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The Seven Minutes (1983)

The Seven Minutes (1983)

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3.76 of 5 Votes: 2
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067150097X (ISBN13: 9780671500979)

About book The Seven Minutes (1983)

This is a true story: I first saw The Seven Minutes at a resale shop, immediately bought the weathered copy for 50 cents and about 120 pages into it, the spine cracked something fierce, and no matter how delicately I tried flipping the following pages, preservation was fruitless; I really liked where it was going but I also wasn’t about to page through it and simply discard every page as I finished it, which is where that exercise would have headed. Oh well, I just read something else.tAbout a year later, I came across the same book, in the same store, and figured ‘what the hell’, and bought yet another 50 cent copy. Now, I am not an authority on the subject ('resale shop inventory and its reflection of public acceptance'), but I think this unlikely circumstance is a pretty good indication that the book pretty much sucks; finding two copies averaging about 35 years-old apiece within a year of each other, donated (of all things) to the same store located in a crappy little town about 30 miles from Chicago. Let’s face it, the book pretty much has to suck.tWell, here I am spitting out the feathers after another serving of crow. I actually enjoyed this book somehow! Not only were the origins of my obtaining this book enough to make me wary, but let’s just take a look at the elements involved; none of which I am particularly fond of:tCourtroom Drama: Anyone who has been on the receiving end of a bitch-slap from the farcical entity known as the American Justice System doesn’t need to immerse themselves in a novel concerning ‘courtroom drama’. Once involved in such an unfortunate chain of events, reading about a bunch of high-falutin’ windbags and morons plying their trade under the auspices of serving the public is just f*cking ridiculous, and can only serve to reopen deep & jagged wounds which the tender touch of time has slowly started to heal.tCensorship: Some people will carry on in regards to this issue with a zealousness bordering on the imbecilic; either defending the need for censorship with such preposterous evidence as to make one wonder how they manage to survive with a turnip for a brain ("Oh look, Mr. Pivotal Character is screwing a squid, heaven forbid the children should read this... they'll all be compelled to screw squids!"), or boneheadedly acknowledging utter garbage as reputable fare worthy of literary praise for reasons unbeknownst to me ("Oh look, Mr. Pivotal Character is screwing a squid, we can now certify this work justifies humanity’s introduction into the grand chain of existence").tPornography: I find it distasteful; a pitiful excuse for art or entertainment, shameless exploitation of men and women for unsavory ends, the culmination of the distilled dregs of degradation. “Style, structure, imagery should never distract the reader from his tepid lust….the passages in between must be reduced to sutures of sense, logical bridges of the simplest design, brief expositions and explanations, which the reader will probably skip”: thus Nabokov on smut. You can disagree with me, but are you really going to lock horns with the lauded sensibilities of Nabokov? tActually, scratch that. I had an epiphany recently which brought upon the uncomfortable revelation that I can probably be classified as a fan of porn, if not an outright addict. Upon alphabetizing my media after moving a week ago, it appeared that there was a shelf of movies without a single pornographic film……but at the 11th hour, while opening a box labeled ‘Chris – Misc.’ what should appear but my g/f’s copy of ‘Jail Whores’, finally giving some porn representation to the “H” through “L” rank and restoring balance to my life. Granted, this isn’t technically my DVD, but only those reading this review will ever be any the wiser.tAnyway, The Seven Minutes didn’t appear to have anything remotely adhering to my own narrow scope of reading preferences, not only for the reasons above, but also because it didn’t meet my two basic criteria; it was not a Harlequin romance nor was it written by Dr. Seuss. Despite the glaring fact this was probably way above my own stunted reading level, I gave it a shot.tWell-meaning attorney Michael Barret has paid his dues slumming it as a defense attorney for the unfortunate in the gritty 1960’s; for years he’s stayed true to his youthful idealism that doing the right thing trumps getting paid (his stoner clientele has paid him with everything from incense to patchouli-reeking seashell necklaces) but things have finally turned around. While he has a standing offer to join forces with his old chum, Abe Zelkin (another defense attorney with his same basic tenets on justice), his splendid work for his current firm has brought his skills to the attention of the Los Angeles county elite, where he is quickly endeared by mogul Willard Osborn, which leads to his courtship of Osborn’s daughter, society woman Faye. To Michael, there is no quandary as to which path to follow, he can partner with his old pal Abe and probably clip coupons for his remaining time in this mortal coil, or he can hop on the gravy train with Osborn Enterprises and continue laying the wood to Faye: all he has to do is pack up his fading idealism, cram that crap into a shoebox and toss it in the attic, never to see the light of day again.tAs Michael prepares to ascend into a superior social caste, a seemingly benign incident takes place; his old college friend, Phil Sanford, has inherited his father’s esteemed publishing house, and has recently delivered “The Seven Minutes” by expatriate J J Jadway to the yearning American public. A sting operation has arrested a bookseller in Barret’s back yard, and since Sanford has helped him out of some tough binds in their youth, he promises that he’ll clear up the matter of the bookseller’s arrest on charges of distributing pornography, as The Seven Minutes is a slender volume in which every single page hinges entirely on the act of sex and/or a woman’s thoughts during the seven minutes leading to her climax. In these thoughts she doesn’t just get stuffed by the dude currently playing hide the salami, but from other lovers, historic figures, and religious men of import. Barrett assures Sanford that he’ll have this wrapped up in no time, but he’s about to find himself in the eye of a shitstorm in no time.tBehind the scenes in LA County, tycoon Luther Yerkes is looking to replace an incumbent senator who’s pissed him off a few too many times, and believes that popular D.A. Elmo Duncan is the man he can jockey into this position, should he run for office on the heels of a successful trial which appeals to the public at large. Yerkes and his scheming staff initially think that the banning of The Seven Minutes would be a promising case, but when it isn’t panning out, divine intervention delivers them a rare gift in the form of a rape perpetrated by the son of another high-society douche: a rape which has occurred after the kid’s reading of The Seven Minutes. Yerkes and Duncan’s course is set; they have to somehow get the kid-off scot-free (shit, all he did was rape someone, after all, and his Daddy has all the good tee-times at the local country club) and use his actions to prove The Seven Minutes is detrimental to all who read it and score a huge victory for morality.tThings don’t look promising for Barrett, who happens to be quite the literary scholar and a voracious reader with an appreciation for The Seven Minutes, and determines that he has to defend the book. Will he risk the promising offer that the Osborn clan has extended to defend this trash? Can he possibly hope to battle the social elite and their insurmountable resources, which have been galvanized under Yerke’s banner? Can anyone possibly locate any remnant of the deceased J J Jadway that might allude to proof that he didn’t write it just to make a quick buck off smut? Does he have any reason to trust Zelkin’s research assistant on the case, with the shady name of Kimura?tThe book is definitely a compelling look at why the American justice system is the best that money can buy, with the plans-within-plans of the upper echelons covering their own asses while sucking the sweet nectar of life from the ordinary peons out there. Most of the central characters are reasonably interesting, although others are one-dimensional archetypes; there’s the well-intentioned librarian, the failed drunken poet, the nefarious and plotting pollsters in Yerkes employ, the overbearing affluent fathers, the uncouth and sleazy producer of stag films.tThe one thing that does bother me is the climax of the novel, in which everything is wrapped up nicely and placed in a gift box, with a cute little bow tossed on top for good effect. Had the last 50-75 pages maintained the course of the rest of the novel, I would see why Pocket Books called it ‘sensational’. As a last little FYI, this book is a pretty good source of recommendations for previously-banned works and other literary gems.

It's nice to see the enthusiasm for this book and its author. I read and enjoyed this in 1972 or 1973, at a time when my reading taste was very commercial and rather indiscriminate, often consisting of healthy doses of the fast-paced, glossy fiction that authors such as Irving Wallace, Harold Robbins and Arthur Hailey produced regularly - I was in my mid-teens and such reading material seemed very grown-up (and to be fair to myself, I was also reading more serious authors such as Ayn Rand). Despite decades of popularity, Wallace's name is unfamiliar to today's readers, his books found only on the shelves of used bookstores. As we're told on Wikipedia: "Wallace was a blue-collar writer who wrote for a blue-collar audience. Most critics were scornful of his novels' flat prose and pedestrian characters" .... "Wallace's name is not to be found in directories of writers but he possessed the skill to entertain millions and he was seldom pretentious about it."The recent fuss (and spectacular sales) of E.L. James's FIFTY SHADES Trilogy (which, other than flipping through a few random pages I haven't read and don't intend to read) reminded me that THE SEVEN MINUTES is about the controversy over a sexually explicit book - could reading about the thoughts and fantasies of a woman during seven minutes of sexual intercourse actually incite a college student to rape? - so I've decided to have a go at re-reading it.The novel is dedicated "To Fanny, Constance, Molly, who made it possible" - it's a certainty that few of today's readers who so easily obtain a copy of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by merely walking into a bookstore where it's prominently displayed, are familiar with the three women mentioned and the controversial works in which they appeared: Fanny Hill (Cleland's MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE), Constance Chatterley (Lawrence's LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER) and Molly Bloom (Joyce's ULYSSES). All three novels were sexually explicit, considered 'pornographic,' and were the subject of an important obscenity trial which resulted in changing the public's perception of 'pornography' and what could or couldn't be sold or mailed. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY would be sold 'under the counter' - if at all - without these three women, who made it possible for today's readers to casually walk into their local bookstore to obtain a copy and find it prominently displayed.6/24: Michael Korda, who was Wallace's editor at Simon & Schuster for many years, felt that Wallace's novels were bloated potboilers, and the weight of some of his 1960s novels would seem to back up that opinion. Even at 607 pages, THE SEVEN MINUTES is somewhat 'flabby' - Wallace certainly did his research on famous pornographic works, their authors, and the criticisms - or praise - leveled at them, but, due to his need to impart this information to the reader, unfortunately this results in chunks of dialog that are often unwieldy or just plain didactic, in which characters often quote such things at length (well, several of the leading characters are lawyers...).I found the second half of the book better-paced than the first half: Wallace ratchets up the suspense as various elements of the backstory begin falling into place. THE SEVEN MINUTES is still valid today, though it will seem dated to many of today's readers: pay phones abound, and a simple DNA test would pinpoint the identity of a suspected rapist.

Do You like book The Seven Minutes (1983)?

I'm disappointed that I didn't read this book until today. This book was first published in 1969 (I wasn't even born)and the subject matters holds good even today. The plot revolves around a fictional, pornographic novel called Seven Minutes. The book is touted as the most pornographic book ever written. It does raise a few hackles among the conservatives. To the liberals,the book is all about a peep into sexuality in general and female sexuality in particular. The conservatives want the book to be banned and censorship law to be invoked. The courtroom episodes are brilliant and arguments cogent. The twist in the last 20 pages is mind blowing.
—Harish Puvvula

The first half really caught my imagination: the theories about censorship, valiant defense of the First Amendment, positive portrayal of librarianship.... The actual trial was a bit much, particularly near the end, but that's simply because I don't like fast-paced mysteries that keep adding more possibilities until I just want to jump to the end of the book and find out what happened. Plus, the love affair at the end was daft. I'd still recommend it, if you're interested in censorship. There are some very interesting references to real-life First Amendment trials and good information about the etymology of various curse words.
—Marjorie Elwood

The Seven Minutes is a book based on defending the book "The Seven Minutes" by J. J. Jadway, a fictional book that describes a woman's mind during the seven minutes of sexual intercourse. The book is republished and then, all hell breaks loose. There is a murder after the purchase of the J.J. Jadway book and the murderer cites the book as the reason for his crime. Barrister Mike Barret is called into the scene by the publisher of the book to defend the "piece of art". This book is an excellent display of the corruption that runs in the system. Basically, this can your inspiration to start the "fuck the system!" way of thinking and it really has an excellent display of court suspense. Recommended to all above 16.

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