Shannon (Giraffe Days)'s Reviews > Playing

Playing by Melanie Abrams
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's review
Jul 03, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: erotica, not-worth-it, 2011, bdsm
Read in January, 2011

Here's one that took me at least two years to finish. It's the debut novel of Melanie Abrams, a university lecturer who's husband, Vikram Chandra, is far more well-known. It's about a young woman, Josie, who is independently wealthy thanks to her parents, but who takes a job as a live-in nanny for a doctor and single mum, Mary. Mary has a young son, Tyler, who's slightly autistic or with a touch of Asperger's - he likes to count and measure everything; and a baby girl, Madeline.

Then Josie meets a doctor and Mary's colleague, Devesh, a handsome Indian man who likes sexual play, and all Josie's repressed guilt over her baby brother's death when she was just a child, and her neuroses come to the fore.

First of all, this novel was incredibly predictable, painfully so. Secondly, it was dull. Thirdly, oh my god Josie was unbearable. She is insufferable. She has so much angst, and has to over-think everything and agonise over it and indulge herself in her own pettiness. I had no patience for her whatsoever. I got maybe halfway and put the book down for two years; when I picked it up again (determined to finish what I'd started), I could remember it all quite well. I skimmed through the rest, reading sections here and there, and it was like I'd already read it, it was so predictable. Her problems with her parents, the guilt Josie carries, why she can't separate Devesh's "play" from true punishment for some past crime - I just didn't care about her, and the themes of the novel (which attempts to explore the psychological side of sexual playing) is obvious and not at all enlightening.

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