A Reviewer Said My Adultery Book Is Boring – I Agree

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Because adultery is boring if you do it right.

Boring things don’t get noticed, and that is precisely what you want when you’re having an affair. But should my book have been boring too? Or is it only boring to non-practitioners? These are some excellent questions as both a cheater and a writer.

The Book Review

No one will leave an online review for a book about cheating, unless it is hateful. This makes it hard to judge the quality and usefulness of my work because I don’t know what readers are thinking.
I had sent the book to cheaters when I was drafting it though. Their excellent feedback was good because they had a vested interest in the topic. My friend @monalisasmiled has been a constant companion and given me a great deal of insight. So has my lover.

But I haven’t received any feedback since I published the book on New Year’s Eve last year.
Earlier this summer, a man asked for a link to my book and said he’d buy it. We traded a couple of emails, but I wasn’t sure if he went on to buy my book and forgot about it.

This week, as I cleaned out my email, I came across our exchange and decided to follow up. I was explicit in asking for honest feedback. I didn’t want platitudes or those willy-words we use sometimes, but something of substance. This is what he wrote:

Honest feedback – I guess my expectations were that it would be less of a “how-to” manual, and more of a “benefit of”, along with racy stories. To me, non-monogamy is continually fascinating from a human/Judaeo-Christian standpoint, but I really tend to gravitate toward the consensual form of non-monogamy, rather than the “cheating” form. (No judgment – just a personal preference). 

Cheating to me involves too much deception and too much dishonesty, and too much potential to hurt someone else. (Not that I don’t enjoy reading about it.) 

So I love reading about open relationships, swinging, polyamory, and other situations in which all partners know what is going on, but may have NO idea what they are getting into. Again, no judgment, just a personal preference at this point in my life.

Not sure if this will be helpful – but again, thanks for following up, and very best to you going forward.


First off, I didn’t feel judged! I asked for frankness, and I got it.

Secondly, his comments were helpful! I prefer an opinion to some vague non-statements about goodishness.

To summarize, I would say he found the book boring because it wasn’t spicy enough. People during the writing process told me the same thing. One reviewer called it a procedure manual and I had to agree.

In response, I added more of my personal story at the beginning of each chapter for context. But it might not have been enough.

Thirdly, in my mind, it was my “how-to” book. I planned to stay married, so needed to know how to cheat and cheat well. Even so, a how-to shouldn’t be like an Ikea technical instruction.
I learned a lot from writing the book and that has gotten me to the hotel rooms and home again every time (so far). If I hadn’t done the research, this story might have had a different outcome–

How Was Dinner Last Night?

I told him I was meeting a friend for dinner at a restaurant twenty minutes away. Covid Phase 2 openings had come into effect, and I needed to get out. I was really meeting my lover and going to a hotel, so I picked a place as a cover story and off I went.

On our way to the hotel, I said,

“Let’s go by the restaurant to see what’s going on there.” It was a little out of our way.

“Sure. Why not?” He said, mostly because I was driving.

The place was still closed! I googled it, but I had looked up the wrong location.

“Did you have fun last night?”

“Yes, it was so great to catch up, except the stupid place wasn’t open!”

“I didn’t think it was. Dave mentioned that the other day. So what did you guys do?”

“Oh, we went to a hotel and had sex.” Isn’t what I said, but if I’d lied about dinner, I might as well have said it.

But I didn’t say that because I did the most boring thing in the world: I checked out my cover story. Which is something I talk about in my adultery book.

“We just went back to her place and ordered in. It was such a pain once we met up; it was the easiest.”

And just like that, our discussion was over.

Fascination Is In the Eye of the Beholder

My reviewer is a gentleman. You can see that from his comment. But he’s not a cheater, so doesn’t have skin in the game. But when it’s your sweet little butt on the line, the game becomes fascinating. Fascinating enough to plough through an Ikea encyclopedia if you need to survive.

That’s what I was counting on in the people who read my book. But I agree with my reviewer. It could have been sexier, so for the second edition, if there is one, I’ll try.

As one minor counterpoint, I’ve had a lot of sexcess © applying the details captured in my book as a cheating.

And the devil is in the details.

You know, details like knowing the restaurant hubby knows is closed, is closed

Author of How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress, several short stories, I'm active on Medium @teresajconway where I sometimes share my blog posts, and I'm a fair-weather tweeter @tjconway69.

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