While the title (and the content) of this book may sound scandalous, at heart, this is a guidebook to becoming a woman. As a quote from the book goes, “One is born female, but being a woman is a personal accomplishment.”
Advice to a Young Wife From an Old Mistress is a nonfiction book that draws from the experiences of a mistress to a married man. However, this book is not a titillating tale of lust and adventure; this is a thoughtful treatise on how a mistress lives in a restricting society, and the pain, allure, beauty and wisdom of being one despite that.
Interestingly, it does not condone the nature of adultery. As the book goes, “Being a mistress is on the whole rather inconvenient, bad for society, bad for one’s creature aspects- children, a home, security, old age…” But also, it does not shy away from what it is and why people – men, in particular, at least for this book – engage in it. “… this inconvenience is part of its attraction.”
The book has five chapters, and each discusses an interesting facet of a mistress’s life. Yes, it includes love and sex, but it also goes deeper than that – talk of personality, of creativity, of reality. All of these are great notes for not only the young wives that this book was meant for, but also for women everywhere, especially those who feel lost in themselves and incomplete of being.
Overall, this was an eye-opening read for me, and reminded me of my own personal goals and perspectives when it comes to myself and my relationships. “You make yourself happy,” as Matthew, the mistress’s lover, pointed out. He then added, “I am simply part of it.” The book drops little gems like that, all probably with one primary focus that a favorite blogger of mine summarized in a few words: be the empress of your own happiness, first and foremost.
I personally enjoyed savoring the thoughts of this old mistress, and I can see myself reading and rereading a couple of passages of this book every so often. It’s thought-inducing material, and good reading for wives, mistresses, single ladies, and all women alike.
“When one is young, and a new wife, it is easy to forget that the first and last requirement is to be woman.”
Review first written May 3, 2018.