Book Review: The Wild Oats Project: Memoir
Author: Robin Rinaldi
Reviewer: Michaelangelo Zane
I would like to begin by saying that when I started reading The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Quest for Passion at Any Cost , a memoir by renowned journalist & magazine editor Robin Rinaldi, I thought that the book would be thought provoking & it really was. I will go as far as to say that it is one of the best memoirs I have read which has been penned since the beginning of the 21st century. Believe me people, this book is amazing & it has got so much of intellectual, spiritual & moralistic topics that make you want to sit back in the middle of the book…& think a bit…
We start to think about our lives, our family, our desires, and our relationships but along with thinking about it, we start to question the age old norms of society which have kept us bound to the confines of stereotypes which are in a word ‘decadent.’
Well, the memoir is about how Robin Rinaldi in her 40’s gets the jolt of her life when her husband Scott decides to get a vasectomy, in spite of him knowing that his wife wanted a child of their own. That was it for Rinaldi & then she decides to start the ‘Wild Oats Project’ which in short was to, for a year, follow an open marriage system where both she & Scott were concerned. For a year, both of them would live with each other & be as Rinaldi puts it ‘monogamous’ but, on week days, Rinaldi would live elsewhere & have a few relationships with other men & women. Why so? Well Rinaldi feels that since she can’t have a child anymore, might as well she should ‘sow her wild oats’ while she still could which meant that she would enjoy life by discovering & maybe fulfilling her innermost desires with other partners.
And that’s how the story begins.
But in a brilliant style, Rinaldi has managed to question many things that we normally take for granted. Through her memoir The Wild Oats Project, Rinaldi asks herself these questions which we should be asking ourselves:
- Are we really happy in a monogamous relationship or are we just tolerating our spouses because we think we find security in each other?
- Does bringing a child into the world help a marriage or destroys it?
- Is sex all about giving the male priority or the female or both?
- What happens when your needs in a marriage or in a relationship are not fulfilled? Do we change partners? Should we commit adultery? Should we cheat?
- What makes a partner cheat while he or she is still in a really good relationship?
- Can’t the people whom we have had sex with still be friends?
- Is sex just about ‘getting down & dirty’ or is there something more to it?
- What makes a successful marriage: Compatibility? Sex? Good looks? Or something else?
- How successful is an open marriage or an open relationship? Are there any pitfalls?
- Can an open marriage revitalize a stagnant marriage or ends it completely?
These & many other in-depth questions you will as a reader start to ponder upon while reading the memoir. What I love about this memoir is the conflicting questions & emotions which are thrown open for everyone to read. I really give a lot of credit to Rinaldi for being so bold in her memoir & more importantly truthful about her sex life with her husband Scott & all her other partners.
Another point I want to bring up here where the writer is concerned is this…we have no right to ‘slut sham’ her. Sure we can disagree or agree or argue about her point of view about the way her marriage was going or the decision she made…but we can’t term this wonderful, compassionate & rather humorous writer as the derogatory ‘slut’.
And if you think you want to ‘slut sham’ her then, do you have an answer to these questions below:
- Do you at times not wish that your partner was more like someone else’s partner?
- Do you not know that sex also is a way to reach the Masters in a higher plane of existence as stated by spiritualists past & present?
- Haven’t you cheated at least once in your relationships if not by adultery or the ‘organs’ but by the adultery of the ‘mind’?
- Why do we see so many divorces among monogamous couples?
A memoir is not written for a reader to judge the writer, but to try for a while to be in his or her shoes. That’s what I did & I feel you should do too & it will be worth it.
And as Joe South has sung his words & stated:
Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes
How do we know what we would do if confronted with certain situations that hamper our well-being? Maybe patience teaches us to sort of ‘turn the other side’ but even patience has a limit.
One thing that I learnt about this memoir was that, we don’t need to find security in others…not in our husbands, wives & children…but within us.
So please grab a copy of The Wild Oats Project by Robin Rinaldi & question yourself. Whether you are in your 20’s or 40’s, married or divorced, monogamous or non-monogamous, this book is for you.
Copyright © 2016 Michaelangelo Zane