“The cell was bad because there was nothing to do, but it was worse because it meant I had been bad. I'd displeased him, and that was starting to matter to me. I'd fought the desire to please him, but I couldn't help it. I knew what he was doing to me, but it didn't change how I felt, how I longed for him to touch me.”
The dichotomy of the push and pull described in the above quote pretty much sums up my reaction to Comfort Food
by Kitty Thomas. The book was a complete mindfuck
, but it was also seductive as hell. I didn't want
to like it. In fact, it made me feel a little dirty
to enjoy it, but I can't deny that I did!
Thomas managed to make a story with topics such as kidnapping, dubious consent, sensory deprivation and behavioural conditioning (things people typically react to on a gut level with disgust) somehow... darkly sexy and understandable. I think it had a lot to do with the author’s writing style. I know that not every reader will be a fan of her switching perspectives so often throughout such a short book, but she never did so without a purpose. Each time she switched from first to third person, or from victim to perpetrator, she allowed readers to experience the master-slave relationship on a different, sometimes purely subconscious level. The characters' motivations were always at the forefront of her mind and I think that she totally nailed Emily's innermost thoughts. I could easily see how each thought/sentence flowed into the next, and how panic or delirium could make even the most illogical leaps logical under the circumstances.
Verdict: Ultimately, whether I agree with the characters' actions or decisions on a personal level is less important to me than the fact that this story drew me into a world I never thought I'd enter and made me read and consider before judging.