Run Catch Kiss

Hartford Courant

Sunday July 11, 1999

An Oversexed Woman in a City Full of Men

By Greg Morago

Rudy Giuliani is probably none too happy with Amy Sohn. In the Gotham mayor’s effort to de-sex the city and rid it of every prurient action and deed, he neglected to sweet Sohn into the sewer.

The author of the lewd and lusty “Female Trouble” sex column in the New York Press, Sohn has managed to find raunch gloriously alive and well and living in the Big Apple. For years she has been titillating and shocking New Yorkers with the intimate details of her sex life as an Icy league-educated twentysomething looking for Mr. Right (and getting it on with plenty of Mr. Wrongs along the way).

For her first novel, the amusing “Run Catch Kiss,” Sohn doesn’t look too far for inspiration. Aided by her own healthy libido (as evidenced in her newspaper column), Sohn has crafted a tawdry roman-a-clef starring Ariel Steiner, an Ivy League-educated twentysomething who writes a column for a New York weekly called “run Catch Kiss.”

Been there? Not like this. Candace Bushnell, whose “Sex and the City” column was a must-read in the New York Observer, never got as down and dirty as Ariel Steiner. Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” gave us a likeably goofy heroine on the make, but even Bridget would be v.v. upset by Ariel’s sexcapades.

More honest and downtowner than Bushnell, more introspective than Fielding (whose own newspaper columns became a novel), Sohn’s alter ego Ariel is an Isadora Wing for the new millennium: brazen, frank, provocative, funny, sexed-up and not the least bit ashamed of needing multiple orgasms.

As the slim, swift story begins, Ariel finds herself in the post-graduate glums. Having recently been graduated from Brown, Ariel moves back home (literally, in with her parents) to pursue an acting career. Told she’s 15 pounds too heavy to cast – “I didn’t understand how the same figure that had served me so well horizontally could serve me so poorly professionally” – Ariel finds herself in line with the rejects. And not just professionally. Dateless, she becomes a devoted masturbator.

Things pick up quickly, though. She lands a part, gets a mindless temp job, snags a small apartment, shags a couple of guys and submits a “sex and the single girl”-type story to City Week, the alternative weekly she grew up reading. Amused, the paper asks her to become a columnist, writing about the “weekly struggles of a single girl in the city. A ‘Perils of Pauline’ from the slacker slut perspective.”

Just their girl, Ariel dives headlong into slutdom. Her column becomes a hit, and Ariel discovers she must keep having sex to keep her readers entertained. Soon, she finds herself embellishing and fabricating, including an over-the-top lesbian encounter and a seedy tryst in a Times Square video porn booth. Ariel’s editors get wise, and her sex-drenched world rips apart like a cheap condom.

Ironically, Sohn is at her best when describing Ariel’s relationship with her friends and family as opposed to chronicling her libidinous adventures. Not that the latter aren’t hilarious and graphically drawn-out. But the fact that they’re so naked makes them easily dispensable and forgettable. For those who haven’t seen enough, however, Sohn comes to the rescue with a novel that is deliciously naughty and, ultimately, touching (no, not that kind!).

Greg Morago is a staff writer in The Courant‘s features department.