment near the end of the book where she reflects on the life she’s rebuilt for herself and it made me stop and think. There’s a lack of any hugely dramatic struggle in her life, she’s fine financially, her children are mostly happy and healthy and for the most part her co-parenting relationship with her ex is good. It would be easy perhaps to dismiss her emotional struggle, the pain she feels at the destruction of the life she thought she’d have forever, when other women in her position would unlikely have the time she has had to re-discover herself. I think though that there are lessons to be learned from her single-minded focus, her ability to move forward and her willingness to lay herself bare so we can learn from her experiences. The woman at the end of the book is different to the broken-hearted soon-to-be divorcee at the start, and there’s something so impressive about how - to be a bit cliched - she really did make the best of a bad situation.
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A genuinely unique and refreshing story and one it was great to read . Starting again in your 40s is not unusual, but its a situation that is not spoken (or indeed written) about enough.  I loved the author's honesty and clear, no nonsense style. I found a couple of grammatical issues which grated - cliche vs cliched for example, but they might simple be proof errors. I'll definitely be recommending this one to friends.
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There were some gems in here for me - brutal statements about motherhood vs being an individual woman with needs - but the protagonist’s life was so far removed from mine and her voice so clinical that I struggled to relate. I finished the book but did find myself skimming at times. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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This is an amazing read! It has everything you could want to find in a book; honest, deep/raw insight, strong characters and descriptions that brings the pages to life for better or worse. I was unable to put the book down. The writer showed a lot of guts in being so direct and forthcoming with her emotions, feelings and thoughts. Was like having a front row seat into her life as her marriage of 27 years imploded and then out of it she found herself and her voice.
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