Friday, 11 January 2013

'Can You Keep A Secret? My Life As A Submissive'

No, not me. Boredom crept up on me while I was wondering around Glasgow airport, aimlessly looking at the limited selection of books in WHSmith. Ammitiedley I had East of Eden in my bag, thirty pages in and it's blowing my mind, but I wanted something easy to read as a sort of break so I glanced over the 'buy one get one half price'. Looking up at me was a book called Can You Keep a Secret? My Life as a Submissive. It shamelessly had the colours of Twilight and the raunch of Fifty Shades of Grey but classed itself as a 'memoir'. I too, shamelessly, picked the book up - much to the disgust of the Scottish elderly shop assistant and the gurgling eyes of a passing woman - and read the back. The book was about an Irish woman and her life as she entered into the underground sex circles of Dublin, starting with meeting guys at a young age for sex and leading onto her later years to become a swinger and join in with forty or more orgies.

I opened the book and the passage that was in front of me described how a man was spooning the girl and slipped his penis inside her rectum - sharp stuff! I glanced further and noticed the font was huge, there was a mistake on page 122 and that the passages were badly written. But hey ho I had three hours to kill and was intrigued about the dirty sex circles of Dublin. I use intrigued as a word loosely as I know those reading - and those in Glasgow airport at that time - could think I was simply being a pervert. Not so. A writer who listens to someone's conversation isn't been nosy but doing research. I, myself, was feeding my academic mind and also my literary intrigue. But this isn't a blog where I defend but more explain.

So 300 pages later and sitting next to a very uncomfortable woman on the plane who peered over my shoulder to see what I was reading - a woman who I may add said to me "well if we crash it's all down to you" when I sat down in my seat next to the emergency exit, cheers - I put the book down and snarled. I snarled because the sexual paragraphs were so badly written that it felt like it had been swiped off a dirty conversation someone sent their significant other from Facebook. I snarled because the sex scenes - the threesomes, the gang-bangs, the virginity taking - were written with no class or interest but a splurge on the page, the hideous cliches that come when you write a sex scene. 

I've had to write some sex scenes for the short stories I've been working on for my project. One story I finished - originally called Savage, now called The Quiet Life - tells the story of a businessman and husband named Benjamin who is a sex addict. My lecturer read it and said "Tom, you write about loveless sex well." I took it as a compliment. I did not snarl, like I snarled at this book. Where I snarled because the entire book was so badly written it felt like a story you tell your friend the morning after a night out. I snarled because the main character - or the woman writing such a memoir - irritated me with her stupidity and lack of intellect. 

One sentence reads "the next couple of weeks, Kevin started being a dickhead" - there was no comma of course, that was missed. Another, "I felt..." - does this woman not know the first rule of writing - show, don't tell. But it wasn't just the bad writing that angered me, it was the fact that if it weren't for Fifty Shades of Grey such a book wouldn't exist. Now we have the Crossfire, the Eighty Days and Avalon books of the world - where are our East of Edens or Grapes of Wrath? 

I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey so the reviews I've had about the books bad writing and lack of plot I cannot comment on and wouldn't throw my nose up to such a book - do people not still read the Marquis De Sade? - but this book, this Submissive book was bad, just plain bad. I get that these books have become the "mummy porn" that the world needs but I just find it irritating that books like these are being published when others are not. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad.