Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just Do It--Douglas Brown

Warning: This is a book for adults; I'd give it a respectable R rating. I found it to be tastefully done; others might disagree.

Every published book has its hook: the detail that gets people's attention. It's what makes an agent or publisher think they can find a market; the phrase on the back cover that makes the bookstore browser say, "Hmmm," long enough to take a closer look.

In the case of Just Do It, the hook is this: Doug and Annie Brown, loving parents of two young girls, make a commitment to have intimate relations every day for 100 days. (For the record: It was her idea). An article that mentioned this book made me go "hmmm" long enough to place a hold on my library's copy. I mean: the Browns' kids are seven and three. At that stage of parenting, even 100 days of daily dish washing can be a challenge. One hundred days, no matter what, of daily couple time involving penetration? Enquiring minds want to know how they managed that.

The thing about hooks is, they sell the book, but they aren't necessarily what the book is about. As Brown writes,
It was more than a relationship experiment. It also was a pursuit that could divert us from a day-to-day existence that left us increasingly disoriented and occasionally blue.
"We need to step back," Annie told me. "Take a breather. Stop spinning our wheels so much. For at least one hundred days, starting soon, we'll just live in the present."
"In the now," I said. "I've always wanted to live in the now."
That's what the book is about: finding balance in a very full life. Making priorities amid the stress of juggling family, work, and child-centered activities, in a culture where parents' relationships often take a back seat to all those things.

Doug and Annie initiate various lifestyle changes related, sometimes tangentially, to the 100-day commitment. From bedroom decor, to nutrition, to relaxing with yoga, to learning about Hinduism, their lives are impacted in surprising ways, a ripple effect of the changes in their intimate life.

Their relationship evolves, too. As they prioritize time together alone, Doug and Annie rediscover the joy of certain PG-rated activities which had faded in memory over the course of several major moves and the arrival of their two daughters, such as hiking together without children in tow, or spending an afternoon together at a coffee shop. They become more open with each other (not just in the bedroom), and begin to address decisions that had been stalling the forward-momentum of their lives.

Interested in replicating the Browns' experiment? Don't bother with a book; take the title at its word: just do it. Maybe see your doctor first. But for the rest of the population--those who might rather experiment with eating fudge for 100 days straight, for instance. Or, sawdust.--it's worth a read. Brown's description of his family's journey is a reflection of far more important things--life priorities, enduring love, living "in the now"--than about how often any given couple chooses to do the deed.


  1. how about a different type of pasta for 100 days straight? ;-)

  2. There you go: Pasta. In Italy. That's my next book, right there. ;-)

  3. Just thought I'd say hi from LT. I saw your blog listed over there and wanted to drop in. It's looking good!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Cindy!