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The powerfully erotic memoir that inspired the legendary film with a forward by bestselling novelist Francine Prose. Nine and a Half Weeks is a true story so unusual, so passionate, and so extreme in its psychology and sexuality that it will take your breath away. Elizabeth McNeill was an executive for a large corporation when she began an affair with a man she met The powerfully erotic memoir that inspired the legendary film with a forward by bestselling novelist Francine Prose. Nine and a Half Weeks is a true story so unusual, so passionate, and so extreme in its psychology and sexuality that it will take your breath away. Elizabeth McNeill was an executive for a large corporation when she began an affair with a man she met casually. Their sexual excitement depended on a pattern of domination and humiliation, and as their relationship progressed they played out ever more dangerous and elaborate variations on that pattern of sadomasochism. By the end, Elizabeth had relinquished all control over her body — and her mind. With a cool detachment that makes the experiences and sensations she describes all the more frightening in their intensity, Elizabeth McNeill deftly unfolds her story and invites you into the mesmerizing and dangerous world of Nine and a Half Weeks — a world you won't soon forget.


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The powerfully erotic memoir that inspired the legendary film with a forward by bestselling novelist Francine Prose. Nine and a Half Weeks is a true story so unusual, so passionate, and so extreme in its psychology and sexuality that it will take your breath away. Elizabeth McNeill was an executive for a large corporation when she began an affair with a man she met The powerfully erotic memoir that inspired the legendary film with a forward by bestselling novelist Francine Prose. Nine and a Half Weeks is a true story so unusual, so passionate, and so extreme in its psychology and sexuality that it will take your breath away. Elizabeth McNeill was an executive for a large corporation when she began an affair with a man she met casually. Their sexual excitement depended on a pattern of domination and humiliation, and as their relationship progressed they played out ever more dangerous and elaborate variations on that pattern of sadomasochism. By the end, Elizabeth had relinquished all control over her body — and her mind. With a cool detachment that makes the experiences and sensations she describes all the more frightening in their intensity, Elizabeth McNeill deftly unfolds her story and invites you into the mesmerizing and dangerous world of Nine and a Half Weeks — a world you won't soon forget.

30 review for Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair

  1. 4 out of 5

    Delee

    Sexy book alert!!! Anyone who knows me, knows I am frigid and heartless. ;) I am NOT an erotic novel fan- I like sex outside my reading materials- and I lack a fantasy reading life. Barf to Outlander...Double barf to 50 Shades of Grey type books- but this...this is something I can sink my teeth into. Thank you Karly! Soooooooooooooo very long ago- when I was crushing on the whooooooole Diner cast- I came across the movie- 9 and 1/2 weeks. It is Mickey Rourke at his most delicious- and Kim Basinger Sexy book alert!!! Anyone who knows me, knows I am frigid and heartless. ;) I am NOT an erotic novel fan- I like sex outside my reading materials- and I lack a fantasy reading life. Barf to Outlander...Double barf to 50 Shades of Grey type books- but this...this is something I can sink my teeth into. Thank you Karly! Soooooooooooooo very long ago- when I was crushing on the whooooooole Diner cast- I came across the movie- 9 and 1/2 weeks. It is Mickey Rourke at his most delicious- and Kim Basinger as her most natural and beautiful self (for all those horny lads out there). I had no idea it was a book. A book based on real life. Karly let me know this existed as a novel...and as soon as I found out that little tidbit- I was allllllllll over it. Because THIS was the movie I thought of as sexy in my younger days. Nothing has held a candle to it since. For all you hard core porn lovers- step aside. I like my sexy more subtle. ...even though I reeeeeeeeaallly enjoyed the novel NINE AND A HALF WEEKS- I have to say, I found reading the written version much more depressing and frustrating...and less masturbation worthy. The truth is usually so- The main character under the spell of an abusive male- was less spell-binding than the Mickey Rourke fantasy...but still worth the read. Woman meets the man of her dreams. Successful, handsome, and strong. He is what is going to make her life complete. A successful strong woman herself- she easily gives over to him all her power after 5 pm. Welcomes it really. He takes care of her...brushes her hair, picks her clothes...and handcuffs her to a chair and feeds her nightly- providing her with the best sex of her life afterwards. In return he asks her for what he thinks is coming to him. All her power...and the complete lack of being able to question anything he asks of her. Is that much to ask? YES...yes it is. So this relationship will last only for a very short period of time...only for... Nine and a Half Weeks. This was the one case where I actually liked the movie better than I liked the book- The movie was much more joyful and sexy...the book much more sad and dark. But even after saying that- NINE AND A HALF WEEKS is soooooo worth the read- and the back story of the author absolutely riveting. Highly recommended!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I could say I read this book because I'm curious about literary erotica (earlier this year I read Anais Nin's Delta of Venus, now I'm reading Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer), but if I'm going to be honest, it's all because of him: Oh baby. Mickey Rourke in the 80s, that's what it's all about. And before you interrupt, yes, I know what he looks like now. It's one of the great tragedies of the 20th century. But shhhhhh, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about this: Mickey Rourke in 9 1/2 I could say I read this book because I'm curious about literary erotica (earlier this year I read Anais Nin's Delta of Venus, now I'm reading Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer), but if I'm going to be honest, it's all because of him: Oh baby. Mickey Rourke in the 80s, that's what it's all about. And before you interrupt, yes, I know what he looks like now. It's one of the great tragedies of the 20th century. But shhhhhh, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about this: Mickey Rourke in 9 1/2 Weeks and David Bowie in Labyrinth, they taught 90s me so much. But I'm getting a wee bit off topic here... this is supposed to be a book review, after all. When this book arrived in the mail, it was extra exciting to see it was shrink-wrapped, just like my copy of American Psycho. I thought, gee, there must be some hot stuff in these pages, if publishers have to protect innocent eyes with a layer of plastic. I prepared for my cheeks to burn, my pupils to dilate, for returning again and again to dog-eared pages and delightfully naughty passages. 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. But, weirdly, none of that happened for me. The novella, which is close enough plot-wise to the Adrian Lyne film version (minus the food sex scene and cheesy Joe Cocker striptease), is told in such a flat voice. It felt dead. The author tells the story of her doomed romance with an unnamed man - a romance which is based on their ever-intensifying sadomasochistic relationship. She becomes more and more his object, and they get up to some violent, strange stuff. Edgy, provocative. But it's detached, almost clinical in its description. I found myself thinking, yes, yes, bondage, yes, yes, abdication of power, but when is it gonna get sexy? What I liked about it is the intelligence behind the writing. This ain't no Fifty Shades, friends. The author depicts the pain and claustrophobia of the relationship so well. It makes one think about how any relationship can become obsessive. How dangerous it can be when the fine line between giving yourself and losing yourself is crossed. I also liked that it is a woman's account. Written 40 years ago, it continues to stand out as a female confessional, where her boundaries are the ones analysed, and her lover's identity is so unimportant he could almost be any man. So, that is cool too. Too bad it failed to light flames in this reader. It's tougher than you'd think, to compete with 80s Mickey Rourke. (I think I'm still learning about what "literary erotica" means. So far, it's been a baffling, elusive animal. Still, a fascinating chase.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    warhawke

    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. Ive never watched the movie version of this so I didnt know what to 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. For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stylo Fantome

    Whoa. Like ... whoooooooaaaaaa I may piss a lot of people off with this statement, but screw it. When FSOG first became huge, and people were losing their cookies over it, I kind of looked around and went "what's the big deal? I've seen that - it's called '9 and 1/2 Weeks'," - and now that I've actually read it, that statement it truer than ever. (view spoiler)[It is SO DIFFERENT from the movie. The movie always hinted at there being heavier BDSM happening in their relationship, but you never Whoa. Like ... whoooooooaaaaaa I may piss a lot of people off with this statement, but screw it. When FSOG first became huge, and people were losing their cookies over it, I kind of looked around and went "what's the big deal? I've seen that - it's called '9 and 1/2 Weeks'," - and now that I've actually read it, that statement it truer than ever. (view spoiler)[It is SO DIFFERENT from the movie. The movie always hinted at there being heavier BDSM happening in their relationship, but you never really see it. He buys a riding crop, she dances with a pair of handcuffs, he dresses her, blah blah. No. That's like ... nothing, compared to what goes on in the book. He beats her with a belt, with a brush, with his hands - and she likes it. Wants it. Begs for it. Leaves her naked, with her wrists tied to a hook in the wall, well over her head, while he finishes up his paperwork and watches a movie. Keeps her in handcuffs virtually every moment she's in the apartment, ties her to whatever piece of heavy furniture is nearest to where he's sitting. I like the movie a lot, Mickey Rourke was H-O-T in it. But the man is so different in the book - it actually made reading it harder, because I knew how it would end. Rourke's character in the movie was always kind of closed off, detached from her. You didn't see them talking a whole lot. In the book, she says "I spent more time talking to him than anyone else in my entire life." They're friends, he's personable, lovable at times. It's consensual. He jokes with her, reads with her, laughs with her. They're in love. So when something wrong does happen, it cut so much deeper while reading it. When that ending inevitably happened, I wanted to scream at my Kindle. I don't know how it could have gone on, but I definitely wanted it to. (hide spoiler)] This book was ahead of its time. If FSOG is a shocker now, than this book must have knocked people on their asses in the '70's. This book is a contender right up there with The Dark Duet and any other dark, fetish, taboo novel. This book is not for everybody. But I found it a refreshing read - it's allegedly true, an autobiography, written by a woman who used a pen name because she feared what people would think of her living that life style. And the writing style itself! There's a section where she literally describes the entire contents of his closet - should have been boring, but I was completely absorbed. It pulled me into his world, made me feel like I knew him, he was a tangible, real person that I wanted to know. I wanted to see his frayed cuffs and ski boots, I wanted to be in that room. Almost hypnotizing. A great read. I'm glad I saw it on someone else's TBR, because I hadn't known that the movie was based on a book, and I might never have discovered it otherwise.

  5. 5 out of 5

    JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust

    ***** 4 "I want 9 more weeks " STARS***** ...and this is one of those times. This book.. O.M. G. THIS MEMOIR !! . If you think you know Ingeborg Day's story because you've seen the movie; YOU DON'T. Nine and a Half Weeks the novel is I-N-S-T-E-N-S-E. Right from the start I found myself saying "WTF, I don't remember that being a scene in the film." I almost gave up on the damn book because it was tarnishing the image of my beloved Mickey Rourke... No, not the botox, botched face lift, hair ***** 4 "I want 9 more weeks " STARS***** ...and this is one of those times. This book.. O.M. G. THIS MEMOIR !! . If you think you know Ingeborg Day's story because you've seen the movie; YOU DON'T. Nine and a Half Weeks the novel is I-N-S-T-E-N-S-E. Right from the start I found myself saying "WTF, I don't remember that being a scene in the film." I almost gave up on the damn book because it was tarnishing the image of my beloved Mickey Rourke... No, not the botox, botched face lift, hair plugs Mickey Rourke of today.. This guy--> .... anyway, as I was saying.. The 91/2 lustful weeks between Elizabeth and John on paper does NOT sugar coat, romanticize, nor gloss over their sordid love affair. My emotions were all over the place while reading. One minute I'd be internally screaming to Elizabeth "Run you stupid cow !" Then 2 minutes later I'd be talking under my breath " You lucky heifer." I wanted to kick John in the balls at the start of the book, BUT a few pages later the Mickey charming, doting, oh so tempting John I remembered from the movie appeared ( and then some ) and I wanted to ** add verb here** said nuts. If were to ask me which I prefer, I honestly couldn't answer you. 9 x's out of 10 the book is clearly the winner but in this case they both left me sad and in need of a stiff...... drink ! **if you haven't seen the movie here's a "R rated" sneaky peeky... http://youtu.be/XqGjzBQ5RKo <--- contains nudity . ** ~ Aloha! For more reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    A potent antidote to the straightforward romances Ive been reading lately. What is this madness! I vow that from now on Ill intersperse my junk food with layered, intense, thought-provoking lit from authors that are comfortable enough to leave interpreting their story to their readers. I immersed myself in Nine and a Half Weeks with the same reckless abandon the narrator threw herself in a brief but all-consuming affair thirty years earlier. A word of caution first: both Francine Prose and the A potent antidote to the straightforward romances I’ve been reading lately. What is this madness! I vow that from now on I’ll intersperse my junk food with layered, intense, thought-provoking lit from authors that are comfortable enough to leave interpreting their story to their readers. I immersed myself in Nine and a Half Weeks with the same reckless abandon the narrator threw herself in a brief but all-consuming affair thirty years earlier. A word of caution first: both Francine Prose and the publisher apparently have no notion of what a foreword entails. You’re not supposed to grossly spoiler the upcoming story for your unsuspecting reader in your, although excellent, musings. Shameful. With her sisters’ hard-won battle for equality fresh in mind, "Elizabeth" (a pseudonym for Ingeborg Day, whose real identity wasn’t disclosed until much later) published this brutally honest memoir of her sadomasochistic affair with an unnamed man. A heady experience at first, cathartic even, before becoming increasingly intense and destructive. It must have been a slap in the face for some to read a woman describe "the nighttime rules decreed that I was helpless, dependent, totally taken care of. No decisions were expected of me, I had no responsibilities. I had no choice. I loved it. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it". An avalanche of BDSM romances hadn’t yet flooded the market at the time. FSOG didn’t exist yet (those were the days!). And although I suppose you can sense the echoes of Anais Nin’s work (and I now wonder if Annie Ernaux' Simple Passion was inspired by this, she uses similar style elements, though her story is tame and, dare I say, bland, in comparison), never before had a successful middle-class, but above all, a woman written so frankly about sexual obsession. She caused a sensation. There are, of course, multiple ways to perceive Nine and a Half Weeks. You can choose to think of this as a plain and simple story of abuse, a school example of violence against women even. You can write off her partner in obsession as a perverted fuck, or her as a troubled lady with a, no doubt, murky childhood. Personally, I like to view their affair as a disturbingly fascinating once in your lifetime experience. The author wasn’t one of those people who stare longingly at their temptations from afar and, when offered a chance at adventure, shy away from the heat and live to regret it. To hell with it!, this woman thought. She danced, leaped, right into that all-consuming fire. And the outside world ceased to be. "The reality of my days was replaced by surface equanimity and a blandness to the core. My lunches bland, going past me unnoticed, mingling bland and friendly talk with bland and friendly people (…) The nights were palpable and fierce, razors, outlined so clearly as to be luminous. A different country, its landscape and currency plain: heat, fear, cold, pleasure, hunger, glut, pain, desire, overwhelming lust." Beautiful. I think it’s important to take the backdrop against which Nine and a Half Weeks was written into account. That being said, Elizabeth’s memoir has lost none of its intensity over the years. I adored the author’s ability to reveal and confess without unpeeling all the layers of the story. Her time spent with him, forever a mystery, she describes in elegant, at times poetic, prose that manages to be both tantalizing and detached. More than anything, I loved how she offers no explanations, no excuses for what transpired. She must have heard the judging voices of her future readers in her head, yet she refuses to acknowledge them or be self-conscious about her memories, instead delivering her Nine and a Half Weeks in 120 pages that are devoid of justifications. Forgive me for rambling on about this! This story made me realize how often writers spell out how you are supposed to perceive their work, leaving little to the imagination. I’m tired of being manipulated into reaching the conclusions authors want me to reach. Ingeborg Day committed suicide in 2011 after having been ill for several years. Her main motivation for publishing Nine and Half Weeks under the pseudonym Elizabeth McNeill was not the content of her memoir, but the fact that she had a young daughter. She didn’t want to drag her with her into the expected ensuing controversy and excitement. I have questions, yes! I’d love to be able to discuss these things with other readers. If only more than two of my friends had read this book!:p No matter how shiny, do not click the spoiler if you haven’t read the book yet. Warning: confused 2 AM ramblings. (view spoiler)[The occasions on which they clashed, and he packed her suitcase and, cool as a cucumber, called her a cab: I still wonder if I should interpret those scenes as blatant threats to manipulate her into getting back into the rollercoaster with him? Or could it be that he was simply genuine in his approach? Perhaps because he knew exactly what it was he wanted from her in their affair, he accepted that she wouldn’t give him her all and simply moved on towards the consequences? A third explanation; he may simply have realized that, considering their master/slave dynamics, she needed that push to comply, and he gave it to her. And what about the drag king scene? I don't think I fully grasped his purpose. He undeniably went through all this trouble to find her the perfect disguise, and of course he's pushing her boundaries, she's embarrassed, yet thrilled about passing as a man. Then he says; "It's all inside you, you know. Nobody else ever cares. But it does make it a lot of fun for me that you do." Is he referring to exciting her, offering her new experiences, did he hope to humiliate her, does he just want to get his gay on for a night? I wonder about him! I’m so very intrigued! Do you think this man was experienced in what he did? He appeared to be perfectly in control for a long time, but all we ever learn about him is colored by her infatuated take on him. Perhaps he was, although impressively inventive, insecure in his own right, something he carefully hid from her? He’s only human after all. Could she have been the first woman who took the plunge with him entirely, a situation that proved to be so intoxicating for them both that he, too, became a victim of their obsession? It seems too black and white to perceive her as the victim, the courageous woman who escaped! Rather I’m inclined to think that, although he was the initiator, he too got sucked in a downward spiral of bittersweet self-destruction and found it impossible to jump off the freight train. Or... could it be that he was entirely happy with how things were going and ultimately disappointed in her? Since they never truly talked about their expectations and boundaries, drunk on each other as they were, there was no way of knowing how invested she was into this thing they had. Especially the way he treats her mental break-down at the end seems evidence that he was uncertain and unable to deal (when having displayed being a tender caretaker during her previous illness) with this sudden development; it hit him by surprise that she wasn’t on board anymore. Did she miss him in the years to come? (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    woman as wind-up toy, lalalalalala not listening. passion as cold-blooded ritual, lalalalalala not listening. upscale lifestyle detail porn, lalalalalala not listening. let's go shopping, lalalalalala not listening. a sexy abusive relationship, lalalalalala not listening. gorgeous prose, lalalalalala not listening.

  8. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    I want to live this book That ending just devastated me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

    Buddy-read with the lovely Heather coming up approximately September 23 (depending on the Canadian postal services) Monday, September 15 :) Review A conscious new power: vulnerablity, perverse if only because it is total, natural as grass nonetheless, or asphalt in New York There is an art to surrender... And it isn't always pretty or simple. The prose of Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair is shocking in its bluntness. It is almost as though McNeill removed herself to write it. Her Buddy-read with the lovely Heather coming up approximately September 23 (depending on the Canadian postal services) Monday, September 15 :) Review A conscious new power: vulnerablity, perverse if only because it is total, natural as grass nonetheless, or asphalt in New York There is an art to surrender... And it isn't always pretty or simple. The prose of Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair is shocking in its bluntness. It is almost as though McNeill removed herself to write it. Her words are like drops of wax on the page, finite and absolute. This is not a story one soon forgets. I admit, I find myself vexed that it found it's way into print in 1978! This memoir is as different as it gets from feel good "Mommy Porn" like FSoG - which I am reading shortly to formulate a cohesive opinion of. Although, i would encourage any person seeking to explore that sexual world to first read this memoir, if only to come to terms with how simple it is to get lost in your own surrender. It is so easy for the scales in pain/humiliation play to topple over. In fact, I would argue that it is almost a natural course of events. One that has to be fought and controlled to maintain balance. the difference between pain and pleasure became obscured in a way that turned them into two sides of a single coin However, it can be exceedingly erotic in controlled doses. Pain is grounding whilst pleasure is non-sensical, in this way a measure of pain intermingled with a sexual act can become like a railroad tie centering you into reality. One quick note: DO NOT read Francis Prose's foreword BEFORE the memoir it is full to the brim with spoilers!!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Licha

    3.5 stars Not my usual stuff to read but I love the movie. I had no idea this was a book, much less that this was a memoir written in the 70's under a pen name. The book was very hard to put down. I was up until four in the morning reading this knowing I had to get up by seven. I definitely felt like I needed a cold shower after this one. It was hard not picture (the young) Mickey Rourke and myself as I read this. But somewhere down the line, this relationship started to feel a little 3.5 stars Not my usual stuff to read but I love the movie. I had no idea this was a book, much less that this was a memoir written in the 70's under a pen name. The book was very hard to put down. I was up until four in the morning reading this knowing I had to get up by seven. I definitely felt like I needed a cold shower after this one. It was hard not picture (the young) Mickey Rourke and myself as I read this. But somewhere down the line, this relationship started to feel a little uncomfortable. The author was losing complete control of herself and the choices she made. It was sexy to a point, but when this man requires you to be handcuffed every night to the table, to the bedpost, to the sink...when is it overkill? He starts requiring her to steal something from a store but when he scoffs her for the wimpy way she stole the item he pushes her to assault and rob someone in an elevator. I would imagine a relationship like this would get boring real soon and the players would have to up the ante every time. This is what ends up happening. The stakes start getting higher, the demands more humiliating. What more can this relationship be based on after that? The book was written in a very detached way that added to the tension felt throughout the book. I thought it was the perfect style for this story. The reader is like a spectator, not there to make judgement, but to question themselves how far they would let this relationship go if they were in the author's place.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    So it it went, a step at a time...it came about that I found myself--after the time span of a mere two weeks--in a setup that would be judged, by the people I know, as pathological. He's moving me, edging me, step by careful step--nothing drunken about it--there goes one limit, another one, limits falling by the wayside. I'm afloat. After three days I've gone beyond my limits. For two months now, I've been out of control. Wow. This is my 3rd time rereading in 1 month. I was excited to see it So it it went, a step at a time...it came about that I found myself--after the time span of a mere two weeks--in a setup that would be judged, by the people I know, as pathological. He's moving me, edging me, step by careful step--nothing drunken about it--there goes one limit, another one, limits falling by the wayside. I'm afloat. After three days I've gone beyond my limits. For two months now, I've been out of control. Wow. This is my 3rd time rereading in 1 month. I was excited to see it free on KU. I originally read it on Scribd, it's also available on archive.org / open-library. I have to mention this book's writing style is understated, subtle, poetic, and elegant. I love that the author simply told her story without telling readers what to think. It's brave. My initial impression: (view spoiler)[All I can say right now is that I’m feeling emotionally rattled to my core. This memoir was erotic, but this was not typical erotic fiction simply meant to thrill and entice. This read as a psychological horror at times. The romance and love was twisted; there was manipulation and abuse. I don’t believe ‘He’ loved Her. He was a narcissist and sadist. He was not glorified or redeemed. Everything in this memoir really happened, and that made it all the more frightening to read. I took this partially as a cautionary tale. There were many red flags 'Elizabeth' chose to ignore, and too many compromises she made for this man. I don’t mean to sound judgmental, because she made it clear how she was wooed by ‘Him’ in the beginning. There was a slow but steady escalation into abuse. From the epilogue it seems she managed to move on with her life, though not unscathed. I'm relieved she got out of the relationship. I read this in one sitting but there were certain scenes that were so difficult to read I literally covered my eyes with my hands. (hide spoiler)] Thoughts after the reread (Major Spoilers): (view spoiler)[ First, I found this New Yorker article about the author (her real name was Ingeborg Day) fascinating: https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-... This time around I paid attention to how He manipulated Her. While I believe he had narcissistic traits, I do not think he was anything like a sociopath. He was enthralled by Her, wanted her, and was just as caught up in the affair. At one point She described him saying: He pushes both hands through his hair and says to the ceiling–evenly, deliberately–“This has got to go on like this. All we have to do is make it go on like this.” Through this ordeal she discovered she was turned on by submission and power exchange and got lost in it. Unfortunately, she discovered this with a man who a manipulative narcissist, instead of someone who used safe, sane, and consensual BDSM practices. She needed the ability to use a safe-word badly, which He would never allow. What makes me sad is that after she got out of this relationship she probably remained unsatisfied in vanilla relationships. It was the 70s, and more difficult to get involved in BDSM (in a safe, responsible way) than it is today. It sounds like she went back to her husband from the New Yorker article. Frankly, I disagree with the reviewers who wish things could have worked out between the mysterious 'He' and Ingeborg. I mean sure, I wish He was a completely different person who respected Her limits. He clearly was not that kind of man, and never would be. I'm glad she left Him, and I do think she left Him. I don't think He dumped her after her nervous breakdown. The thing about narcissists is that deep down they're insecure, afraid, and have a deep need for love & attention (which all gets funneled into a god complex). Ingeborg gave him love & adoration wholeheartedly. I think he knew it was a matter of time before she would become fed up, and just walk out not to return. Especially considering she was married with a daughter. To make sure she stayed as long as possible he employed a ton of psychological strategies to keep her hooked. I noticed she said she never saw him again...I can't help but believe that they exchanged written communication. Maybe he dropped her things off at her apartment and left a note? Perhaps he was too scared after her nervous breakdown. Maybe she eventually wrote him a letter? Signs of manipulation I noticed: Love-bombing (view spoiler)[ Thought Catalogue has a great article that describes how narcissist’s use love-bombing in relationships as a manipulation tactic. It describes the male lead here to a T. Love-Bombing Is Crack Cocaine: The Addictive Cycle Of Narcissistic Abuse Love-bombing is a way to gain control and power in a relationship. The next step is slowly pushing boundaries. This early boundary pushing was described on the first page of this book as was the various ways He doted on her and showered her with affection. He was literally employing these psychological manipulation tactics within the first 48 hours. It’s incredible. He did it so well too, in a twisted way I can’t help but admire his skill. (hide spoiler)] Isolation (view spoiler)[This is a no-brainer, very obvious. It played into how she traumatically bonded with Him. She could have physically left, but he manipulated her into staying alone with him very well. On one level, I understand how she didn’t recognize how fucked up the isolation was. Who hasn’t dropped their friends for a little while after meeting someone new and exciting? The desire to spend one on one time is strong. He took this natural desire and twisted it into completely isolating Her. (hide spoiler)] Abusive after-care (view spoiler)[ *I don’t mean after-care practiced in consensual BDSM relationships. This is a classic element of abuse, and a maneuver abusers incorporate to stretch their victim’s boundaries and keep them coming back. So the cycle continues, and the abuser escalates while the victim becomes more accepting. Her description of the affair mirrors this perfectly. I thought His method of escalating situations was fascinating. They would be joking around, having a nice conversation and then things would start to get sexual. At Her first sign of hesitancy to do what she was told he would punish her no holds barred. He was cruel, cold, and calculating about it too. The scene where he politely tells her to wear the garter belt, heels, and shirt dress is a perfect example. When she doesn’t want to crawl for him he casually says: “What I don’t get is why you can’t keep the idea of being hit in your mind, why it always actually has to be done to you. Before you say to me, no, I don’t want to do that-why don’t you picture me taking off my belt, in your head. Why you don’t remember from one night to the next what it feels like when it comes down on you. and then he grabs a riding crop: “Look at it,” he says. “Look at me. In three minutes I can get you so you’ll be in bed for a week.” and then he beats her while she crawls. Then they have sex and she says: It’s the one time with him and the first time at all that I come at the same time as my lover. Then he tenderly tucks her into bed while stroking her hair, and tells her she loved it. Wow. On some level she did love it, she says so in the book. It doesn't change the fact that his lack of boundaries was like playing with fire, and resulted in her breakdown. This isn't even scratching the surface! I could go on about his frankly genius methods of manipulation but I'm going to make myself stop. (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] The first time I read this I finished it in one sitting. I was caught up in the turbulent emotional storm that was this book. The second time I read this was just to make sure this book was real. The third time I was able to think about this a bit more abstractly. There are so many lens of thinking people can read this from. I know this time around I paid attention to the manipulation, but I understand readers who get caught up in the eroticism of this book and the thrill of Ingeborg's relationship. There's also more to think on--I loved Ingeborg's observations about her previous relationships. Her observations about intimacy, adulthood, and her thoughts about her own body. This book is too much! And only around 100 pages long. Very powerful.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rag

    No rating This book was not what I expected. Don't get me wrong I knew this was a memoir, but when it finally set in that this actually happened to somebody, I felt uncomfortable. I couldn't enjoy it nor dislike it, I just wanted to finish it and get it over with. I was confused as shit half of the time, and the writing wasn't all that great either. It was long and had some unnecessary things. It also took me long to finish because I wasn't looking forward. It also made me question, Why do we read No rating This book was not what I expected. Don't get me wrong I knew this was a memoir, but when it finally set in that this actually happened to somebody, I felt uncomfortable. I couldn't enjoy it nor dislike it, I just wanted to finish it and get it over with. I was confused as shit half of the time, and the writing wasn't all that great either. It was long and had some unnecessary things. It also took me long to finish because I wasn't looking forward. It also made me question, Why do we read books? And the answer to that was to escape life's bitchness. To have at least a couple hours in dreamland. And because this was actually someone's life and problems....

  13. 4 out of 5

    Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️

    DNF at 12% Picked this up as a.99 sale. I classic written in 1978. Just not capturing their connection. Really struggling here!

  14. 5 out of 5

    DoctorM

    I first read "Nine and a Half Weeks" long ago--- long before the film with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke. I was a brand-new undergraduate, and the first part of the book was excerpted in Playboy. I sat in my rooms at university stunned and amazed. I'd already read "Story of O"; I knew that s/m existed and knew about its allure. This was...different. It was darker than "O.", far more obsessive and intense, far less distanced and measured. I knew I had to go out and get a copy of the full book. I first read "Nine and a Half Weeks" long ago--- long before the film with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke. I was a brand-new undergraduate, and the first part of the book was excerpted in Playboy. I sat in my rooms at university stunned and amazed. I'd already read "Story of O"; I knew that s/m existed and knew about its allure. This was...different. It was darker than "O.", far more obsessive and intense, far less distanced and measured. I knew I had to go out and get a copy of the full book. All these years later, I still know nothing about the author, or about how seriously we're to take the claim that this is a memoir. But I do know that as soon as I read the first line--- "The first time we were in bed together he held my hands pinned down above my head. I liked it." ---that I was entranced. The prose is spare, crisp, hard. The mood is of course one of deepening obsession. In some ways it's about a self-destructive affair that engulfs both McNeill and her nameless lover, but in other ways...it's deeply, shatteringly romantic and enticing. Yes, I know--- the film. Easy enough to laugh at these days, though John Taylor's song on the soundtrack is excellent, and the young Kim Basinger was seriously hot when stripdancing to Randy Newman. The film takes away from the book, from the darkness and obsessiveness. But there was a time in the mid-'80s when every girl I knew was left wet-and-breathless by some of the scenes. I love moments in the book--- McNeill going through her lover's closet, analysing him from his clothes; the first time her lover slaps her during sex; McNeill dressing up as a boy for her lover and mugging a stranger at knifepoint to prove her own abandon and courage. There's a moment where her lover takes her to an English riding shop and shocks the saleswoman by trying out a riding crop on McNeill's bare thigh (right--- like that would ever be unusual in a high-end riding gear shop in NYC!) that's just...incredible. Let's just say that the riding crop scene prompted phone calls from girls and feverish checking out the Yellow Pages under "equestrian"... And that the scene where McNeill dresses up as a boy for her lover (suit and fedora) prompted trips to Goodwill with leggy co-eds. Yes, then: let's just say that the book is incredibly hot. Let's make a note of that. The book itself is originally from 1978. A different world now. For all that we're so "open" about sex, for all the mainstreaming of s/m imagery, we'd be far less able to see a book like this published now. This is a DSM-IV world, a gender studies world. Obsession and compulsion have been stripped of any glamour, even dark glamour. That a successful, thirty-ish professional might lose herself in an affair like this would now be something for therapists to moralise over and for feminists to become angry about. Oh, I can hear all the arguments about consent and "self-respect" and violence and "subjectivity". I can hear all of that. I can hear the voices saying that McNeill needed help, that she'd obviously suffered from some childhood trauma and been brought up in a society where "rape culture" is normal, yadda yadda yadda. But let's also say that this is one of the Hot Reads I've kept with me in different editions all through the years. It's a fine read, and romantic in more ways than I can say. Go find it. Read it. Yes--- it's about as hot (coldly intellectually hot as well as pure-raw-sex hot) as it gets...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I read this mostly so I could smugly say to people that I read the version of 50 Shades of Grey that was published 30 years ago and written better. (Than the excerpts I've read online, okay? No, I haven't read 50 Shades. I would be happy to hateread it except that by all accounts it's incredibly boring - not even trashy enough to be a decent hateread.) 9 1/2 Weeks the movie was legendary in middle school as the dirtiest movie anyone was aware of. (Second place goes to Weird Science.) This has I read this mostly so I could smugly say to people that I read the version of 50 Shades of Grey that was published 30 years ago and written better. (Than the excerpts I've read online, okay? No, I haven't read 50 Shades. I would be happy to hateread it except that by all accounts it's incredibly boring - not even trashy enough to be a decent hateread.) 9 1/2 Weeks the movie was legendary in middle school as the dirtiest movie anyone was aware of. (Second place goes to Weird Science.) This has caused several problems in my generation, like the idea that adding food to sex isn't gross, and a weird fetish for hats. (I don't think I was supposed to be turned on by the bowler hat scene in Unbearable Lightness of Being, and I blame the movie for the fact that I was.) The book is different. Darker, yes. Somewhat more extreme. There's no playful blindfolded eating here; instead she's chained to the dude's chair every night, blowing him while he eats dinner. Which sounds distracting. But both the book and the movie - and 50 Shades, is my impression - draw a murky line between sex play and abuse. It's hard to tell where one ends and the next begins. John Gray (yes, he shares a last name with Christian) might be an abusive guy who happens to find someone who's into it. Or he might be escalating the brutality of their sex games because she's so into it. It's hard to tell, more in the book than the movie. That's interesting, and I liked the ambiguity. 9 1/2 Weeks is a memoir, written by a woman who was at the time an executive at Ms. magazine. In the book she's described as a high-powered career woman, and part of the affair's attraction is the abdication of the power she holds in her day job. In the movie she's an art gallery employee, so the conflict there is removed. In the era of Dan Savage's "everything goes if it turns you on", this book's uneasy relationship with consent is disturbing - but then, that's the thing with memoirs. When EL James makes it up for 50 Shades, it's annoying; when this lady describes an affair that happened to her, you can't really get mad at her for not agreeing on a safeword. Life gets messy. Especially when there's food and sex involved. This is a good book. It's super hot, which one can't say about many books. I mean, not always hot - that cross-dressing bit is no less weird here than in the movie - but certainly a lot of the time. It's well-written and it raises some interesting questions. It's like 50 Shades but written 30 years ago. And better.

  16. 4 out of 5

    boogenhagen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This one is interesting. The story of a "New Woman" in the 1970's having an extreme power exchange affair that breaks a lot of social and moral limits. Some parts of it are brutal, but the woman is clearly enjoying herself and enjoying the release she gets from not having to live up to what she built for herself in the 'real world'. I get that, this lady was super successful in her job in a time when women were still being told to go to college to get a MRS not a MBA. As all things that start This one is interesting. The story of a "New Woman" in the 1970's having an extreme power exchange affair that breaks a lot of social and moral limits. Some parts of it are brutal, but the woman is clearly enjoying herself and enjoying the release she gets from not having to live up to what she built for herself in the 'real world'. I get that, this lady was super successful in her job in a time when women were still being told to go to college to get a MRS not a MBA. As all things that start with a conflagration do, this one ended when the lady ended up not being able to keep her fantasy love affair and her real life compartmentalized. The lady has a nervous breakdown and we are told her lover drops her off at the hospital, where she undergoes treatment and that is the end of the affair and the story. What is more interesting to me, besides the power dynamics the lady is so entranced with, is how many people assume her lover abandoned her at the end of the book. I don't think he did. I think she was the one who ended the affair, probably based on the fact that any psychologist would have diagnosed the woman as having a mental illness at that time period and that probably caused her to conclude that to keep her 'real life' going, she would have to give her big love up. To me the book reads like an eulogy to a deeply regretted choice, the choice to give up what really made her happy to satisfy the outward appearance demands of a world that clearly wouldn't condone what really made her feel free and fullfilled. I do believe she had regrets, but the regret was she bowed to convention and society and therefore lost what probably was the best experience of her life. Given that the author of this book committed suicide several years later and wrote under a pseudonym so her daughter wouldn't suffer any backlash, I feel a deep sense of sadness for the lady who was so clearly devastated by the after effects of her affair. I also wonder what would have happened had her whole experience taken place today, in a much more tolerant society where S/m devotees aren't written off as psychologically ill deviants and there is more information about safe, sane and consensual relations, as well as there being a lot less stigma about being in that type of relationship. It has been many years since I read this one, but this book has made a lasting impression as a reminder that there is always different strokes for different folks and just because something isn't your cuppa, it doesn't mean you should judge others for their particular brand of tea.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I had forgotten I had read this until my (delightful) GR friend Robin mentioned it. And let's be real, any woman who read this did it for one reason: No, shhhhh. Don't Google "Mickey Rourke today." It's safe to say "erotica" is not really my jam, but when I heard there was a book of this movie, I had to read it. The book is a much more stripped down, supposedly true story written under a pseudonym about...I don't know what you'd call it? Light S&M affair maybe....that lasted as long as the I had forgotten I had read this until my (delightful) GR friend Robin mentioned it. And let's be real, any woman who read this did it for one reason: No, shhhhh. Don't Google "Mickey Rourke today." It's safe to say "erotica" is not really my jam, but when I heard there was a book of this movie, I had to read it. The book is a much more stripped down, supposedly true story written under a pseudonym about...I don't know what you'd call it? Light S&M affair maybe....that lasted as long as the title. I don't remember this being as cringily emotionally abusive as the movie (like John paying a ferris wheel operator to strand Elizabeth at the top on their first date which, girl), but it also went into some details that were just as well kept out of the movie (I'm just going to say "tampon" and leave it at that.) Speaking of cringey, about 10 years later Mickey Rourke did a shit-tastic soft porn movie called Wild Orchid where I'm convinced he styled and dressed himself. This is a guy who would strand a first date at the top of a ferris wheel (and maybe, give her HPV): A sports coat and no shirt? What occasion is he even dressed for?

  18. 4 out of 5

    S.P. Aruna

    I never saw the movie with Mickey Rourke so I won't make any such comparison, but this was an eloquent and disturbing account of a real life BDSM relationship. Be careful of what you wish for (fantasize about), or you might end up like Ms. McNeill (an emotional breakdown)! While it's one thing to be dominated by an alpha male when it comes to sex, it's another to be controlled 24/7. That is nothing else but a dysfunctional relationship with no future. I couldn't stop turning the pages as the I never saw the movie with Mickey Rourke so I won't make any such comparison, but this was an eloquent and disturbing account of a real life BDSM relationship. Be careful of what you wish for (fantasize about), or you might end up like Ms. McNeill (an emotional breakdown)! While it's one thing to be dominated by an alpha male when it comes to sex, it's another to be controlled 24/7. That is nothing else but a dysfunctional relationship with no future. I couldn't stop turning the pages as the heroine slid deeper and deeper into the abyss, putting me on edge, awaiting her inevitable crash and burn. Very disturbing, raw, yet enlightening.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    Either you know why this book is brilliant or you don't but this is an exquisite memoir.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dorota Skrzypek

    Wow. Is this book different from the movie. Nine and a Half Weeks has always been one of my favorite movies, and then a friend told me it was based on a book. But if you're expecting a more descriptive look into the sexually charged relationship of Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke, you're in for a big surprise. This book is an intense emotional look into a BDSM journey that continues to push the limits until the main character, Elizabeth, has a psychological breakdown. Rather than erotic (like the Wow. Is this book different from the movie. Nine and a Half Weeks has always been one of my favorite movies, and then a friend told me it was based on a book. But if you're expecting a more descriptive look into the sexually charged relationship of Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke, you're in for a big surprise. This book is an intense emotional look into a BDSM journey that continues to push the limits until the main character, Elizabeth, has a psychological breakdown. Rather than erotic (like the movie), it's a hard truth of what can sometimes happen when you find that thing that really turns you on. Reading this short, 116-page novella one evening, I found myself gripping my comforter, intensely enthralled, wondering if Elizabeth would make it out alive. I was extremely fascinated by the notion that pain could be taken so far to provide pleasure; trying to figure out what type of person would be more predisposed to this type of behavior, and why? A really great psychological thriller, but don't expect to be able to use it as fodder for masturbation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    FULL REVIEW HERE WITH COMPARISON TO FSOG => http://afterdarkbooklovers.com/2015/0... This book has left me stunned. I just watched the movie and felt emotionally drained after. This feels worse. Everything was amplified. The cross dressing scene. Speechless. The hotel scene was bad enough to watch, until I read the scene and it went further. I want to curl in the fetal position and cry for this woman. I would love to read the male POV on this. Because he treats like he loves her and at the same FULL REVIEW HERE WITH COMPARISON TO FSOG => http://afterdarkbooklovers.com/2015/0... This book has left me stunned. I just watched the movie and felt emotionally drained after. This feels worse. Everything was amplified. The cross dressing scene. Speechless. The hotel scene was bad enough to watch, until I read the scene and it went further. I want to curl in the fetal position and cry for this woman. I would love to read the male POV on this. Because he treats like he loves her and at the same time, wants to ruin her. Whhhhhhhyyyyyy?!?!?! We'll never know since his name was never mentioned. More thoughts later. I'm gonna drink a gallon of wine. (slight exaggeration)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Jazmen

    Talk about a sub and her dom, this is the real thing - a true story. What is most shocking about this book is that McNeill wrote her story - and got it published - in the seventies, while this subject-matter is still controversial today. She reveals her intense experience in a neutrally descriptive way, neither judging nor condoning anyone's behavior, nor making apologies for what she went through. Her true freedom was obtained through her completely voluntary submission and surrender to him, Talk about a sub and her dom, this is the real thing - a true story. What is most shocking about this book is that McNeill wrote her story - and got it published - in the seventies, while this subject-matter is still controversial today. She reveals her intense experience in a neutrally descriptive way, neither judging nor condoning anyone's behavior, nor making apologies for what she went through. Her true freedom was obtained through her completely voluntary submission and surrender to him, through being over-powered, taken, and led to the heights and lows of that submission by him. But ultimately, the relationship ended, and I got the impression that her dom was just too selfish and weak-minded to fully appreciate her. When the intensity becomes overwhelming to the point she becomes drained, she has a breakdown and he abandons her, and that, not the spanking, the bondage, and the other humiliations and power trips, was the real cruelty. Thank you Elizabeth, for sharing you precious intimate moments with us. For those of you who like erotica - there isn't any blow-by-blow (no pun intended) descriptions of their lovemaking, but just enough to feel the emotions aroused in the soul of the narrator.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kandice

    This was re-read number...I have no idea, but the ebook version I read has an afterword by the daughter of the writer. I've read other reviews where the reader states that "McNeill's" narrative doesn't allow the reader distance, but I felt very differently as I read. McNeill opens wit ha doozy of a sentence that lets you see just where this is going. The first time we were in bed together he held my hands pinned down above my head. I liked it. I liked him. He was moody in a way that struck me as This was re-read number...I have no idea, but the ebook version I read has an afterword by the daughter of the writer. I've read other reviews where the reader states that "McNeill's" narrative doesn't allow the reader distance, but I felt very differently as I read. McNeill opens wit ha doozy of a sentence that lets you see just where this is going. “The first time we were in bed together he held my hands pinned down above my head. I liked it. I liked him. He was moody in a way that struck me as romantic; he was funny, bright, interesting to talk to; and he gave me pleasure.” This was the perfect opener for me. She gives us no names and drops us in the thick of things. To quote Stephen King, to me this is like "a kiss in the night from a stranger." Like being in the front car of a roller coaster. You see what's ahead, almost too slowly, but you can't stop it. Once the ride is in motion you are committed. I love the narrative style in the this book. McNeill makes it clear that although she finds "him" physically attractive, that is the very least of their relationship. Even the fact that she only ever refers to Him as just that, "Him" speaks volumes. He is the only man, maybe the only person, that matters to her for these nine and a half weeks. That is the most disturbing thing about this novel. She's successful, attractive, if not beautiful, well educated, home of her own, and yet all that falls by the wayside when she encounters "Him." The capital H is implied by her narrative voice. Never "him", always "Him." When I read the afterword by her daughter the book took on an entirely new meaning for me. Not only does she abandon all that makes her who she is to feel this sick and twisted pleasure he gives her, but she has a child while doing it? When I read this book as a teen, the actual content flabbergasted me. I just didn't know people did and enjoyed these things. As a middle aged woman, I am not so easily shocked or titillated, but with a child? That becomes scary, not just interesting. I don't see her as a victim. She has a home of her own, and obviously a life that she eventually returns to. I see this as a summer of personal abandon for her. She states, more than once, that the idea that she is responsible for absolutely nothing in his presence is a delicious one. That I can kind of understand. Without the beatings, of course. ;)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*

    Yet another buddy read with Karly! We're killing it on the buddy reads. Review: I think this is a case of "it's not you, it's me." I can see why others like this book, but a matter-of-fact narration like this one pretty much guarantees I'll never get emotionally involved. And if I don't get emotionally involved in a book, it'll never be a favorite. Maybe the author had to remove herself emotionally in order to write this, because she went through some pretty intense stuff during her brief affair. Yet another buddy read with Karly! We're killing it on the buddy reads. Review: I think this is a case of "it's not you, it's me." I can see why others like this book, but a matter-of-fact narration like this one pretty much guarantees I'll never get emotionally involved. And if I don't get emotionally involved in a book, it'll never be a favorite. Maybe the author had to remove herself emotionally in order to write this, because she went through some pretty intense stuff during her brief affair. The consent factor was never explicitly laid out—I guess we're supposed to let the orgasms speak for themselves?—but that doesn't sit well with me when there are whippings and beatings, sometimes with onlookers and sometimes in private. These would happen, for example, when she wasn't comfortable doing something the guy had asked her to do, and she would try to explain why. He wouldn't get angry, he would just punish her. Some of the stuff they did just confused me. Like rob someone at knifepoint in an elevator? That's not nice. >:( The ending was abrupt, but now that I've had time to think about it, I like how it ended. I like to think the author finally realized the abuse that was happening and knew it had to stop. But good god, that last line. I do hope this woman found some fulfillment somewhere in her life, because that line was so sad and brutal.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I'm glad I chose to read Francine Prose's "Introduction" after I finished the book. It has spoilers, and should really be an afterword. Nine and a Half Weeks, as a movie, is one that always turns up as a sort of classic "trashy 80s erotic romance." The movie and its characters are breezy, pumped along by the vaguely pop-jazz rhythms that signal good times or transitions in such films. I watched it while in the mood for something light/less intellectual. It wasn't until I watched the movie that I I'm glad I chose to read Francine Prose's "Introduction" after I finished the book. It has spoilers, and should really be an afterword. Nine and a Half Weeks, as a movie, is one that always turns up as a sort of classic "trashy 80s erotic romance." The movie and its characters are breezy, pumped along by the vaguely pop-jazz rhythms that signal good times or transitions in such films. I watched it while in the mood for something light/less intellectual. It wasn't until I watched the movie that I knew it was at least roughly based on a book of the same title. I read the book because movies like that make me wonder what really happened in those pages that the film-makers were either unable or unwilling to portray. While a few of the events are accurately rendered in the movie, the movie makes excuses for the characters' actions, and the book does not. The characters and their psychology are absolutely not the same. Some readers see this as a "dark" book, and at moments it is, but it's also suffused with a joyfully wicked, manic, brightly burning passion which contrasts its deadpan prose. It is a book of contrasts.

  26. 5 out of 5

    YaYa

    4.5 Unforgettable Stars So much better than the movie but it hurt a little more to read this from her POV. My heart hurts for her. It continues to hurt for her. Dammit!!! *cries*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Willow

    I wanted to read this book for two reasons. One was I knew it was based off a true story. The other was Ive read so many erotica books with this subject, I wanted to know how a true relationship like this starts in real life. I still dont know. This book is written in vignettes, each one more shocking than the next. One I have trouble even believing which has Elizabeth sneaking up behind a man in an elevator and robbing him at knifepoint dressed in disguise. I suppose it could have happened. I I wanted to read this book for two reasons. One was I knew it was based off a true story. The other was I’ve read so many erotica books with this subject, I wanted to know how a true relationship like this starts in real life. I still don’t know. This book is written in vignettes, each one more shocking than the next. One I have trouble even believing which has Elizabeth sneaking up behind a man in an elevator and robbing him at knifepoint dressed in disguise. I suppose it could have happened. I read a review by Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin* that said the matter-of-fact narration pretty much guaranteed she would not be emotionally involved, and I agree with that. This book does not invite you into the character’s psyches. There is no deep soul searching. It only describes what’s happening on the surface. I also didn’t think the book was particularly titillating, and with the way it’s written, I don’t think that was the author’s goal. It’s more like a confession. This means the only thing left is the suspense on what horrible thing is Elizabeth’s lover going to ask her to do next, and for that reason alone it makes you want to finish it. I find it fascinating that Elizabeth McNeill is a pseudonym for Ingeborg Day who was an editor at Ms. Magazine. To think a totally successful and confident woman like Ingeborg would find herself in a relationship like this is a paradox. But then Ingeborg also wrote a family memoir about her family and her father who was a Nazi in the SS called Ghost Waltz, which clearly haunted her. She was a fascinating woman.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Booklover Butterfly

    Nine and a Half Weeks is a short memoir that some consider to be erotica. I suppose can see how it could be considered erotic, but for me it was far more disturbing than sexy. It was short and well written, but very troubling. To me it was a story of abuse, manipulation, and cruelty. The unnamed male completely controls every aspect of the authors life and emotionally manipulates her into doing things she is incredibly uncomfortable with. This isn't a story of two people exploring and pushing Nine and a Half Weeks is a short memoir that some consider to be erotica. I suppose can see how it could be considered erotic, but for me it was far more disturbing than sexy. It was short and well written, but very troubling. To me it was a story of abuse, manipulation, and cruelty. The unnamed male completely controls every aspect of the authors life and emotionally manipulates her into doing things she is incredibly uncomfortable with. This isn't a story of two people exploring and pushing their personal boundaries in an environment of respect. It is a story of him controlling her and using her as he sees fit with no regard for her wellbeing or personal limits. That is not the reason for my three star rating, however. I found the authors writing style enjoyable as it was open and honest without being weighed down with unnecessary detail. What I didn't like was the ending. I feel like it was too abrupt and stopped in a place where I was really wanting to know more. The book ended in what felt like it could have been the middle of the author's story. I wanted to know about the consequences of this relationship for the author and how she coped with it moving forward in her life. The ending seemed incomplete to me, but perhaps the author just wasn't ready to discuss the consequences ... or maybe she was still dealing with them.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    Beautiful people of NYC who shop at Bloomie's by day and engage in S&M type stuff by night. The source for that cheesy erotic movie of the 80s with Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. Yeah, so I pulled a perfect condition hardcover of this out of the dumpster of a certain bookseller, and it's just a hair over 100 pages and well-enough written. Most of it seems to be descriptions of apartments and the material goods therein. Vaguely reminiscent of Anais Nin and Marguerite Duras...vaguely. But the Beautiful people of NYC who shop at Bloomie's by day and engage in S&M type stuff by night. The source for that cheesy erotic movie of the 80s with Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. Yeah, so I pulled a perfect condition hardcover of this out of the dumpster of a certain bookseller, and it's just a hair over 100 pages and well-enough written. Most of it seems to be descriptions of apartments and the material goods therein. Vaguely reminiscent of Anais Nin and Marguerite Duras...vaguely. But the style is not quite as poetic, though it does have its swoon moments. This is an unapologetic memoir by a woman lost in love and lust, to the exclusion of all else, burning bridges heedlessly in throes of her passion, living for the moments of intense pleasure and sensuality. Written prior to the 80s, yet very 80s. More nauseating for its narcissism than for any twisted sex acts, per se. Just something to notch in lieu of getting laid, I guess. OK, I wanted to be all snobbish, but it's kind of enjoyable, so it's getting three stars. Another nice insight into female sexuality, the inner world thereof. This was a pretty nifty little book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Some books are just off the scale, not necessarily better or worse than all the other books you've read before - but so fundamentally different that it doesn't quite compare to anything else. For me this was such a book. The main way this book is different is its sheer elegance. The story that takes place over two months time is caught in moments; Polaroids casually tossed, one after another into a building pile on a scuffed table. Its a decadent, voyeuristic experience to have the sexual Some books are just off the scale, not necessarily better or worse than all the other books you've read before - but so fundamentally different that it doesn't quite compare to anything else. For me this was such a book. The main way this book is different is its sheer elegance. The story that takes place over two months time is caught in moments; Polaroids casually tossed, one after another into a building pile on a scuffed table. It’s a decadent, voyeuristic experience to have the sexual relationship between the woman and the man unfold in snapshots. Each image slightly askew, altered from the previous one and slowly showing the woman loosing herself, bit by bit yet gaining pleasures unknown. This book isn’t for the faint of heart or sensitive of mind, but everyone else will like the woman in the story emerge on the other side, both the same and yet slightly altered. The book is fairly short, just over 100 pages, and like a hard candy it can either be made to last or consumed in a few flavourful bites. Either way enjoy!

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