Pauline Réage’s Story of O

“Unfasten your garter belt,” he says, “and take off your panties” (4).

Omg. If readers thought 50 Shades of Grey was intense, they should try reading Pauline Réage’s Story of O. This book goes really deep into some intense kink. Now-a-days, this little gem is overshadowed by 50 Shades of Grey, but in its hay-day, it was a red-listed book-on-fire! But, also very well hidden by those in “the scene.” I don’t recommend this to readers who enjoy the “softer” side of kink. I think this book is for readers who are experienced literary adventurers, and those with an intense interest in all things BDSM and Kink. Definitely, open minds only. Aside from Freud, I can mostly say this was one of the most difficult reads for me to date. That’s saying a lot! But, to those with a big interest in erotica, kink, psychology in literature, this book is the place to begin! There will not be another place to start unless you go back all the way to the middle ages and read Chaucer’s Wife of Bath which deals with consensual cuckolding. BDSM or kink literature is a very particular niche, and it’s always interesting for me to find little gems like Pauline Réage’s Story of O. If you have any recommendations, please add a comment.

“Then they made O get up and were on the verge of untying her, probably in order to attach her to some pole or wall, when someone protested that he wanted to take her first, right there on the spot” (10).

“If someone should notice, she could explain it any way she liked, or not explain it at all, whichever she preferred, but it was her problem, and hers alone” (56).

This book was originally written in French. It made me wish – again – that I could read French. Having studied some Samuel Beckett in the language, I know it makes a difference. Sometimes words have a different flavor to them. Anyway, what are the themes of this book? BDSM, obviously. Submission, monogamy, eroticized humiliation, which is what makes many readers cringe, and the utter political incorrectness of sexuality, dominance, and the sexually grotesque as a form of spectacle. You would think this wouldn’t be so taboo amongst the general population given the pervasiveness of these themes in modern film, but I guess not. In any case, I’m glad that I returned to it and finished reading Story of O; I was one that needed a break to be able to return to it with a fresh perspective. At least now I know why it’s called by some a “mystic book;” it requires a certain type of sensitivity.

Work Cited

Réage, Pauline. Story of O. New York: Ballantine Books, 26 March 2013.

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