Good Pussy Bad Pussy

Although I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s clear that A Aimee, the pseudonomous author of Good Pussy Bad Pussy, considers it a literary touchstone. Her book is full of international locations, fantastical sex scenes, and wealthy love interests. Unfortunately, it’s also full of some of the oddest and more unsettling writing I’ve ever encountered in a novel, erotic or otherwise.   Aimee’s slim volume of erotic fantasy starts off in the French Riviera, where our main character Rachel is struggling to decide between her two courtiers: the blond and brooding Stefan, and his mentor, the dashing international businessman Albert. The three of them are in an erotic power struggle, and while the two men vie for Rachel’s affection, it is also clear that they both consider her chattel – just another asset they can spend at will. Early in the story, Rachel is instructed to go with a repulsive German named Felix. She is a gift to the bearlike man, who gets her drunk, rapes her, and then passes out with his boxers still around his ankles.   The story gets stranger from there.   Our now-pregnant heroine returns to her loveless marriage in Amsterdam, flies to New York to mourn the passing of her father, is raped (again!) by her brother-in-law, falls back in with an old flame who ODs on heroin, and is stalked by her rapist, who insinuates himself in her home and drugs her and rapes (yet again!) her for the better part of a week, as her cold and clueless husband fails to notice her unhappiness. Oh, and at some point, she has stranger-sex on the Amsterdam beach with an American stranger named Frank.   Unusually for an erotic novel, this book is full of rape scenes, and they are, to say the least, uncomfortable. Rachel often goes from unwilling (and drugged) victim to someone who finds herself responding erotically to her rapist’s touch, which opens the door for all kinds of rape apologia that, frankly, I’m just not interested in reading. Those scenes, and there are many of them, are slimy, uncomfortable, and unappealing.   Rachel’s pregnancy does serve to hold the story together, as neither she nor we know for certain who the father might be. Her ex-husband, brutal though he may be is a candidate; so are her two suitors from Nice. As a framing device, it’s rather elegant, adding weight to the story and giving us a sense of time throughout. But the writing itself is often clunky and imperfect – sometimes laughably so, when Aimee attempts to imbue her characters with a bit of “street” by having them say things like, “You is strong.” Rachel’s interiour monologue swings wildly from hysterical questioning to dead-eyed pragmaticism, and it comes as a genuine surprise when she decides her calling is psychology; she barely seems self-aware enough to ride the bus by herself, let along plumb the depths of the human experience.   Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the quality of the other erotica I’ve read, most of which has been short, well-written, feminist-friendly, and breathlessly hot. Devoting an entire novel to Rachel’s adventures seems unnecessary, and while it’s clear that Aimee means to bring us something new and exciting, she needs a ruthless editor and a crash course in what “rape culture” actually means. Fantasy or not, this book fails to hit its mark.  

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