Carrie's Story - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Lilith's Girl Friday

Neo-Victoriana Could Use More of These Stories

Whether you're just starting out exploring kinky fantasies or you're looking for another kinky book to sate your desires, you'll enjoy Carrie's Story. But if you're looking to explore BDSM on a practical level, Molly Weatherfield is not the author you want to turn to for advice.
-Hot, sexy action
-Lots of sex
-Vivid imagery
-Unrealistic views on kink
-Somewhat artless
-Lacks conflict
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
I'll be honest. When I first read this book, I was offended. I mean, it seemed to me that Ms. Weatherfield had created a world where men were the natural lords of women. It seemed to me that the Carrie of the title, who is supposed to be a "very intellectual girl" according to the author, was a little insipid. I thought the inward journey of slavehood could have used a little more fleshing out, a little more internal conflict, a little more external conflict. And to be honest, I still mostly think those things. We, as practitioners of BDSM, have to fight a lot of stereotypes, and I didn't really see them being confronted in this book. So I was, and still am, offended by it.

Despite my defensive posture, I still think it's good. It's hot, for one thing. The sex scenes, the slave scenes, are explicitly written and with sparkling rhythm. Ms. Weatherfield's imagery is studiously vivid, but never pedantic. Two scenes stick out in my mind. The first is the slave dressage show where, like in pet shows, slavegirls are presented upon a stage and judged by a number of postures and ease of access. The second is the ponygirl training camp, which is so vividly described that I managed to become very much immersed, despite the fact that ponies really aren't my kink. This is not something I have found before from any author, and I'm proud of both myself and of Ms. Weatherfield. To me that kind of easy vividness shows a comfort with the self both in reader and in author.

What I found most impressive in the story was the way it is revealed that Carrie's Master thinks she is better than he is, or at least better than he can handle. I can't give away too much, because the crux of the story relies on that, but it shows that D/s slavehood is a work of the slave's own agency and calls into question just how much of yourself you can give away. Still, the vast majority of the slaves are women, and the vast majority of the slave owners are men. Where slave owners are men, most make full use of their slaves as sex toys, but where women are slave owners, first, you don't get to see their slaves, and, second, they never seem to sexualise Carrie, except once. One might argue that, of course, Ms. Weatherfield is heterosexual, so she's entitled to this dynamic, but when she then argues in a late chapter that "Even in social democracy, sometimes biology is destiny", the previous gender dynamic comes down hard and seems to obliterate any notion of personal agency the book has to offer with regards to BDSM. So I'm left wondering what the author really thinks about BDSM.

Yet despite all that's good about this book, I still feel it could have been written with more art. The first two chapters consist of a seventy-page flashback, which may be fine for a full-length novel, but for a book that can't even brush its fingers against the height of two hundred pages, it seems a little overmuch. Also, as I mentioned above, there's very little sense of loss in Carrie's journey through submission. She blithely gives up her academic pursuits, her home, her friends, and her family to engage in this life. There is little internal conflict and absolutely *no* external conflict. The book doesn't engage BDSM on a real-world basis, where people somewhat malign kink. Did anyone else see that episode of Bones a few years ago about the pony ranch murder? Or the Law and Order episode where this kinky girl runs into this psycho on the Internet and he kills her? Or the CSI where the police have to raid a sex club? Or the CSI where the professional submissive is murdered? BDSM is shown to be a dangerous, deadly lifestyle in the mainstream, and erotica needs to respond to that, in my opinion. Hell, BDSM is shown to be deadly in BDSM literature! Just check out l'Histoire d'O.

Anyway, if you want a nice little sexual fantasy that will take you into the darker parts of your vanilla mind, this book is for you. If you're already firmly ensconced in the dark recesses of your kinky sexuality, this book is likely for you. But if you're looking to experiment with BDSM (and especially D/s) on a practical level, get a good instructional book. This novella should not be a gateway between fantasy and reality.
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This review was edited by
  • Selective Sensualist Selective Sensualist
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  • Yaoi Pervette (deleted)
    Thanks for the review! I've been wondering about this book for a while now.
  • LostBoy988
    Great job the review
  • Noira
    Great review. After reading through a lot of unhelpful reviews on many books in here it was good to read one from someone who seemed to have a grasp on writing a solid BOOK review.

    Just the fact that you've told me it lacks external conflict is enough to know that it's not worth it for me to get over my initial urge to dislike the "men top women world". I'll read any porn so long as it has good conflict to go with its porn; genre is never an excuse for poor character development and that lack of external conflict.

    I'm guessing this is more of a "date with a kinky read" sort of book than a deep exploration of a world riddled with sex, chains, and a conflict ultimately forcing the heroine's hand to a place where she must make a choice or ELSE.

    Anyway, appreciated your review, thanks!
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