The Story of O

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The Story of O

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Jun 24, 2011, 3:44 pm


I was just wondering what people on here thought of The Story of O, as I have just recently read it. You should be able to see my review (not the best, I'm quite tired today) if you go to the book's page.

While I found the story quite beautiful in many ways, I also found it lacking in resolution in others; not just the ending, but also in terms of conflicts and story threads that didn't seem to go anywhere. Also, what did you all make of the consensual non-consent, or do you even think it could be described as that?

I'd like a general discussion on the book, either way. I would be interested in hearing more opinions on it.

Jun 24, 2011, 3:49 pm

O is more important than it is good. It broke barriers, bringing Domination to the mainstream, but it was not a very good book. To be honest, I did not finish it, because I was tired of plodding through it. I skipped ahead to see how it ended (or didn't end) and decided I did not need to read further.

Actually I have read few things that I thought were well done on the subject. The movie Secretary was fairly decent, but as to books, they either seem too contrived, too perfect, or read like a bad religious tract.

Jun 25, 2011, 8:32 am

I know what you mean about Secretary, though it has been criticised, and rightly so, for pathologising BDSM. Both people have what could be described as mental health issues, which are given as the reason for them being into BDSM. Whilst BDSM can be a way for people to work through issues they have had, it is by no means the only way in which people can be into it; Secretary can risk making it look like all people are into it because they have 'issues'. Also, the ending was extremely normalising. They bring back their relationship to what is seen as acceptable in mainstream US/western culture. They get married, the woman apparently leaves her job and stays at home keeping the house while the hubbie goes out to work, they keep just a little kink in to suggest that it is a follow on from the same relationship we saw earlier. It's like saying to the audience 'don't worry, they can be happy and normal in the end too'. That said, if Secretary is viewed as but one way in which a person's life can go if they are into BDSM, I can appreciate it. I still count it as a favourite film and get a lot out of it - it does have its problems though, particularly in a gendered sense. I'd strongly recommend Weiss' chapter in Peggy Kleinplatz and Charles Moser's book Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures. She offers a strong critique, although I would add that if it is understood as only one interpretation of BDSM relationships, it can be acceptable in a sense (although her staying at home and being a good little wifey makes me cringe every time).

As far as O is concerned, I agree with you that it's a barrier breaker, and that it's poorly written in places! I did find though that I really wanted to find out what was going to happen next, and I felt myself wanting the best for O, even though some of her thought processes made me feel queasy.