Turner Grant’s To Venus and Back is a memoir exploring a middle-aged man’s dating experience in the search for love.
With the heart of a country boy, Grant is a Harvard-educated, well-travelled architect who once ran for Congress and was versatile in the Washington D.C. world. After losing his wife of 20 years and finding himself widowed at 51 with two sons, one with special needs, Grant feels adrift and begins to test the dating waters.
Over three years, he meets scores of women. From a divorcée he encounters at a Spring Gala to a dating set-up covered by the Washington Post to connections made from online dating services, Turner’s architectural eye for detail clearly draws him to smart, classy, attractive women.
Within the mix, he entertains a wide array of personalities, including a tight-lipped analyst searching for a father for her son, a woman in banking who claims to see ghosts, and a school administrator planning sex parties at her newly purchased home. Grant includes colorful details of each get-together. Encounters even include trips abroad.
In addition to feedback from family members and a co-worker, Grant received opinions from what he dubs “The Boys,” representing Turner’s inner thoughts. Acting like a Greek chorus, they add an amusing dimension to his quest. “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! … Hold on there, Kemosabe! She said it! She said, ‘I love you!’” notes one of The Boys during a sexual encounter. “But wait a minute,” counters another. “Is she in love-love with our boy Turner, or just loving the moment with our boy?”
The book’s final chapters, written after the dating merry-go-round, include interesting insights into Grant’s experiences, such as this quote from Loretta Young: “Love isn’t something you find; it’s something that finds you.”
As with the popular ’90s relationship guide this book’s title alludes to, Grant’s entertaining story should appeal to both men and women searching for romance and, ultimately, love.