Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Feb 2015 Story of O/Bared to You > Discussion Main Book "Story of O" *Spoilers*

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message 1: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 221 comments Just wanted to start the discussion thread for the main as well since there are already threads for the other two picks. Just read the synopsis for this book and now I really can't wait for the hangout next month!


message 2: by Gary (last edited Jan 28, 2015 03:20PM) (new)

Gary I read this one way back in the day as part of a whole erotica phase that included de Sade, some Henry Miller, Anais Ninn and a bunch of "butch" lesbian erotica. (Weirdly, the Anne Rice/Rampling stuff completely stayed off my reading list somehow even though I read maybe 8-10 of her other books.)

There are a few interesting things about it, but to me the most interesting is that this book is probably the first erotica book to go mainstream. Many books of erotica had had commercial, if not literary, success and many were "accepted" amongst the literati, though generally bashed. However "O" is at the top (or maybe more properly the "bottom") of a whole genre, or probably a sub-genre. A "sub" sub-genre.

The time when "O" was published saw an awful lot of similarly sexually charged novels. Lolita was 1955, for example. So, "O" wasn't really an isolated book when it came out. However, it is something of a milestone in the genre. Nowadays, erotica is going through a kind of vogue. It's very mainstream. No doubt that's been driven a lot by 50SoG (which--for the record--I have read--and which made me want to stab myself in the eyeballs with a fork) but I think it's fair to say that without "O" there would be no "50."

Some folks will say that Story of O is derivative of de Sade in a way comparable to the way 50 is derivative of O, but I don't think that's really fair. There are elements of commonality, but they are very different concepts.

Thoughts?


message 3: by Tegan (last edited Jan 28, 2015 04:09PM) (new)

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments This comment is very spoilery.

I have trouble considering 50 Shades as derivative of O, if only due to the depth that O goes into bdsm. O is really hard-core, I mean the labia piercing and weight bit? 50 Shades is honestly pretty vanilla with kink frosting.

Honestly, I'm probably not sure if I'll be re-reading this book. The fact that she doesn't really go into the situation willingly, and basically just 'goes along' without any sort of personal agency, and is then manipulated emotionally until broken, then dropped like a stone (and left wanting to kill herself).


message 4: by Michele (last edited Jan 28, 2015 04:13PM) (new)

Michele | 128 comments "O" is very psychological at it's core, beneath the sexual trappings, it's a very complex exploration of sexuality and the power dynamics between two people in a relationship.

And I like that "O" goes into it all willingly, that she is a strong personality.

I won't say any more now since it's early days, but I'm very interested in how this will be received. I've also read some Anais Nin which I really liked, and I tried de Sade but he was just too much - too much filth really for me to get past to the meaning under it all.

"O" has some real beauty to it, I think.

Edit to add - the movie version is fairly good too, done like an art film, not a porno.


message 5: by Tegan (new)

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments I have to disagree about O going into it willingly. She's brought into the situation without any context for it to have been ok, and is pretty freaked out about stuff without the ability to safe word out.


message 6: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 143 comments I haven't read this book (yet), but I did read a bit about the author not that long ago, and I thought it makes a fascinating framing story for this work. This article is linked on the book profile page http://www.theguardian.com/books/2004...

I normally am hesitant to read too much into a story based on the personality or actions of an author. It's often used as an excuse to dismiss one or the other: i.e. to assume too much about an author's actions or to assume motivations behind a character's actions. However, in this case I would make an exception since the author clearly states that this book was written for an audience of one. I think that makes the circumstances under which she was writing a crucial part of the overall "story".


message 7: by Frakki (last edited Jan 31, 2015 08:07PM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments I'm so excited (in a nonsexual way) about this month's main! I really enjoyed O but never had anyone to talk about it with.

If you have seen the 70s movie based on the book IT'S NOT THE SAME! They totally changed the context for some of the sex -- putting in romance where there was none (mainly between her and the guard). I think they turned it into a male-orientated fantasy.

I think the idea that a woman could get off sexually with a man she was repulsed by was too out there.


message 8: by Katie (new)

Katie (katie_jones) | 348 comments Every fiber of my being is rebelling against the things I'm reading in this book. I have no history with abuse (FYI), and I don't see this book as erotica AT ALL. What I see it as, is a political commentary on how women have been treated throughout history. This is not sexy. It's not romantic. It's taking a person with agency, individuality, worth, human rights, a body/soul/mind, and systematically debasing, humiliating, using, and injuring that person to the point of no return. And I'm only in the first part.

I have no problem with bondage, spanking, toys...etc. This... This is chewing a person up, and shitting them out. It's saying women are worse than slaves. They are toilets.

So that's my initial impression ;)


message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth P While purchasing the book from Amazon I saw the following review by "max-dan" and felt the absolute need to share it here:

"I bought it for my wife. She did not have sex more with me after reading this but she did not have less sex. Thats why it gets three stars"


message 10: by RachelvlehcaR (new)

RachelvlehcaR (charminggirl) | 25 comments LOL, thanks Elizabeth for sharing that. That was funny.


message 11: by Janessa (new)

Janessa (labyrinth001) While I'm interested to see what people who enjoy this book have to say on the subject (maybe somebody will defend it and I'll be able to see where they're coming from), I just can't understand how the literal torture O goes through is a turn on or erotic. So many reviews I've read describe this book as freeing/empowering for women. How is O being a tool for a bunch of sadistic men supposed to be empowering for a woman to read? I am okay with spanking and bondage as long as there's give and take, but O doesn't even derive pleasure from the physical aspect. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in BDSM, aren't both parties supposed to have physical pleasure?

"If you do tie her up from time to time, or whip her just a little, and she begins to like it, that's no good either. You have to get past the pleasure stage, until you reach the stage of tears." It doesn't sound like anyone is concerned with O's pleasure at all. Maybe part of the difficulty is, from what I've read, we never know what O is thinking...we only have what she does and now other people treat her.

Anyway, I seriously felt sick reading this book. Quite frankly, it reminded me of something a serial killer might read to get off. I'm not a squeamish girl by any means, but this is too much for me. I won't be finishing it.


message 12: by Frakki (last edited Jan 31, 2015 07:59PM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments OK. I'll be brave and admit I was turned on by parts of the book -- mostly early on. It was shocking to me because at the time, I didn't know anything about that world or that side of myself.

I'm a pretty strong person, and a feminist, so it was interesting lesson and warranted some self reflection. But, I'm very open minded and I have realized sex can be ridiculous. So, no need to take it so seriously. (Wish I figured that out in my 20s.)

The book covers so many aspects of D/s kink -- from objectification to humiliation to whipping -- it really is a tutorial. I found the storyline very disjointed because of this. And, the ending was bizarre. Still, a great read.


message 13: by Frakki (last edited Jan 31, 2015 08:00PM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments The book was empowering because it recognized that women can be as sexually complex as men. And, that what you enjoy sexually doesn't define who you are as a person.


message 14: by McGooglykins (new)

McGooglykins | 1 comments I enjoyed the calm, understated writing style in this, but I couldn't get past the duplicitous way O was treated in getting her to Roissy, and how she never really had the option of leaving or consenting properly. It just made me feel that, rather than discovering new things about herself and her sexuality that she was conditioned into becoming something that René and Sir Stephen wanted. It all felt a little bit Stockholm Syndrome-y.


message 15: by Bethany (new)

Bethany (bmanson81) | 9 comments I just started reading this and the beginning does't make scene to me. feels like i missed a book, But im sure more will unfold.
Is this book really long, as i got it on my kindle (phone app) and it says it 2000pgs plus?


message 16: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
I'm so scared to start this lol


message 17: by RachelvlehcaR (new)

RachelvlehcaR (charminggirl) | 25 comments lol, it isn't that bad.


message 18: by Gary (new)

Gary Felicia wrote: "I'm so scared to start this lol"

That'll probably help you relate to O....


message 19: by Serendi (new)

Serendi The book is seriously *short*. Has about 3000 locations; a location is apparently 128 bytes of data. It's about 200 pages long, which I think includes lots of the front matter.

I was kinda scared to read it too. I'm a bit past the halfway point, and I'm hitting "boring". But then, I've been picturing it like it's a low-budget porn movie with wooden actors....


message 20: by Bethany (new)

Bethany (bmanson81) | 9 comments Ah thank you Serendi. i did't see that it said location. Lol About the wooden comment


message 21: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Jeffreys (staceyjeffreys) | 5 comments I had to close my eyes to scroll through this thread so I wasn't seeing any spoilers. I started the book just a little while ago and I am 12% into it and am still reading the freaking forwards. SIGH SIGH SIGH. I assume once I get to the actual book, it will take all of an evening to get through it. WHY WITH THE FORWARDS????? /end complaining


message 22: by Frakki (last edited Jan 31, 2015 07:53PM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments You have to think about this book like a modernist painting. It came out when NOTHING LIKE IT had been seen before in the Western culture! (From a female author that is.)

You might dislike the style or characters, but you have to give it up for its unique point of view.

Why are the men so terrible and O so abused? Because that was the sexual fantasy of the writer! She wrote this world and everyone in it.

I don't understand or relate to pain kinks, but so what. It's interesting to peek into that world. Just because I don't understand it doesn't mean it's wrong or evil. It's just not my thing. Who the hell I'm i to judge?


message 23: by Frakki (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments Philippa wrote: "I haven't read this book (yet), but I did read a bit about the author not that long ago, and I thought it makes a fascinating framing story for this work. This article is linked on the book profil..."

Thank you for posting this. Now I know why I enjoyed the first part of the books so much more than the second half.


message 24: by Katie (new)

Katie (katie_jones) | 348 comments Frakki wrote: "Just because I don't understand it doesn't mean it's wrong or evil. It's just not my thing. Who the hell I'm i to judge? "

But that's kind of the point of bookclubs :) Art, fiction, music, it's all out there to be judged, and the beauty, or ugliness is in the eye of the beholder, not just the creator. When I see something as morally abhorrent, such as child pornography, I feel like I have the right to say, "that's wrong!" It's inherent, it's what humans are born with. It's part of what makes us human. Yes, this is fiction, but I feel like that makes it just as available for scrutiny as anything else. (Note: I don't mean censorship! I mean the right to an opinion)

What I object to isn't the kink or the pain. It's the complete disregard for the sentient autonomy of a person. A soul. It's your right to disagree, but that is also a form of judgement. In fact, I think in reading something like this, it would be VERY difficult to be truly indifferent.


message 25: by Serendi (new)

Serendi My take (bearing in mind I haven't finished) - The first section is straight-out author's fantasy. Was O consenting? It almost doesn't seem relevant to me. This wasn't written for a general audience, it was just Réage (to pick one of her names) steaming up her brain and hoping to steam up her boyfriend's. I did find it steamy, in fact. The porn movie image was really a product of the pacing, all the rituals and rules, and the dresses the women wear at the chateau; it made me (mentally) giggle.

Then she and René go back to Real Life, sort of, and introduce René's stepbrother and the model at her work and so on, and it kind of goes boring for me. Where did the steam go? I get the impression it may come back later.

I can see how people see it as classic, as horrid, as empowering, all sorts of things. I remember when Nancy Friday's collection My Secret Garden came out; it was a major deal to acknowledge and celebrate that women have sexual fantasies. I suspect Story of O did much the same for the previous generation.

I probably shouldn't have stopped reading, I lost momentum. Oh, well. I have a few weeks yet before the hangout....


message 26: by Frakki (last edited Jan 31, 2015 08:26PM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments Katie wrote: "Frakki wrote: "Just because I don't understand it doesn't mean it's wrong or evil. It's just not my thing. Who the hell I'm i to judge? "

But that's kind of the point of bookclubs :) Art, fiction,..."


A healthy discussion is the point of book club, and I'm very happy to be having it on a book such as this. :-)

I don't agree that having, or writing about, these sexual fantasies is morally abhorrent. I certainly would not equate this book to child pornography.

You say you don't belive in censorship, yet it sounds like you don't like that the author wrote about her desire to lose her personhood. Or, her fantasy about becoming a sexual slave?

Maybe I'm not understanding you.


message 27: by Nicholaus (new)

Nicholaus Patnaude | 14 comments SPOILERS

I'm about 10% in and seeing some interesting discussions going on above. Spmeone compared to a modernist painting which is insightful since it begins with two beginnings. Did anyone else catch that? It's also striking that the novel is still hitting nerves with some readers since, where I'm at, the style is not very explicit. Of course it is bery suggestive, but even a novel like Lolita's wild wordplay brings to mind more vivid imagery. In The Story of O there is something mechanical about the goings on--there is a curious lack of desire and--from my perspective--seems to be soley about power dynamics.


message 28: by Janessa (new)

Janessa (labyrinth001) Frakki wrote: "You have to think about this book like a modernist painting. It came out when NOTHING LIKE IT had been seen before in the Western culture! (From a female author that is.)

You might dislike the sty..."


It's funny how you describe it as a modernist painting because I was researching the book earlier--trying to find information that would ease my mind a little bit about the content--and I found this site that addresses the artistic aspect of the book (mainly the ending).

http://www.storyofo.info/The%20Death%...

The writer compares Story of O to dance, music, mythology, and other forms of artwork and was an interesting read. They also talk about de Sade.

I still won't be finishing the book, and I would still argue that O is not truly a consenting individual who derives pleasure from the pain she endures...but maybe in the context of it being a long letter to Reage's lover, the consent/pleasure is implied rather than written out?

I feel like we've read a lot of books in this club where male characters who show dominance are ridiculed. Usually there's an outcry, and with this book we find a female character who is completely submitting to the ultimate male dominance. It's hard for me to read, and it will be hard for a lot of people to read. I think it definitely helps to do some research and have context before starting the book, which I wish I had done before...though I still doubt I would be able to finish :-p Oh well, maybe I can still cross it off the 101 books to read before you die list because I tried.


message 29: by Janessa (new)

Janessa (labyrinth001) Felicia wrote: "I'm so scared to start this lol"

Felicia, I really recommend researching the book and getting context BEFORE you start. I wish I had done that first, because it may have helped some!


message 30: by Serendi (new)

Serendi Random question:

The book is "Histoire d'O" or "Story of O". In French, not having an article ("La" or in this case "L'", "the") is a rarity. It seems odd enough in English.

Does anyone whose French is better than mine (there must be a lot of you out there) have any views on why the article might have been left off?


message 31: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (mskimandtwins) | 36 comments I just finished this book, and I don't get the ending. Seems like it ended abruptly.


message 32: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 2 comments Bought this yesterday, read about 10%, and won't be reading anymore. It seems very one dimensional.


message 33: by Katie (new)

Katie (katie_jones) | 348 comments There's a lot of call for research, which is valid, but I also want to throw out there the literary theory of "Death of the Author," in which a text is asked to stand on it's own, once it's available for public consumption, because whatever an author's intentions- a reader's thoughts, experiences, and interpretations (based only on the things written) are actually what matters.

To answer Frakki, it's true that there were parts I did not like. I still don't believe in censorship, only the right to that opinion of dislike. And I interpreted O as not truly consenting to the things done to her. I don't think she really wanted her anal tissue "rent" and bleeding. I think that she was coerced by someone she "loved" into doing things she didn't understand or fully anticipate, without a way to back out once they were happening. That being said, I love how a book like this causes real, emotional discussion on the forums. And I'm interested in seeing everyone's viewpoints!


message 34: by Nicholaus (new)

Nicholaus Patnaude | 14 comments Spoilers

I'm at about 30%. In terms of the consensual debate, Katie raises an interesting question when she states " I think that she was coerced by someone she "loved" into doing things she didn't understand or fully anticipate, without a way to back out once they were happening."

Rene even tells O that she can leave at any point, but if she stays she must obey him. I'm referring to the scene back in the apartment after they leave the decadent chateau. As to whether this novel constitues a celebration or a satire of the submissive personality type is up for debate.


message 35: by Michele (new)

Michele | 128 comments Ok, it's been a while since I last read this book, but here's my take on it, which I admit is vague in places and I may be mixing in things from the movie (TL;DR incoming)-

O is not about sexual pleasure at all. She goes to please her lover, because he asked her to. That's it. Does she know exactly what she's in for? No. Does she rebel, does she truly fight against any of it? No. Does she beg to leave, cry, scream for help (not in pain, that's different), try to escape? No.

I remember a scene, with Renee I think and another man, (view spoiler). Her emotional pleasure comes from giving up control completely to someone else.

I think the theory here is that by giving up control to someone else absolutely, completely - you actually GAIN a kind of control over them. Because they understand the "gift" you have given them and now they are in your debt. And you have shown your superiority over them, because they could not do what you have done. You have "mastered" your self by giving it away. And you have shown them what it means to have total control over someone and they won't be able to get that from anyone else but you - they have become enslaved by your slavery.

Am I making sense? I don't agree per say, having never done any of this, but I believe that's what this book is about.

It's not at all about getting sexual satisfaction from being dominated or pain. Those things are just the devices used to "train" O, to "help" her make the change, to force her to see things from a different perspective, to push her to the extreme edge and over - and when she comes back from that she is a different person.

She has seen what she is capable of, and once she's knows she can do that and still remain herself inside, then she is empowered by that knowledge. She is stronger in her self now, she survived the worst they can throw at her and her mind/will didn't break.

Her will to become a submissive to her lover was strong enough to overcome any fears, pains, doubts, instincts - she mastered herself in the process.

One last thing for thought - no one else can degrade you, humiliate you, embarrass you - those are feelings of your own based on what you think other people feel about you, other people's judgments, other people's beliefs. Your self worth should come from within.


message 36: by Frakki (last edited Feb 01, 2015 11:06AM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments I would say you can't treat sexual fantasy the same as real life sexual play. In sexual fantasy you are changing the context of the sex if consent is given. It is the act of being forced that makes it erotic. In RL, you just pretend that there is no consent, when really there is.

I fully understand that people might not like or relate to this story. I know I don't want to learn more about some aspects of S&M, that's why I've chose not to read the Marquis De Sade writings. I only watched Quills, based on his story, because I am a fan of Kate Whinslet. Hated it.

One of the reasons I compared the book to modernist painting, like one from Picasso, is the kinds of complaints you hear about his work. He's terrible at drawing people. It's ugly. Or he uses distasteful colors or upsetting images. Or, the famous "I/my five-year-old could paint that."

We grew up in a world that included all these these crazy artist. So, we compare it to what's out there now. At the time there was nothing like that (in Western culture). What makes him a master is that he visualized the world in a whole new way.

I'm not saying that the Story of O is a masterpiece. Only that we got to see into the mind of this writer, who wrote something truly unique for her time.


message 37: by Frakki (last edited Feb 01, 2015 11:04AM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments Michele wrote: "Ok, it's been a while since I last read this book, but here's my take on it, which I admit is vague in places and I may be mixing in things from the movie (TL;DR incoming)-

O is not about sexual p..."

I think you did an amazing job explaining. It makes sense logically. But, because I'm not a submissive, I can't fully "get it."

I would say that she did experience sexual pleasure during some acts, seeing as she climaxed. After all, it's called the story of O.


message 38: by Anna (new)

Anna | 135 comments I have made the choice not to read the books this month because I know myself and know what works for me and I know these won't work for me.

However, I have some understanding in my own small way of why this would work for a lot of people.

I wanted to share a quote that I love from Esther Perel: "We get turned on at night by the very same things that we will demonstrate against during the day."

I love this because it really resonates with me. I'm feminist, and in an extremely loving and equal relationship with a thoughtful, sensitive man. However, the sexual fantasies that play out in my head are often sex slave-ish, and I've learned that I like when my husband physically dominates me and pulls my hair during sex. Nothing super involved, but subtly on that dimension. I have embraced this dichotomy in myself because I realize it's this very dichotomy that is what makes it work.

I therefore totally understand that the author of the store of o could have been extremely empowered putting her own inner fantasies out into the world. It won't do it for many people, and wouldn't do it for me to read someone else's fantasies that are that extreme, but I get it.

Anyway, Esther Perel has a great TED talk for anyone interested. http://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel...


message 40: by Gary (new)

Gary I always think adult oriented illustrated books should be called graphic graphic novels.


message 41: by Cherish (new)

Cherish (lady_cherish) | 94 comments I'd completely forgotten about the graphic novel! It's been So long since I read the book ... in the 80's, I suspect.
As a personage within the kink community, I can look back on reading the likes of "O" as somewhat formative in my own understanding of dominance and submission. It was certainly a breakthrough book, way back when. Still effects ppl in the same way, I see ;)


message 42: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 27 comments my local library won't even carry this book so I had to buy it...which made me pretty nervous.

I have to say...so far it's making me pretty uncomfortable, which might be the point? I'm halfway through and so far she's miserable and crying almost every page but so dependent on this man she goes along with it...

it just me of smacks of long term abuse for me. I'm glad to be reading it, just so that I can discuss it and have knowledge of it, but it makes me feel a little queasy too.


message 43: by Nicholaus (new)

Nicholaus Patnaude | 14 comments Spoilers

I'm about 72% in and was suprised by O's attraction to, and seduction of, Jacqueline. These scenes--shortly after Jacqueline has moved in with her--suggests that O does have some control over her sexual agency; in other words, she does not solely desire to be a 100% submissive. I also sense an overall lack of an enjoyment--perhaps even disgust--during her encounters with Sir Stephen. And yet the prospect of Jacqueline's debasement at Roissy seems to titillate O. Is it because O's submission disgusts herself or is the that the replication/repetition of her own debasement will allow her to either forgive herself or take on a new power by manipulating Jacqueline into submitting to Rene?


message 44: by Anelle (new)

Anelle Ammons The first half of the book got me hot and bothered, but not in a good way. Hah.

I found this book fairly disturbing. Not in what was done, because none of that surprised me, but I guess because this was the first time I was actually able to start to feel and comprehend how a woman could get drawn into something like that. I felt like I could see through O's eyes her misplaced emotional attachment to Rene that allowed her to be drawn into that situation. As long as she was loved, she could endure anything, not matter how much it hurt or she disliked it.

The part that I picked out that showed she still had her sense of self was when she would strip for Sir Stephen, and he wouldn't touch her, and she found herself desiring him. That showed me that there was some shred of herself deep inside there, rather than just an empty vessel.

I'm reading people's comments and read an article about the author and her motivation, and trying to view the entire book in a different light. It's feeling less horrific to me now, but it's still hard to get through watching someone be turned into a complete slave of abuse.

I definitely get that at its time it was an impressive piece of work, and I do feel that it was probably pretty well written (I read one of the poorer translated ones with lots of typos). I felt her insight into the psyche of O was very real. Perhaps that's what made this book so upsetting to me, because I felt like I could feel what she was feeling.


message 45: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh | 108 comments Simultaneously reading Story of O and Kushiels Dart - and having never read anything BDSM or even given that whole world any amount of thought before I can tell you its quite a culture shock


message 46: by Cherish (new)

Cherish (lady_cherish) | 94 comments Nicholaus wrote: "Spoilers

I'm about 72% in and was suprised by O's attraction to, and seduction of, Jacqueline. These scenes--shortly after Jacqueline has moved in with her--suggests that O does have some control ..."


Great insights, Nicholaus. From a psychotherapeutic point of view, it would seem that, indeed, all of those conflicts seem to be in play, as is oft the case for those first venturing into that world.


message 47: by BlackCatSensei (new)

BlackCatSensei | 19 comments Spoilers

Surprisingly, this book fell short for me regarding sex scenes in that it was stated what sex acts happened and there wasn't the type of description I'm use to. It was very matter of fact. The one point I felt that was starting to get hot was how she described Jacqueline and how much she wanted to possess her and then she gets her and all she talks about is "caressing" her. I'm not sure if this is due to being a translation so if anyone who has read the original story in French could maybe respond back on this?

It also seemed that she found the whipping/flogging as some sort of atonement or act of contrition. Every attention Rene or Sir Stephen paid to her, whether taking her or whipping her, she seemed to feel as if a god was acknowledging her and that made her emotionally crave more, even if physically she was always begging for the lash to stop. Though I am unable to understand this psychology, I was able to at least recognize her feelings of no self-worth outside her masters as in despite all that was done to her sexually, she found masturbation to be a defiling. I also couldn't help but think she would belong to Kushiel in Kushiel's Dart.

I did like how in the beginning with no knowledge of O's past it did seem as if she was naive and had no real choice in going to Roissy. However, as her past sexual experiences are revealed, you see how she cruelly treated her past lovers and how she played on their love and desire for her. She cast them aside as easily as Rene and eventually Sir Stephen casts her aside.

The ending was a let down. The version I bought on Kindle just said the final chapter was suppressed and that Sir Stephen dumps O and then grants her permission to kill herself. Though I don't empathize with any of O's feelings, I am interested in what causes Sir Stephen to abandon her, whether it was because he did really fall in love with her or is some else wanted her.

Overall, I'm glad we read this because the psychology was thought invoking and I think knowledge of the entire spectrum of sexuality increases one's acceptance of other people.


message 48: by Julia (new)

Julia | 6 comments I think this hangout is going to be epic! Its definitely a change from books with more romance and less sex. For me the book was definitely disturbing but I thought that it was interesting how much the male characters seemed like props or objects for O. After reading about the author and the history of the book, it made the ending of the book very poignant and moving for me. I can't wait to hear Bonnie talk more about this book, BDSM and 50 shades of grey.


message 49: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 7 comments Serendi wrote: "Random question:

The book is "Histoire d'O" or "Story of O". In French, not having an article ("La" or in this case "L'", "the") is a rarity. It seems odd enough in English.

Does anyone whose Fr..."


As a French speaker (from Quebec) I can tell you that the title is actually well structured. I think that having the " L' " before Histoire dilutes the title just like it would in the English version. I see it not only as a way of keeping to the style of the English title but maybe, if I can be, "overly" deep about it, it sort of shows a certain lack of anchor, as if the title, and subsequently "O", could just float away without her dom.


message 50: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 7 comments I've read plenty of smut, BDSM (though it's not my cup of tea in real life), light domination fiction and all the likes and I could not, even back in college, get into this book. I don't know what it is. Maybe I'm too independent to empathize but that's never stopped me from being able to get into a book before.

Whether it's the French edition or the English one, I just couldn't get into it. No regrets rereading it because there's always the chance that a book you disliked in the past (for myself it was 15 years ago) will grow on you because you matured or experienced more things in life. This was not the case for me for this particular novel but hey, watchu gonna do!?


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