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Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Sophie Morgan

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498238,224 (2.83)1
Member:winterlillies
Title:Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening
Authors:Sophie Morgan
Info:Gotham Books (2012), Kindle Edition, 324 pages
Collections:Blog Review, Non-fiction / Memoir, Your library
Rating:***
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Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening by Sophie Morgan (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is the first time I read a book like that. And I don't mean erotica/kink.

This has basically been a monologue given by a submissive, and having been written in First person is not easy to read. At some point after a few chapters you forget about that, and are so into her self discovery and the way she builds relationships - the First person thing is a non-issue.

I'm not sure how to review this book. It's not exactly fiction, not at all, actually, so I wasn't able to put myself in Sophie's shoes or try to imagine how and what she's going through. But I did feel like I wanted to know that she's okay with her journey, and that she's not harmed along the way. So when I hit about 90% of the story, I kind of wanted to bitchslap James. A lot. And maybe cane his dick a little. Ok, a lot.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in reading into a submissive's mind. It's very telling where the considerations, logic and motives when living this life is concerned. Might enlighten some people.

Well done, Sophie! ( )
  TheBookHammock | Sep 24, 2013 |
Well this book was sure disappointing. My whole reason for wanting to read it was that it was billed as a "memoir" but I kept thinking it sure didn't read like non-fiction, and I come to find out it was PUBLISHED AS FICTION a year previously and apparently nobody cared about it and so they re-published it as non (how are they even allowed to do that??) I wanted to read psychological insight into kink stuff but it turned out to be a mixture of porn, stuff about her job, and relationship drama, and only the first of those was interesting. As porn goes some of it was pretty hot, but I can read plenty of hot porn online without having to wade through all the other dumb stuff. Not at all what I was expecting. ( )
  selfcallednowhere | Apr 30, 2013 |
Disappointing.

Okay, first let me say that reading this book was stimulating to put it mildly. The scene descriptions range from soft to hardcore, from psychological dominance vs submission to agonizing physical sadomasochism, and all of it is hot if you're into heavy duty bdsm.
Also, the writing is good. Excellent even.
So based on these points alone the book deserves 5 stars.
But I feel completely ripped off and am giving it only 1 star, would not recommend it on any point other than mentioned above and I'll explain why.

The cover of a book usually tells you what you can expect from a book. In this case the back cover tells us that we're supposed to be looking at a memoir, a true story. The front cover tells us that we can expect a real-life Fifty Shades of Grey. The back cover tells us that Fifty's real name is James.
But the book does not live up to these claims in any way.

The plot of this book has no similarities whatsoever with EL James' FSoG plot. This is not a story about a trembling virgin who can't stand pain and is not submissive and consequently does not enter into a bdsm relationship with a highly successfull fifty shades of fucked-up dominant sadist who she is desperately in love with and agrees with because of strong mutual attraction to enter into a vanilla with maybe a chocolate sprinkling romantic marriage. (take a breath here)
This is a story about a girl with kinky fantasies from early childhood on and how she fully explores these in subsequent relationships with dominant and/or sadistic partners achieving happiness and fullfillment along the way.

James is one of the partners Sophie explores her kinky fantasies with. James is a stockbroker. James is described as having more (bdsm) experience than Sophie although this experience is claimed to stem from "a few long-term, albeit vanilla, relationships and some D/s-tinged flings". Nothing like the experience Christian Grey is portrayed to have accumulated from 15 contractual subs and extensive bdsm playing with Mrs. Robinson and in bdsm clubs in the greater Seattle area. I'm not sure what a stockmaker takes home but I don't generally get the impression that they make 100.000 by the hour as we are told Christian Grey does. There seems to be one similarity only, and it lies in an explanation James gives Sophie about the reason he has ended all contact between them: "The more I like you, the more time we spend together, the harder it is for me to dominate you, Sophie. To hurt you." He seems to tell her that - like Christian - he cannot hurt (as in sadistically hurt) a woman he loves.

Now these two issues I could possibly forgive as being publisher's blurb. They're not the reason I bought this book.
My main objection to the book lies with the claims that the story is a memoir, a true story. This is why I wanted to read the book and it does not (fully) meet these claims in my view. This is my main disappointment and the issue I can't forgive.

To start with the memoir claim. In my view the book stops being a memoir half way through the text. Whereas Sophie up to that moment has described her insights connected with her life events, from a certain point onwards the descriptions of the events only remain, and the book than becomes no different from any bdsm erotica book with raunchy sex scenes that does not claim to be a memoir. Although there is lots of text surrounding the final scenes leading up to the breakup between Sophie and James we never get to see why it is not "odd that such cruelty and humiliation inspired the thought, but by the end of our weekend I knew I loved this twisted, clever, tender man". The chapter ends with the statement that "no one could understand my nature, my personality, better than him". Just before the epilogue we are told that "I knew what I was looking for now. And I knew it was worth waiting for." But unfortunately all this knowledge seems to remain with James and Sophie, for she gives us no further insights as to the what and why and how as I would have hoped to get from a memoir.

I am going to be blunt as to the next claim, that it is a true story. I just don't believe it.
I just don't believe the odds of finding as many compatible bdsm partners, in the wild, the way Sophie does. She seems to be tripping over them. Being a journalist, she meets James through interviewing him. Thomas she meets in a queue in front of a cinema. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt there are many many kinky men and women about. Vanilla is just one flavour, although it does seem to be the most widely available one. But stepping away from the vanilla flavour the saying goes: My Kink Is Not Your Kink. Based on this I just don't believe that it is so easy as she makes it out to be to find the ones compatible with her specific type of kink every single time. With odds as lucky as hers she should try the lottery more often.
Even luckier than that: once she has found these compatible bdsm partners nothing ever goes wrong in any of the interactions. She can handle everything, never doubts, never has to use a safeword to stop play when it gets too challenging, never a crossed limit, nothing that she is more vulnerable with at any time, never any influence stemming from life's ups and downs, never ever anything but bliss from here to eternity. Nothing of the kind, just sobbing all the while how degrading and humiliating and painful it is. Really? How realistic does that sound?

No. I don't believe it. This is not a real life story. This is not a memoir. This is fiction. ( )
1 vote Bluerabella | Apr 3, 2013 |
I got an ARC of this--obviously the latest in what will probably be an avalanche of 50 Shades of Grey-alikes...
It's MUCH better written than 50SOG, for sure, and there are actually moments that are kinda hot. However, she is REALLY REALLY into spanking! And, you know, her kink is OK, but it is not my kink. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
Morgan’s book opens up with a prologue that many of us no doubt have witnessed before. A man and a woman are outside; the man tugs on her hair forcibly and we hear him call her a slut and whore. We look into her eyes and see fury behind them as she restrains herself and the man’s hand tangles tighter into her hair as we, the outsider watch. Immediately our thoughts range from calling for help to intervening, but as Morgan describes the scene, it plays out as that of a D/s (Dominance and submission) relationship. It’s an uncomfortable read as you realize what she describes could be any couple located anywhere, but at the same time she plays it off as part of the lifestyle. We the reader/outsider are left to wonder if the woman is in trouble and as they walk away, one can’t help question if we should have intervened. That scene is disturbing because abuse is not something to take lightly, but as she points out how can we tell what a relationship is? She craves the experience and is sexually aroused by it, while we, the outsider, can’t tell what’s going on. This is how our journey with Morgan beings; a mad, bad, and dangerous journey into the BDSM lifestyle.

I sometimes wonder how someone develops a fetish or a particular kink. Morgan doesn’t delve into that, but rather how she came into the lifestyle. She touches upon the normal childhood she had growing up in England; mentions her family was a typical middle class, but received no corporal punishment and was just sent up to her room when she misbehaved. This is important because her first experience involving anything remotely close to a BDSM experience was with an American she met while at university. Ryan turns out to be her first foray into the world of kink. Morgan explains how excited she was to get to know his sexual preferences and how to please him. While she says she had a good imagination, the use of a hairbrush as her first official spanking shocked her. Yes the spanking hurt and was nothing like she had imagined; yet she found the sensation pleasurable to the point of arousing her. She credits Ryan with her “first taste of playing with someone who was a dominant foil to my submissiveness, who didn’t judge me for what turned me on,” and we see how her life is forever changed.

What does Morgan teach us about being a submissive and those in the lifestyle? First of all, our misconceptions regarding those into BDSM are challenged. She shows us this through the introduction of three distinct men in her life. These men are different from each other in looks and in their choice of career. All three show her what she wants in a relationship and how much of a submissive she is. Morgan calls herself a feminist several times and yet she calls certain behaviors demeaning to her. I found these sections to be contradictory to her nature. Wouldn’t a feminist put a stop to these behaviors? Or is she using the excuse of pleasure her significant other clearly gets as way to justify the demeaning behavior? Is she hiding behind the mask of arousal to justify his behavior? Yes her limits are pushed and it’s clear that we as readers begin to separate exactly what we wouldn’t find acceptable in the bedroom, yet we have to remind ourselves this is her story and her life. While we may not agree with the behavior (yes I found it to be contradictory to her descriptions), she fully explains it’s her choice. She reminds us about this when she’s talking to one of three men, James. James is trying to come to terms with a sexual encounter between the two of them and she says, “Yes, you hurt me. But you do it with my permission. I beg you to do it, literally sometimes. Hurting me isn’t a bad thing in this context. The fact that you’re you – kind, intelligent, polite, lovely James – is what makes me feel confident and safe enough for you to do that. I wouldn’t give any old person that power over me. I give it to you. In fact, I’ve never given any other person the level of power over me that I’ve given you, not even Thomas. And I give you this power because of the vanilla you. If you were as merciless and harsh all the time as you are when you’re choking me then I wouldn’t want to play with you.” Suddenly it all makes sense. The level of trust she gives to another and giving up control is what she wants. She shows us that she’s educated, holds down a hectic job, and just like everyone else suffers from the same angst. There’s nothing deviant about her because she likes to be a submissive. Sure there are scenes that are hard to stomach, but then they just serve as a reminder what my hard limits would be and honestly, I’d be calling out my safe word.

While reading Diary of a Submissive, I agreed with a lot of what Morgan said. To the point I began to question myself and wondered if perhaps I’m secretly one of them. When I began to talk to others about this book I breathed a heavy sigh of relief with others indicated they agreed with Morgan. I’m not saying being into the lifestyle is bad or something to be ashamed about. What I admire Morgan for is putting it out there. A lot of women and men have read that other book, yes, Fifty Shades of Grey. A lot of Fifty fans are being recommended Morgan’s book as a “Fifty fix” because it’s “real life BDSM,” and alas I believe that’s a wrong approach. EL James herself has stated that the BDSM in her books is background, so in many ways filler and the heart of her novels is Ana and Grey’s relationship and not the fact he’s into BDSM. So when Fifty fans are given this to read to fill the Fifty void I cringe; I cringe mostly because they come into a pretense believing Morgan’s book will give them that love story that captured their hearts. You don’t get that with Morgan. What you get is a realistic glimpse of a BDSM lifestyle and what it’s like for her. Not everyone in the lifestyle will share similar experiences. I think it’s important to keep that in mind when reading other BDSM books in the genre. Not everything Morgan describes may sit well with a reader and again I remind you that Morgan’s book is her life and lifestyle which is varies greatly from a series in fiction as well as real life. Ana and Grey have nothing on Morgan.

In October, I had the opportunity to ask Morgan a question via Twitter. I asked her what she what thought of people recommending her book to Fifty fans and if it’s healthy for women to read about BDSM in fiction or does she worry about the misconceptions. Her response was “We just need to differentiate between d/s and abuse. It’s a grey area (no pun intended) but important, obviously.”

ETA: I always research a new author before I begin a book as a way to familiarize myself with their writing style and to compile a background portfolio on them (just so I know what may or may not influence their writing). I broke this personal rule before reading Diary. I did the research after and I as an academic, feel I need to report my findings.

In 2010, Kate Marley published a book, Subtext, and there’s some confusion whether or not it was fiction or nonfiction. Sometime between 2010 and this year, Subtext was rewritten, acquired a new publisher, and published as Diary of a Submissive. Research suggests both books are identical with parts of Diary expanded and names changed. When the opportunity came to interview Sophie, I jumped at the chance to seek clarification. Sadly, the question was not answered. I admit, I personally struggled with the rating because of that unanswered question. My immediate reaction to was to bring it down, but in the end I decided to keep it and while some do believe Diary is fiction (based on Subtext), I’ll leave that up to you to decide. ( )
  winterlillies | Dec 21, 2012 |
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macchia, fabriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prencipe, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The author presents her experiences in a submissive relationship with a dominant man for their mutual sexual pleasure.

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