Pros: Variety of erotic situations.
Cons: All of the stories are from a woman’s point of view; the voices of the different stories don’t always feel very distinct.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Madame B is a woman that other women feel that they can confide some of their deepest secrets to. In The Notebooks of Madame B: Desire, she presents some of the steamier stories that she’s collected about women and their adventures and fantasies. Just as women’s desires differ, this book contains a variety of erotic short stories about women whose hidden desires come true.
I found this collection of short stories to be a relatively quick read; the stories are fairly bite-sized, perfect for indulging one at a time by oneself or with a partner. That being said, because the stories cover situations ranging from voyeurism to dominance and sado-masochism readers will probably enjoy some stories more than others. There are also different perspectives on different fantasies, so not everyone may enjoy the perspectives presented here.
The other thing that I had a little bit of trouble with about this book was the feeling that the voice of each woman’s story wasn’t very distinct from the other stories. It felt as if the situations were meant to be the means of distinguishing which story I was in, as opposed to each woman’s viewpoint. I even noticed one instance where two stories contained part of the same sentence, nearly word for word.
I guess what it really comes down to for me is that while reading this book, a lot of my time was spent thinking about how my perspective in some of these situations would be different than that of the women who are enacting these fantasies. It’s not that I didn’t think that the stories were written well, but rather that I didn’t find them particularly erotic. Other than the voice similarities, these are well written. They still do a good job of taking the reader through the buildup of desire between the beginning and the consummation.
I should also note is that this book is built around the idea that desire, rather than the sex, is what the story is about. There is still erotic sex, but for those readers who are looking for intense, drawn-out sexual scenes this probably won’t be the ideal book; I felt that a few of them were perfunctory. I couldn’t help but wish that the desire had been incorporated more into the sex, to draw it out and make it more intense.
I am sure that there are plenty of people who would enjoy these short stories of desire, but they didn’t really do a whole lot for me. The writing style and womens’ perspectives combine to form something that for me felt almost detached, because I didn’t really feel as if I had a way to connect with them. I don’t think that they are poorly written, but at the same time I didn’t find them erotic. There are two more volumes in the collection, and I am looking forward to seeing whether the stories become more enjoyable as the themes of the collections change.