Thursday, October 18, 2012

Diary of a Submissive - A BlogHer Book Review

When the ubiquitous Fifty Shades of Gray hit the streets (and seemingly every middle-aged woman's kindle) earlier this year. I loved it.  Not because I actually read it, but because it kept our pal S in stitches for weeks. She would giggle and titter as she explained to me and M how she would have to call her baby sister for logistical directions (and sometimes diagrams) to illustrate how exactly they were doing that. Fifty Shades came at a time when our friend needed some real diversion and relief. And it gave her exactly that. 

So when the opportunity to review Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening hit my desk, I said sure. I could use something completely different from my usual reading fare. I put on my best free spirit hat on and said bring it. WTFN.

So I opened Diary of a Submissive with a open mind. (After warning my husband that he would be in serious shit if he made fun of me.) It's research, dude. See the disclaimer.*

Alas. This whole submissive thing, I don't think it's for me.

"You don't say," says M. Who would know.

But here's the thing. I truly enjoyed the writing...when I wasn't squirming or pushing back feelings that were triggered from being in a former relationship where the lines of dominant male vs. just plain old abusive asshole were more than blurred.I found Sophie Morgan incredibly skilled at crafting scenarios, not just sexual ones. Her intro is brilliant. She uses a second person present tense narrative (not as easy as it seems) to pull the reader in as a wayward bar patron accidentally witnessing a public scene of humiliation.
There is something dark and yet compelling about it that means while normally you'd be horrified, instead you're intrigued.
And I was. I found myself pulled in despite myself. But then the triggers. Oh the triggers. I was actually more than fine with the physicality of it all. But when the name calling starts, what makes Sophie hot, gave me shivers. Not the good kind.

Stories of sexual domination and submission should come with disclaimers. Kind of like McDonald's coffee. Well yeah, sure the average person would realize, but just to be safe....

Yet Sophie, a young, independent women trying to craft her career as a journalist takes great pains to assure the reader that her experiments with submission take place within safe relationships. Friends first. Lovers next. Dominants after that. I truly started to like her first real Dominant partner Thomas so much that it pained me to read how far the experiments led. I felt betrayed the moment Sophie said she did. Yet she kept going....

So, yes, while I struggle to get my head around arousal through submission, I recognize I have my own baggage to carry. Yours might contain some ridiculously sexy handcuffs and for that, I say, get on with your bad self. I'm eager to hear and join the conversation around this book. I hope you are too.

*disclaimer: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed here are nothing but my own. (duh). 


Kristin said...

Great review. It has me intrigued.

Justine L said...

Yes ... maybe that's part of it ... that the story is about her, but also about her reader. Or *could* be about her reader. And how does a Dom draw the boundaries around a sexual relationship, so that the name-calling doesn't bleed over into "real life" outside of the bedroom, or into a thought pattern that affects his (or her!) other relationships and interactions, even platonic ones? It's a sticky wicket.

Great review.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Your pal S sounds like a hoot!

I've been doing so much work around boundaries lately, how to develop and patrol them in a healthy way. The name-calling makes me wonder how you might do that AND have healthy boundaries at the same time. Or do you have to have one or the other in any moment?

Sounds worth a read.

jjiraffe said...

"You don't say." Hee! Awesome.

I haven't read 50 Shades because I have been heeding the warnings of the awful, no good, horrible writing.

That's an interesting point about the triggers: I haven't heard that elsewhere about this subject matter, but it makes a lot of sense.