There's a new bondage book on the block. And it's BIG.
The always-innovative Alison Tyler has devised a unique form of blog tour where, rather than reviewing the entire collection, each participant reviews just one story. The story I'll be talking about is "The Naughty Chair" by Donna George Storey.
Every time I read a story by Donna George Storey, I feel like I'm getting a glimpse into someone's life. There's no need to suspend disbelief. It's real. It's recognizable.
From the desciption of Zach's place, I knew where this story was set: my first apartment. The futon? The mismatched chairs inherited from the last tenant? Check, check. Donna's evocative writing grounds the reader in a familiar setting. You're right there, right away, ready to go.
But this story isn't about an apartment, obviously. It isn't even really about a chair. It's about a relationship. A new one. One in which the power dynamic hasn't yet been negotiated. In fact, in a big way, it's being negotiated right before our eyes.
Established BDSM relationships have clear boundaries. The most exciting stories, for me, are those in which the parameters are being challenged, or where they haven't yet been explicitly built. The Naughty Chair is one of the latter. When Zach proposes tying Jillian up, this is the reaction:
"Jillian’s body jerked as if she’d been slapped." And, later: "His bold words seemed to slither up inside her, hot and hard and nasty."
Jillian is ashamed of what she wants. For me, a character like this is refreshing because she's so... not me. She projects her desire onto an inanimate object. She can't articulate what she wants. She can't say the words.
For me, as a fairly genderfucked queer, I tend to identify more with the dudes in het stories. I like Zach because he doesn't need to tie Jillian to that chair. "This is voluntary bondage." He forces her to confront the "struggle between her desire and her inhibition." That said, Jillian and Zach both characterize female sexuality in ways that don't resonate with me. In words, they do. Their actions tell a different tale.
The Naughty Chair is a switch story, just this side of vanilla, and very sweet. New-relationship sweet. It goes without saying that it's well-written, but I'll say it anyway. We writers need to hear that. :-)
Want to scoop up your own copy of The Big Book of Bondage? Get it from Cleis Press and Amazon: