Amelia C. Gormley's Reviews > Resistance

Resistance by Cat Grant
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really liked it
Recommended for: Anyone who appreciates beautifully crafted subtext
Read 3 times. Last read December 19, 2012 to December 20, 2012.

Brilliantly Subversive, Deliberately Horrific (aka: read the freaking subtext)

It took me a long time and a couple read-throughs to digest this book enough to collate my thoughts into the ability to write a review, which I felt really moved to do because I think a lot of people miss the point of this book, both on the positive and the negative end of the spectrum.

If your first reaction to this book is "OMG HAWT I WANT IT" or "OMG AWFUL HOW DARE THEY" - STOP. Stop right now. Step away from the keyboard. Think about it for a while. If those are your first reactions, you have entirely missed the subtext of what is going on here. Go back, re-read, and pay closer attention.

Let's get one thing straight. As a practitioner of BDSM, I cannot in any way, shape or form call what happens in this book BDSM. BDSM is a consensual practice, and for anyone with a modicum of common sense, "consent" actually means "informed consent." I mean, let's look at the acronym RACK: Risk-Aware Consensual Kink. At what point in this process was Bran ever truly "aware" of anything? Much less the risk of what was going on? Since Bran was in no way, shape, or form informed enough to give true consent, I can't call this BDSM.

Which is the entire freaking point. Calling this a book about BDSM should rightfully offend any practitioner of BDSM. People who practice RACK should be appalled by what happens in this book, because it is a perversion of everything we hold dear. I sure as hell was. But I was appalled with a purpose.

So while parts of this book were undoubtedly erotic, they were erotic on the level of torture porn, not on the level of BDSM and there is a big, big difference.

But it's so much more than torture porn. It's an object lesson in why communication is so important in a BDSM and how without communication, BDSM is just abuse. Without communication, there can be no A in RACK. And without the A, there can be no C.

I can't presuppose the authors' intent, but it seems very obvious to me, due to the number of subtle-yet-undeniable parallels, that this book was deliberately constructed to be the anti-50SoG. And by that, I don't mean this is "50SoG done right" as a number of people have called it, because it's not done right. Not by a long shot. Let's be very clear about that. In absolutely no sane world should this be considering "right." If you think this is something to aspire to in your own kinky life and if you're not horrified by what happens in this book, you've absolutely missed the point. Put the book down and educate yourself before you get seriously injured.

This book isn't a "here's how it's really done" gesture of one-upsmanship. It's far more subversive and subtle. This book conducts a study, by compare and contrast, of why 50SoG DOESN'T AND WOULD NEVER WORK.

Let's examine just a few of the parallels between the two books.

(view spoiler)

Okay. That's just in the first, what, 25% of the book? Eight rather obvious parallels. That needs to tell us something. The parallels are handled subtly enough so that they're not immediately apparent or obviously derivative, but they are unmistakably present, and this book is far too well written for that to have been an accident.

The parallels are deliberate. Why are they there? Because the authors are playing Mythbusters. Don't know what that is? Basically, it's a TV show that takes urban legends/myths and uses science to deconstruct them by trying to recreate them exactly as they are described and seeing whether or not they work. If they can replicate the results, the myth is confirmed. If they can't, it's busted.

With me so far?

In this case, instead of using science to deconstruct the myth of 50SoG, the authors use their real world BDSM knowledge. They recreate the 50SoG scenario and then they absolutely shred it with a cold, hard dose of reality.

One disaster at a time, they show why 50SoG wouldn't work given the set-up of the situation. And most of that lesson hinges on the absence of communication.

At the end of the book, Bran tells Jonathan "we stopped talking" but what he's saying there is "we stopped communicating." Jonathan didn't allow Bran to communicate at all, and Jonathan didn't communicate, he pontificated. And without that communication, what you're left with is abuse. It's not BDSM, it's abuse.

This book is not romantic. If it titillates, it should only do so on the most base, crude, voyeuristic level. This book should be considered intellectually horrific (as should 50SoG) and anyone reading it should be deeply, deeply disturbed by it, whether or not they know the first thing about BDSM.

It's a book about how BDSM without communication is just abuse. Without communication, there can be no informed consent, and without consent, anything that happens is abuse. It simply is. What this book shows us is just how terrible 50SoG is, because it takes that abuse and tries to make it pretty and romantic. In this book, the abuse is not pretty and romantic, and it strips away the pretty, romantic mask from what happens in 50SoG and reveals the ugly underside of what is really going on.

Then it goes on, in the sequel, to turn this lesson on its head and show the flip side, how once communication is established, everything falls into place and works. Once and only once there's communication, trust and even love can develop, and a beautiful relationship can evolve. But that's a review for another time.

It's a brilliant construction, it truly is, and I have to give Ms. Haimowitz and Ms. Grant mad props for being so deftly subversive. I'm only giving four stars because it still makes me cringe and want to read with a hand over my eyes while peering out of the slits between my fingers, but the writing, and the lesson it teaches, is absolutely top-notch.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
December 19, 2012 – Started Reading
December 20, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 8, 2013 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Steelwhisper This all comes to naught if people read these books and end up stating that

...this was written by a lifestyle sadist to show how a sadist behaves and what a sadist is...

Which means that the effect of these books is a thousand times worse than the effect of FSoG. Compared to the harm this series does, FSoG is a storm in a teacup. These books here really go and warp people's idea of what BDSM is. To the negative!

I by the way disagree completely that there is any sort of consent possible in a sequel with the same participants and without prolonged therapy for Bran and a separation between him and Jonathan. It's not just lack of communication which is a problem here.

What I resent by the way is the misleading blurb, which on top of everything else misleads laypeople.

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