As reviewed by Toni Whitmont in the March 2010 Booktopia Buzz. Click here to see all of Booktopia's Newsletters.
Febos was always going to be different. She home schooled herself, lived independently from 16, eventually went to Harvard night school and made a living for a while as a professional dominatrix in a top tier dungeon in Manhattan. She now teaches literature and writing.
This is her story of those years in leather.
It is an honest and beautifully written expression of female desire and is both literary and commercial in its appeal.
Reviewed by Toni Whitmont, Booktopia Buzz Editor - March 2010
Whip Smart is the story of how a heroin-addicted college junior with perfect grades chose to become a professional dominatrix at a top-tier "dungeon" in Manhattan. What began as an exhilarating anthropological experiment became a life-changing personal journey.
After Febos' drug addiction hit its nadir, her sessions at The Dungeon of Mistress X progressed from sensual to corporal to those in which she physically submitted to her clients. In sobriety she was forced to confront her very real obsessions with power and desire.
As a result, she freed herself from her obsessions with secrecy, lies and double lives, and learned how to have a truly open mind, and a bigger heart.
Whip Smart is a literary memoir that focuses on the universality of Febos experiences with addiction and sex work. While the story involves many sensational situations and details, the emotional experience is one that most people will relate to.
It doesn't romanticise or sensationalise or typify the sex-worker experience or the addict experience. It doesn't shy away from the intellectual and psychological questions that such an experience inspires but nor does it reach for easy armchair-psych explanations. Really, it's a coming of age memoir, a love story.
About the Author
Melissa Febos grew up on Cape Cod. She dropped out of high school at the age of 15. After home schooling herself for a year, she moved to Boston, living independently at the age of 16. There, she began taking night classes at Harvard, eventually transferring colleges and moving to New York. She graduated from The New School while working full time as a professional dominatrix, and went on to receive an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has now lived in Brooklyn for almost ten years. Febos currently teaches literature and writing to students at SUNY Purchase College and at The Gotham Writers Workshop.
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 278
Published: 3rd March 2010
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.4 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.384