Peep Show

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Feel Free to Peep Without Getting Caught

As a collection of fictional stories "Peep Show" incorporates engaging themes, writing styles, and diverse characters. The wide range of stories should have something to interest most readers. However, as a collection of erotic works, this book might leave you wanting more.
Published:
Pros:
Stylistically Diverse. Includes a Range of Different Scenarios. Contains Some Well Written Pieces.
Cons:
Not all stories work as erotica. Won't satisfy all audiences. Some stories are confusing.
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review

About author

"Peep Show" is published by Cleis Press and Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Bussel has edited or co-edited numerous collections of erotica, including "Yes, Sir," "The Mile High Club" and "Hide and Seek." She is also the editor of the nonfiction collection "Best Sex Writing" editions 2008 - 2010. Bussel's writing has been published in over a hundred anthologies, and she's written for multiple publications ranging from "Bust" to the "New York Post." All of this information and more can be found in the page and a half "About the Editor" write up at the end of "Peep Show." Bussel can be found writing at her blog and has recently become a columnist for SEXIS.

The authors of the stories that make up "Peep Show" range from being award winning erotica veterans, to one or two first time writers. At the end of the last story and before the "About the Editor" section is a section called "About the Authors" which has a little paragraph about each contributing writer. Each paragraph has information about the writer's published works, where more of their writing can be found and other miscellaneous information. I liked this section, because it allowed me to find out more about the authors of the stories I most enjoyed.
    • Engaging
    • Multiple contributoring authors

Content / Style / Audience

"Peep Show" is a 200 pg. collection made up of eighteen stories by eighteen different authors and an introduction by Rachel Kramer Bussel. The overall theme is voyeurism and exhibitionism and the collection does a good job of incorporating a diverse array of stories pertaining to this subject. "Peep Show" includes a story for almost every type of voyeur/ exhibitionist story imaginable. It contains stories ranging from a ghost watching a previous lover, to a visit to the Red-Light District and everything in between. The stories also explore different kinds of relationships instead of merely including heterosexual love scenes. I really appreciated this, because I felt that it added to the collection and kept me interested. Many of the stories are written in first person narrative, but a few of them utilized different writing styles such as switching point of view from one character to another. This method was used both in "Glass" and "Missing Michael."

Most of the stories make use of similar language and tone except for two pieces "The Theory of Orchids" and "Missing Michael." The story "Theory of Orchids" is written in a much more artistic and frequently makes flower imagery to portray the main female characters sexuality with lines like "Gina was equally prepared with a white suit that barely stretched over her breasts and just covered her hibiscus flower of pussy hair." The other stories in the collection were edgy and straight to the point when compared to "The Theory of Orchids." Although this kind of "flowery" writing might have fit perfectly into a typical erotic novel, it stuck out in this particular collection. "Missing Michael" actually made me want to cry, because it was written as such a touching story of loss. This piece worked as a piece of fiction, but not really as a piece of erotica, because it's hard to get aroused when you're trying to fight back tears.

Although the collection was interesting, not all of the included stories really "did something" for me. I found about half of the included stories to be arousing, while the other half were either confusing or had a fractured plot line. Some of the stories focused more on plot than the actual erotic scene, and I wished that the scene had been drawn out a little more. Other stories focused on the erotic portion of the story and as a result the story line wasn't as clear as it could have been. Honestly, I enjoyed the majority of the stories as pieces of fiction, but not necessarily as pieces of erotica. For example, the story "Glass" is a piece which keeps you guessing about how the characters stories are intertwined until the very end. I found it to be an engaging read except when I was attempting to get in the mood, in which case it was too confusing to be arousing.

Even though I wasn't interested in all of the stories included in "Peep Show," it has such a variety of stories that I believe almost everyone will be able to find stories that interest them. Even if a reader isn't particularly interested in the voyeuristic/ exhibitionist content of the collection they should still be able to appreciate the erotic scenes.

My favorite story of the collection is "Superior" by Monica Shores, and is about a boss exerting her sexual power over an employee who is attracted to her. The story is filled with sexual tension brought on by the boss forcing her employee to do her bidding, and teasing him in the process. This is definitely a story that I've bookmarked and will be returning to in the future.

Personally, I thought that the collection of stories could have been arranged differently in order for it to flow better as a whole. I found that I was more fond of the stories in the beginning half of the collection than the ending half. Many of the stories at the end of the collection are the stylistically experimental pieces and although they are interesting I think that it would have been better if some of the stronger pieces were also put at the end so the collection not only began strongly, but also finished with a "bang."
    • Erotica
    • Good mix of styles and content

Design

I liked the simple way in which the book was designed. The table of contents was clear and easy to read, as was the font, and titles. I liked that the title and author at the beginning of each chapter was so simplistic in design with the title in large print, a line along the left and the author name in smaller print underneath the title. The simple layout made the focus of the collection the writing rather than any stylistic frills.

I also like how simplistic the cover is. The picture shows a woman's stockinged legs up to the thighs and she's casually kicking off one of her heels while someone is peeping in on her from a cracked door. The cover is colored in blue tones which add to the idea of watching from the darkness, which is included in many of the stories in the collection. The back of the collection displays the same picture as the cover.
    • Not very discreet cover
    • Small size
    • Soft cover

Personal comments

This book is one of the selections for May's Naked Reader Book Club. It has a web page which can be found here, which has information on the book, interviews with the authors and a book trailer. Bussel herself plays a role in the the trailer and can be seen in a shower scene and other voyeuristic/ exhibitionist scenes that act out the theme of the collection.

I had to put a lot of thought into how many stars I wanted to give this book. When the stories were hot, they were hot, but at other times the writing wasn't as engaging. I'm giving this collection 4 stars as a work of fiction, because I think that it does interesting things with style and writing. If I was grading it merely as an erotic work intended to arouse, I would probably give it 3/3.5 stars.
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Comments
  • ~LaUr3n~
    ~LaUr3n~  
    Excellent review Muffy
  • MuffysPinguLove
    MuffysPinguLove  
    Thanks Lauren! I definitely put a lot of work into the review, since I find book and DVD reviews to be more difficult than other product reviews. I'm happy that it shows
  • Sammi
    Sammi  
    Great review!
  • MuffysPinguLove
    MuffysPinguLove  
    Thanks Sammi!
  • Gardenvy
    Gardenvy  
    Very nice review Muffy, your hard work shows!
  • MuffysPinguLove
    MuffysPinguLove  
    Thanks for the compliment Gardenvy
  • red delicious
    red delicious  
    Awesome review!
  • MuffysPinguLove
    MuffysPinguLove  
    Thanks red delicious
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