Skip to main content

The 29th Summer (1966)

Theodore Isaac Rubin
Trident Books

Annie Greenson is a high school librarian working in Manhattan.  As we open, she is giddy with excitement that the school year is finally over and summer is on its way.  But this will be a very special summer, the 29th summer, the last summer before Annie turns 30 years old.  An early visit to her mother in Brooklyn puts the major issue in focus: why can't Annie find a good man, settle down, and produce a grandchild or two?

As this is the 1960s, modern and semi-liberated Annie tries not to let this burden dominate her psychic life.  But her mind keeps returning to men, especially the "earthy" part of her mind, which occasionally goads her into the empty practice of self-gratification.  She has a friend, Karen, and together they complain about the scarce availability of decent men in the Big Apple.  Sometimes they go to the movies together--mostly they just complain over the telephone.  At one point she swears off thinking about men entirely--deciding instead to reacquaint herself with the city's many art museums.  She goes on a couple of boring dates that lead to boring sex with a guy name Jerry.  There's also a guy named Larry--the one man with whom she actually felt "chemistry," but who mysteriously disappeared after their brief holiday together.

If Rubin's name sounds familiar, perhaps it is because he is a practicing psychiatrist, former President of the American Institute of Psychoanalysis, and the author of several popular books in genre of self-help/psychology--including The Angry Book (1976), Overcoming Indecisiveness (1985), and Real Love What It Is and How to Find It (1990).   His best known book, Lisa and David (1964), has been adapted for the screen twice. 

The 29th Summer speaks to this professional lineage.  The story of Annie's summer unfolds like details recovered and remembered on the couch, suggesting this work of fiction has its roots in one or more of Rubin's patients.  And if nothing else, you have to admire Rubin's audacity--not every man would take it upon himself to narrate a woman's sexual interiority, even one who listened to such thoughts on a weekly basis.  Should be of interest to anyone who reads psychiatric case histories or is looking for yet another account of the 60s "sexual revolution." 

Popular posts from this blog

Whatever Happened to "Radar" O'Reilly?

A DA-7 hardship discharge brought Radar right back to where he started in life: Ottumwa, Iowa. In less than a month he knew he had made a terrible mistake.  Radar had neither the inclination nor the tenacity necessary to run a working farm, and soon he and his mother were even closer to bankruptcy than ever before.  After a long talk, Radar finally persuaded his ailing mother to go live with her sister in a neighboring town.

Somehow during this difficult period of transition, Radar became engaged to be married.  But after announcing his intention to sell the farm and all the livestock, Radar's bride-to-be began acting strangely--or so it seemed to Radar.  The night before the wedding, a panicked O'Reilly arrived unannounced on the doorstep of his surrogate father, Colonel Sherman T. Potter (who had taken a position shortly after the Armistice supervising the V.A. hospital in River Bend, Missouri, just a few hours south of Ottumwa).  As it so happened, Radar burst into the hou…

Violent Jeff Foxworthy Breakfast Snipes

The Inhuman Centipede

Maybe you’ve been ignoring the whole Human Centipede thing hoping it would eventually go away.  And no one would blame you.  By now, almost every pop- literate citizen is at least aware of the basic premise—psychotic German surgeon abducts three people and sutures them together, ass to mouth, to form the “human centipede” (after practicing on his three Dobermans, the lost, lamented “3-dog”).  No one should have to see something like that if they don’t want to.  For many, it’s bad enough just knowing it exists—try to “unthink” that premise once you’ve heard it.
The “human centipede” is a brilliant concept that made for a decent film.  Congratulations to writer/director Tom Six for imagineering a genuinely novel development in the horror repertoire, especially this late in the game.   By virtue of the premise alone, The Human Centipede was the biggest innovation in exploitation since the great hype-cloud that allowed The Blair Witch Project to blur possibility and probability back in 1…