Review: Nine and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Title: Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair
Author: Elizabeth McNeill
Genre: Erotic Memoir
Type: Standalone
POV: First Person – Female
Rating:

 

Elizabeth McNeil was a professional career woman who had a mundane sex life until he met a man who forced her to breach her own hard limits. He seduced her into the world of sadomasochism and made her begged for more. But how far is too far in her quest of sexual revelation?

I first came across this book when it was mentioned as depressing type of book. I’ve never watched the movie version of this so I didn’t know what to expect. And this was also the first memoir I’ve read.

On my knees, my head on my arms, sounds from my throat that I can’t interpret: neither fear nor longing but the inability to distinguish between the two.

Elizabeth (real life Ingeborg Day) quickly learned that she enjoyed being in an anonymous relationship and exploring the darker side of sex. Every day she allowed him to push her more and more outside her comfort zone, making her drunk with the thrills.

He, who was not named, was an enigma. One moment he was sweet (in his own way) and incredibly attentive to her wants and need, the next moment he was a cruel, impassive sadist.

My body had nothing to do with me. It was a decoy, to be used whichever way he decided, toward the end of exciting us both.

Their relationship was mutually beneficial for the most part. I love seeing his cruelty, some which was probably done simply for his sick amusement. And it was fascinating watching her submission.

However, I had a hard time trying to decide how I like this book or not. When I think of it as a memoir, this book was impactful as these things actually happened to a real person. I could only imagine how she allowed herself to be treated.

But when I think of it in term of general appeal and its “entertainment value”, it was lacking. I had hard time getting into the feel. It took me almost to the last 30% for it to really grab my attention.

Partly it was due to technical issues. The sentences were long, ran on and disjointed. The paragraphs were also very long. And the formatting was distracting (like for the dialogues). When I read a book, I like them to be “clean”.

Also, the writing was very clinical while some parts were unnecessarily detailed. There were minimal descriptions of the characters and their background, making me had a hard time feeling for them. As a reader, I want to feel for the characters; no matter they’re real or fictional.

So basically, in term of the underlying story, this book has substance but it’s lacking emotions. It could have been something that would blow me away if only they were merged better.

Nine and a Half Weeks chronicled the ups and down of a real woman’s life during the period of her BDSM affair and the impact it left after it was over. It was raw look into the lifestyle when fairytale is taken out of the equation.

 

This review is also available on Goodreads.

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