The Story of O, Pauline Réage


I’ve picked some miserable Bookstravaganza choices this year. This book would have been hugely enjoyable in the right context (i.e., accompanied by a glass of wine, Arielle’s living room, and those little cheese-and-jalapeno jelly things Matthew makes), but reading it alone in my apartment on a Tuesday night with a utilitarian cup of black tea was just weird. I don’t read a lot of erotica (understatement of the year. I don’t read any erotica) so I wasn’t sure how to come at this. And I’m still not. I’m also 14 books into this and I’m not sure how much information one brain can take in, so trying to wrap my mind around this erotic novel about BDSM was more challenging than reading Dostoevsky, honestly.

Yeah. I dunno. I can’t really be articulate in summarizing the precursor to 50 Shades of Grey, which is how this novel is described if you google it. I’ve never read 50 Shades, but I’m guessing this is better written, so maybe give it a shot if you want to read BDSM erotica. If you google it, you’ll also encounter a bunch of neato information about the author. Pauline Reage was a pseudonym, and many people thought the novel was written by a man because no woman could ever write like that. So, you know, that’s some seriously institutionalized gender bias.  Really, it was written by French author Anne Desclos, to prove to her lover that a woman could, in fact, write like that. Her lover was into the Marquis de Sade. Of course.

Books read: 14


2 responses to “The Story of O, Pauline Réage

  1. Oh man! I too have never read 50 Shades, but I feel like that is probably kiddie pool stuff, compared to this book! I honestly didn’t know what to do with it after I read it. Donate it, throw it out? What if a kid found it?! This book has left me puzzled too. The ultimate objectification of a human. I had to try to be so objective reading it, almost like I was reading a case file. Too much like work for my liking.

  2. Pretty sure the only precursor to 50 Shades is Twilight 🙂

    50 Shades is super boring and vanilla. Is this one actually racy?

    I read a very little erotica, and usually don’t like it, but sometimes it’s just right!

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