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Sunday 15 March 2009

Bride Stripped Bare by Anon

Review:- A Mother produces a manuscript apparently written by her Daughter, a Daughter that has recently disappeared, the manuscript is "The Bride Stripped Bare". This is a very gripping introduction that had me thinking from the start if this is actually true, not so much the novel but if the Anonymous writer had in fact gone missing. This grabs readers immediately and the attention doesn't diminish either.

This book is very creatively and uniquely written, I had never come across a similar writing technique. It's written in second person which invites the readers to participate and/or become the narrator of the book, it makes you think that this is "your" story.

"You" are a recently married London housewife. On the wake of your honeymoon you hear your husband, Cole having a disturbing conversation with your lifelong bestfriend Theo about you! You assume that they are having an affair and in anger and fear you seek out your independence. You have come across a manuscript by an Elizabethan in which she writes witty and confidential secret desires of women of that era, you decide that you too should do something of the kind.

At a coffee shop, away from home and the life that you know, you meet a younger man, a virgin, Gabriel. You decide that he will be the perfect student and tool for your secret fantasies and desires and you start "lessons" to teach him how to satisfy you sexually. Things are good, he is quickly learning but soon he wants more, he wrecks things, this is meant to be a second life, nothing more. It's not meant to replace your actual life, home, marriage, the usual things in life. Gabriel falls in love with you and this scares you. Your two lives aren't meant to join together, they are two separate women, two separate lives, he has no right to do this, you retreat and go back home to Cole, the life that is familiar and you know what is expected of you at all times. 

This is the generally gist of the story. I believe that the writer wanted to write it as if it was a story of your life but at the same time she writes it as if it was a handbook, even going so far as naming her chapters as "lessons".

This book is very original and I adored the writing. This type of writing technique would not be easy to pull off but she did it wonderfully. I like the plot and enjoyed the book thoroughly. However, I did have some qualms, one being that the whole disappearance of the Author was never again mentioned so as a reader you wonder what happened? After all, this is what grabs you at the start, hence I believe readers would like to know how it went from the happy ending to her disappearance? This is something that the writer doesn't elaborate on, I'm unsure if this is done on purpose to allow the readers to draw their own conclusion, but it was a confusing element for me.

There is sexual references to this book and whilst I've never read a book with such vivid description I still think that these parts of the book was still done with enough taste that you didn't feel like your reading pornography. However, there is one sexual reference that I didn't like nor did I understand it's point within the book, and I doubt that many if any women would be able to empathize with this part of the story. After breaking up with Gabriel she wants to forget about him and she still wants to continue on her sexual escapades and when taking a taxi home she tells the taxi driver to bring a friend and meet her at the hotel. I found this ever so unrealistic, cheap, tacky and just plain wrong. Whilst I understand it is fiction and it is reflecting the sexual fantasies of one woman, the writer, I had assumed from her writing, that she is trying to reflect and represent the general women population and whilst I don't know statistics I had assumed that there wouldn't be many that would just tell taxi drivers to meet them in hotels. I just didn't understand that part.

Apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it's writing and it's general story. I thought this was cleverly written and put together and whilst I didn't really see many similarities between my life story and that of the Author I can still sympathize and empathize with some of her actions and decisions and the story rounded off nicely too.


Anonymous said...

I'd have a serious problem with the ending. I would thoroughly piss me! I don't like those open-ended endings. I don't want to draw my own conclusion. If I did, I'd write my own book.

With the material, I understand why, but still...I wouldn't like it.

Unknown said...

I agree with you J-Kaye. Had the whole disappearance thing not have come up at all the ending was considered to be rounded off quite nicely but because this was the "grabber" of the book and then it was never again mentioned it was like, so what happened between the happy ending and her disappearing? That was the only confusing element about the book, but it maybe that I didn't interpret the book correctly as many people actually didn't like it despite the glowing reviews online.


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