As the theatrical release of the film adaptation of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey”nears, the Chicago Tribune’s Keri Wiginton has complied a short list of kinky fiction that those whose interest in BDSM has been piqued by the 100-millions seller should be sure to check out.
“Master of O” by Ernest Greene, a pen name for Ira Levine, reimagines Desclos’ work. Though “Story of O” was a revelation to Levine, who said he read the book in his teens, he was ultimately disappointed with the harshness of the two male leads and the overall portrayal of the BDSM community (BDSM is an acronym encompassing bondage and discipline, domination and submission and sadism and masochism). Levine unapologetically calls himself a “Dominant” and wanted to write what he considers a more authentic story. Being kinky, which Levine says is more an orientation than a lifestyle choice, is something to be enjoyed.
This modern-day adaptation is set in Los Angeles among the Hollywood elite. When O is introduced, she is already the perfect submissive, which really means she calls the shots, based on the boundaries she sets. Ray, who seems a little too squeamish, introduces her to his half-brother Steven. Ray wants to share O, who he said gets bored easily. Both male characters are more likable in Levine’s version, and O is portrayed as a willing, able participant.
“Fifty Shades” makes sure to inform the reader of all details concerning consent, negotiation, hard vs. soft limits and all other ethical matters concerning a BDSM relationship. Levine skips the legalese, a move that makes the book more fun from the start; he suggests his readers take a tutorial about such matters if they are so inclined. Don’t skip over the foreword if you dive into this 763-page erotic drama; it only enriches the reading experience to understand Levine’s background and motive for writing the book.
To read the rest of the Chicago Tribune’s picks, visit here.