The concept is appealing: Vicki finds out about Mike's femdom porn stash when trying to resurrect their failing marriage, calls him on it and decides to take control. Unfortunately, the author's voice is so loud I can't hear the characters and the whole thing is so... weird. Totally emotionless. I'm not sure I can finish reading it. Each chapter begins with a synopsis - it's like instructions.
1. Get advice from your
2. Explore his porn stash
3. Make him admit he wants to be disciplined
(Actually it's 1. Advice from a friend 2. Vicki looks at Mike's Porn 3. Mike admits he wants to be disciplined... etc. all the way to 11. The Envy of friends.)
Even the first sentence sounds like a counseling session:
"It's not unusual for a couple to feel like their marriage has become stale after five or six years."The story starts with Vicki talking to her friend Carole who patiently draws Vicki out. She says things like:
"Look, it's always a two way street with these things."There is also a huge bunch of gender cliches. Vicki's reply to what she wants from her marriage is:
"Sit down and talk about what is missing for both of you and what you can do about it."
"Do you know what you want out of your marriage?"
"I want what every woman wants. I want a happy, supportive, stable relationship".Ohhhh, so that's what every woman wants. Darn. I guess I didn't get that memo.
Vicki thinks that all Mike wants is more sex and Carole, source of all wisdom, replies, "Guys always say that. They never want less, that's for sure." Vicki is "not always interested" in sex. Porn is Mike's outlet when Vicki isn't receptive and Vicki feels guilty about that. I gave up counting the unfair gender based cliches quite quickly.
Carole advises Vicki to look at Mike's porn - not ask him about it first mind, just to look at it without his permission. (Hello, betrayal of TRUST?) Carole adds:
"If I'm wrong you'll still have the nuclear option of divorce." They laughed.I'm really not clear how that is funny. Actually, I always understood that divorce is usually messy, upsetting and generally not funny at all. Especially if you're still in love, as Vicki professes to be. Anyhow, we then get some background about Vicki and Mike's socio-economic situation:
"Vicki and Mike lived in a semi-rural area outside the city limits. The homes weren't huge but most of them were on an acre or two of land. It was quiet and there was more privacy than being in a planned neighborhood. With no kids yet - they had both just turned thirty - and two decent incomes they had a comfortable life compared to many people that they knew. Yet with all that, they both felt a lack of fulfillment in their lives."You know, it's quite impressive to be dull, patronizing and preachy all in one go. Then we get into some sex scenes, featuring phrases such as:
"Her free hand ran up the outside of his shirt and found his left nipple."It's all very, perfunctory. Then afterwards, they talk about it. For ages. It's very analytical and not at all sexy. A text book question and answer session; it's all tell, not show. The characters say they think this, or that but I can't see any evidence of it. I can't find anything sexy, romantic or emotional in this book. I don't believe in the characters or care about them at all. To me, this reads like a user manual and is about as entertaining.
"Her orgasm exploded through her and she pulled and twisted Mike's head to sustain the duration."
"Mike screamed out, made a final deep thrust into her and had a long and hard orgasm."