This is non-fiction, a memoir. The author goes on about how she’s not ashamed of her lifestyle, etc, yet the publisher’s website says “Sophie Morgan” is a pseudonym. If you’re not ashamed, why the pseudonym?
The prologue is effective, putting the reader in the spot of the voyeur. If you happened upon an alley, seeing a man pull a woman’s hair, would you break it up or watch on? Because it looks like assault, I’d break it up. But the author explains it’s a scene of Domination and submission.
So we shouldn’t intervene when we see someone being assaulted, just in case the victim is submissive? Crime doesn’t need another reason for witnesses not to come forward.
Thing is, what happens in the prologue goes against the rest of the text. Sophie Morgan insists that she’s only submissive when it comes to her sex life, only in the privacy of her home, someone else’s, or a hotel. Not out in public, where anyone could see and “misunderstand”. So I doubt the scene actually happened; it’s just an example. Which is a massive cop-out for a memoir.
From her younger years imagining she’s Maid Marion being tied up, Sophie Morgan grows up into submission. In her college years she discovers she likes being spanked. Then she’s friends-with-benefits with Tom, to whom Sophie gifts him a paddle to brand her arse with the word SLUT.
Through her journalist job, she meets James, a stockbroker and dominant with whom she falls in love. When he’s not around to “punish” her, he makes her do it herself – note the chopsticks scene. But it’s after the clothes-pegs-and-wooden-spoon scene that James abruptly breaks off contact, refusing to answer Sophie’s numerous calls, emails, and texts. When he eventually turns up on her doorstep, will she forgive him?
Sophie seems rather contradictory. She claims to have hard limits, then goes on to prove that she doesn’t. She humps someone’s leg, is branded with the word SLUT, tortures herself with chopsticks-as-clamps, and withstands clothes-pegs-as-clamps. Yet the thing that tortures her most is James’ lack of contact – she falls apart when facing the single life.
I like Sophie’s writing, the fact she’s a “grammar fascist”. But I don’t respect her because at times she doesn’t respect herself. She hates her partners for not letting her come, yet in private she doesn’t get herself off. Even alone, she still won’t take back self-control.
Tellingly, Sophie neglects to address the aftermath of “punishment”. Does she use salve on her wounds? Does the pain continue for days? How does she handle sitting down in public, at work? At the end of final chapter, Sophie delivers her ultimatum, and the epilogue shows that James has made his decision, but how did he come to decide that? Perhaps it’s James who needs to write a memoir.