Me, Naked? (and a Book Review of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky)

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky by Chris Greenhalgh is the latest book experience shared by those of us who blog at Chicago Moms Blog and its sister sites (disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy). In the novel, Chanel first seduces Stravinsky by appearing in his music studio completely naked. At this time in her life, she is in her thirties. This encounter made me stop and think, what would be the best way for me to seduce someone? Would I choose to stand before my potential lover naked in broad daylight like Chanel? No. I don’t even feel comfortable completely naked in the privacy of my own bathroom mirror! I’m actually kind of sad about that. I don’t expect my body to be perfect. I’ve had two children, I’m at least ten pounds overweight, and I’m now forty. Can’t I simply embrace my own nakedness as beautiful? Why can’t I imagine that someone else might think I’m beautiful too? I wish I could.

Now I’m curious whether many women would do what author Greenhalgh has Chanel do? The author is male, after all. I’m wondering whether a female author would have written about Coco and Igor’s first sexual encounter this way. Perhaps, but I think it is more realistic that a woman in her thirties in those days (’cause now 30 is the new 25 right?) would be wearing some of her best French lingerie. After all, isn’t that what sexy lingerie is for? I mean, don’t we need a bit of lifting in a couple of places and a bit of camouflage in others? For the women who can completely embrace their own nakedness, I applaud and envy you.

As for the rest of the novel, I truly enjoyed learning about Chanel’s business sense and biographical information. In fact, my favorite part was the chronology of events at the back of the book. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into the romance, which was 95% of the book. I believe that one of the problems is that Chanel is seducing another woman’s husband while his wife is convalescing in Chanel’s own home. This was so distasteful, that I had trouble getting past it. Furthermore, so much of the novel seemed to be straight out of a cheesy paperback romance, though I have never read one of those:

They undress rapidly and form a rocking knot that has them both grunting furiously with all the relief of a passion no longer strangled but given voice at last. The whole wood seems to catch the vibration. Birds answer from the topmost branches. A distant dog barks (p. 148).

Um . . . I just rolled my eyes at passages like this one. I’m not a prude, really. I just disliked these characters so much that I could not find myself taking any pleasure in theirs. My mom and dad have seen the movie and enjoyed it very much. As for me, I think I would have been better off with something non-fiction on Coco Channel.

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3 Responses to “Me, Naked? (and a Book Review of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky)”

  1. c2cmom Says:

    Uhm….no, as a mom in her early 30’s, that is not how I’d go about seducing anyone. 😉

    I too was fascinated by the chronology at the end of the book and the development of Chanel No. 5!

  2. bonggamom Says:

    If I were as slim as Coco Chanel, maybe I would seduce a man that way. But sadly I am not, and I’m not as confident as she is, either. It’s all about attitude — even a full-figured woman would do it if she feels comfortable with her body and confident of her sexuality.

  3. Vanessa Druckman Says:

    I actually kind of liked the boldness of her nudity. It was one of the few times in the novel that I got a sense of her fierce entrepreneurial spirit. But I too was completely turned off by their crass lack of morals. I didn’t feel the passion between them at all, just a bored selfishness. I also wished there had been a lot more about Coco Chanel and her fashion creativity.


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