Thy Neighbor’s Wife by Gay Talese: Journal Entry

Thy Neighbor’s Wife is a non-fiction book on sexual revolution by the American writer Gay Talese. The texts explore the changing sexual lives of Americans from various social classes. The book begins with a high-income class couple Jennifer and Eric buying a summer home where they would be spending their holidays. Jennifer is proud of her husband’s achievements such as a Mercedes, a boat and membership to an expensive golf club before the age of thirty. However, she hated being rich but pretended to love the expensive lifestyles.

Jennifer becomes jealous of her neighbour Alex Foster due to her beautiful body and is afraid that her husband Eric would be attracted to Foster. On the other hand, Foster was beginning to feel happy for she had been feeling lonely in her new home but now hoped for a friendship with Jennifer. After moving in to their new home, Jennifer and Foster’s friendship continues to grow. Similarly, Foster’s interest in the couple’s sex life grows. She often wonders whether they both love each other and whether Eric is romantic as Jennifer claims. Eric and Jennifer form fictional characters in a book Foster’s book. Foster invites Eric and Jennifer to a summer party in her house. Being new in a neighborhood, Jennifer and Eric feel uncomfortable in the party.

Jennifer discovers that she is sexually attracted to women. She continually keeps on looking at Alex and enjoys her company when they spend an evening at Jennifer’s house. However, Alex keeps the lesbian topic out of their discussions to avoid awkwardness. However, Jennifer is surprised to find out that his husband knows that Alex is gay. Jennifer’s sex life with Eric begins to wane after Eric starts grooming to take over their family business. Eric begins avoiding Jennifer, and she feels lonely. In turn, Jennifer keeps herself preoccupied with decorating the house to avoid thinking about her sexual problems with Eric.

As the distance between Jennifer and her husband Eric grows, so does her relationship with Alex. Jennifer frequents the volleyball game at the beach where most of the team members are gay. Jennifer gets injured during the game, and Alex offers to drive her home. However, they get closer as Alex cares for Jennifer’s injured leg. Furthermore, Jennifer tries to coax Alex into having sex with her after learning that her husband is having an affair. However, Alex refuses her advances noting that Jennifer is married. Jennifer later gets into an argument with Eric for talking to his father about Eric’s behavior. Eric blames Jennifer for ruining his chance to run his Father’s firm.

Jennifer goes to see Alex three days later after the fight with Eric. Alex is happy to see her and feels sorry for her. However, Jennifer tells Alex that she is the only thing she wants. Alex and Jennifer make love and later spend the night together. Both spend the next day together undressed. Jennifer is happier with Alex than she ever was with her husband, Eric. Therefore, after talking with him, Jennifer agrees to see a lawyer to effect their divorce. Later, Jennifer looks forward to spending the Christmas holiday with her lover Jennifer. The text also shows the sexual revolution and liberation especially for women such as Diane, Sarah and Jackie. Jackie moves in to live with Sarah. The novel changes the way Americans perceive sexuality and the way they look at each other.


Work Cited