Review: Swing Set by Joanna Kadish

Posted: May 7, 2015 in Prose, Uncategorized





Shelly and her husband Steve dabble in internet pornography and sex clubs. Their enjoyment reaches heights they never could have imagined, and yet they keep pushing the boundaries. Soon they’re involved in partner swapping and triads. Their journey of self-discovery takes them to some unexpected places, and they learn surprising new things about each other. Along the way three women come together and learn to support each other, amid deepening friendship and loyalty. Written in a style that is best described as Tom Perrotta meets Alison Espach, Swing Set shows from a woman’s point of view how free-ranging sexual experimentation can affect a relationship, and how a hobby can become an obsession in a thoroughly modern, internet-savvy world where sex is simply another haute appetite. (

5 out of 5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The writing and editing are superb. The detail and description that the author brings to the story creates a feeling of reality that swept me away.

We are privy to all Shelly’s thoughts and feelings. Early in the story we learn that as a teenager she was afraid of sex due to a very religious and repressive mother, who even banned mirrors in the house to prevent vanity. When she met her husband her level of sexual experience was very limited. Steve was patient and with a therapist’s help Shelly was able to overcome her fears. They had a very satisfying sex life for the first four years until boredom started to set in.

In Shelly’s description of Steve we learn that he rarely opened doors or pulled out chairs for her, Never did he ask her how she was feeling. He resented her leaving a stressful, but high paying analyst position for a magazine job. He criticized her in front of their friends, grumbles when she buys clothes. Steve is obsessed about his mother. Shelly’ grandfather was German. Steve’s Russian born grandfather had been beaten to death by Nazis after weeks of torture at a slave labor camp. Even though Shelly has converted to Judaism  she will never be accepted by Steve’s Jewish family.

Joanna Kadish gives a vivid and very believable description of the internet porn sites, the sex clubs and the partner swapping. Will this couple who seem so ill-suited to each other find sexual happiness? You will enjoy reading about their journey of exploration in Swing Set.


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