Whip Smart by Melissa Febos

Whip SmartThe author of this memoir holds MFA from Sarah Lawrence University and teaches at SUNY Purchase. She also worked for four years as a professional dominatrix in New York City and was a heroine addict while earning a degree from the The New School University.

This fascinating memoir is challenging to read and definitely not for everyone. But the story was not written simply to shock. The author has interesting and provocative insights about the men she saw in her work and whose fantasies usually consisted of them role-playing as women. And she confronts her own fantasies and obsessions. As is often the case, the clients in the “dungeon” are mostly middle and upper middle class men, and the other “dommes” are educated women.

The story of how the author gets off drugs and finally leaves sex work (a line of work where the women rarely take off their clothes or have sex) is mostly a story of Febos learning about her own struggles with the need to control. She has written recently for the Chronicle of Higher Education and was a guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air” in March.

As noted above, this book is not for everyone. It is explicit in parts, and deals with the work of a dominatrix and of drug addiction in gritty detail. It was a risky, and honest, book to write as Febos begins her academic career.

Availability: USMAI
Review Submitted by: Celia Rabinowitz
Rating: Recommended                                                                                       Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

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