In thirty-four days, it will have been exactly two years to the day since I’ve had sex.
Having sex wasn’t exactly high on Kat Carmichael’s priority list while her successful bakery was taking off, especially since things hadn’t been working very well in that department. And the last time she and her boyfriend, Ryan, even attempted the act, they found it to be physically impossible—resulting in pain and disappointment for Kat instead of sunshine and orgasms.
With just over a month until their four-year anniversary, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, encouraging him to see other people while she throws herself into physical therapy. Yet even with the well-intentioned (but wildly inappropriate) attempts at help from her best friends, Kat quickly discovers that a solo mission may not be the best approach.
Fortunately, physical therapist Ben Cleary, the shop’s best (looking) customer, volunteers to help out—strictly as a friend, of course. But as the line between love and friendship begins to blur, Kat stands to lose much more than a functioning set of lady bits if she can’t figure out what to hang on to…and what to let go.
First a warning, if you are at all uncomfortable with the word vagina, this book is not for you. I did a search and it is used 76 times in 384 pages. That’s like once every five pages. And that doesn’t count the euphemisms that get used, my favorite one being “special”. Now that everyone is clear that this book is about a broken vagina, let’s move on with the review.
I may have sprained my one-click finger when I responded to Mandi in order to review this book. I read the blurb and was very intrigued about vaginismus and how it could be incorporated into a romance novel. Romance books tend to talk about vaginas a lot, but hardly in the context of them malfunctioning or being broken. For the record, the author uses broken to refer to the heroine’s hoo-ha several times, so I feel comfortable using it in this review. I would also like to clarify that this book is pretty firmly women’s/literary fiction with romantic elements and it worked really well for me.
Kat, our heroine, is partners in a cupcake shop. She and two of her best friends own the shop and another good friend works with them. The four women have an amazing friendship. I want to work with them. They bantered like true friends. The dialogue wasn’t stuffy, nor did it feel like the author was trying too hard to make them sound like actual people. Kat’s bajingo started malfunctioning almost two years ago. She sought medical treatment, but didn’t pursue actually working on the therapy and now she’s facing her anniversary and decides it’s time to get her nethers in better working order.
Because of her guilt, she tells her boyfriend to start seeing other people. But only for 34 days, the deadline she has assigned for her lady bits to be functioning again. Kat somehow comes up with an idea that perhaps the hunky Ben can help her with vagoo needs.
Ben is great. Seriously he is. He has this way of walking into the shop at unexpected moments and hilarity ensues. He’s sweet and not-pushy. He’s kind and understanding and listens to Kat’s needs. He’s kind of nerdy and wears Firefly t-shirts on the weekend.
Kat is a bit much. She’s over the top with her need to control things, she’s a bit self-centered, she doesn’t have much of a filter, and she’s obsessed with her special working again.
This book was filled with laugh out loud moments. I laughed a lot. There is a scene where cupcakes are thrown. Lots of them. It was amazing. This quote is just an example of the ridiculousness, for context Ben walks into the shop and overhears the women are talking about sex toys.
“I kind of hope you broke a rib just now,” I say, grinning. He clutches the counter. “Oh my god, I’d deserve it. I’m sorry, but that was the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” “We like to keep things fresh here,” I say casually. “We are a full-service shop.” His eyes pop open, and he makes a small choking sound. Shannon giggles and dives back into the kitchen, and I close my eyes in dismay over what I just uttered. “Oh, shut up. You know what I mean.”
Kat’s broken vagina gets a lot of page time, but it didn’t feel overwhelming. I definitely know way more about the condition than I did a week ago. And I am okay with that. For as many laughs as Kat’s broken vagina elicited, there was plenty of serious to balance it out. The condition wasn’t immediately resolved once she met a nice man. In many ways, I felt like Kat not only fell in love with Ben, but her body and vagina. There was a process to get her bajingo in better working order. It was refreshing to read about characters that struggle with something as personal and intimate as a broken hoo-ha. There is definitely a stigma/hesitancy common in women that frequently prevents us from talking about our vaginas and the coordinating parts unless we are whispering. I don’t suffer from, nor do I know anyone with vaginismus, but I feel like the author treated the condition fairly and with great knowledge. In the back notes, the author discloses that she does/did suffer from vaginismus.
I had some minor quibbles. Kat’s journey takes place over a 34 day time span and for all her vagina talk, not once does she mention her period. I would have preferred that Kat spend less time thinking about her boyfriend and more time sexing up Ben, but that is the romance reader in me.
I really enjoyed this book. It was funny. It was also a little sad. It had a realness to it that I loved. Kat goes to the doctor and when she undresses she tucks her bra in her shirt and declares it “a thing women do.” I DO THIS! The conflict that happens seemed fitting and appropriately angsty. The grovel felt satisfactory. I enjoyed the progression of the relationship between Kat & Ben. Her friends/co-workers were amazing. I felt moderately educated on a disorder that until recently I didn’t even know existed. And to top it off, there are cupcake recipes at the end of the book.