The Juliette Society by Sasha Grey

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I, unlike a lot of the reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads had no idea who Sasha Grey was before I started reading this. When I looked her up, I must admit I understood a little better. Sasha used to be a porn star, now that doesn’t phase me but it explains some of the language she uses in the book. I did enjoy this book on one level, but on another I was left disappointed and confused. It had the potential to be so much more, but there seemed to be no clear story-line and lots of issues.

The novel is about a student, Catherine, and her induction into a secret sex club called The Juliette Society, at least I thought it was. The Society doesn’t actually feature all that much in the story, but what Grey does is shed light onto the seedier side of the sexual underworld which I found interesting. She introduces us to characters and situations which look at exploitation, porn and blackmail, and Grey doesn’t shy away from being explicit about it.

Catherine spends  a huge chunk of the book fantasising, about strangers, her teacher, her best friend and her boyfriend. It starts to blur the lines between fantasy and reality, and it’s not always clear which is which. At times it’s really steamy and sexy, at others it’s like a porno aimed at men which I found less sexy as a female reader.

I found all the inter-textual aspects a little much, I’m not stupid – I have a Masters degree in English Literature, but it felt like she wanted me to feel thick so that she could brag about how intelligent she is. It also randomly broke up the narrative which I found unsettling as a reader, and honestly it was a little boring in places.

Overall I can’t say I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, sexy read but instead I’d maybe recommend it to someone looking for something a bit more complex as it needs unraveling, and at times serious concentration.

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