Whip Smart: The True Story of a Secret Life

( 38 )

Overview


A dark, wild, powerful memoir about a young woman’s transformation from college student to professional dominatrix

While a college student at The New School, Melissa Febos spent four years working as a dominatrix in a midtown dungeon. In poetic, nuanced prose she charts how unchecked risk-taking eventually gave way to a course of self-destruction. But as she recounts crossing over the very boundaries that she set for her own safety, she never plays the victim. In fact, the ...

See more details below
Paperback
$9.48
BN.com price
(Save 36%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $3.99   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   
Whip Smart: The True Story of a Secret Life

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview


A dark, wild, powerful memoir about a young woman’s transformation from college student to professional dominatrix

While a college student at The New School, Melissa Febos spent four years working as a dominatrix in a midtown dungeon. In poetic, nuanced prose she charts how unchecked risk-taking eventually gave way to a course of self-destruction. But as she recounts crossing over the very boundaries that she set for her own safety, she never plays the victim. In fact, the glory of this memoir is Melissa’s ability to illuminate the strange and powerful truths that she learned as she found her way out of a hell of her own making. Rest assured; the reader will emerge from the journey more or less unscathed.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In her provocative debut…Febos pulls no punches as she describes in minute, and at times horrific, detail her working life…In lesser hands this could be a maudlin, salacious tale, but Febos’s electrifying prose and unremitting honesty continually challenge the reader. Expertly captures grace within depravity.”-Kirkus Reviews

“Febos's debut about her four years working as a dominatrix at a midtown Manhattan “dungeon” cuts a sharp line between prurience and feminist manifesto…In this emotionally stark, excoriating work, Febos mines the darkest, most troubling aspects of human interaction.”-Publisher’s Weekly

"Febos can really write, and it is the narrative voice she inhabits, at once honest and dispassionate, curious and even idealistic, that turns a timeworn story into a smart, provocative thrill-ride of a book…For all its jaw-dropping shock value...Whip Smart is, in the end, a treatise on the psychology of sex and power, subversion and submission—humanity." -David Goodwillie for The Daily Beast

“Memoirs about salacious adventures have two requirements: they must be generous with the goods and astute with the analysis. Febos delivers on both, and with relish. No salty detail escapes her eye or goes unexamined. Febos is too self-aware to not see her past clearly, and too talented a writer to not make it fascinating.”  -The Economist

“Melissa Febos examines, with frankness, generosity, and unexpected grace, the four years she spent working as a dominatrix in a midtown Manhattan dungeon…her revelations are often funny, occasionally sad, and fearlessly candid."  -San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Febos’ journeying into the darkest corners of both her and others’ minds is entertaining and enlightening; there are weird, eye-popping, sad, hilarious, and all-too-human episodes and encounters on almost every page.  Febos writes of her own walk on the wild side like a seasoned, and chastened, pro.”  -Elle Magazine

"[Melissa Febos] ably dissects her own and others' psychological urges and sexual politics and presents it all in a way that renders the title apt. The memoir should be right at home next to Mary Karr, Nick Flynn and Alex Lemon on the bookshelf."-New York Press

“All memoirs are an attempt to follow a trail of breadcrumbs home, yet WHIP SMART steps off the path, into the wooded shadows, and names that part of ourselves that could linger there forever. Melissa Febos masterfully brings us into these unexpected, unsettling places,  the least of which are the dungeons she so vividly—briefly—occupies.  WHIP SMART is a wild, bright-eyed, ride home.”
--Nick Flynn, New York Times bestselling author of ANOTHER BULLSHIT NIGHT IN SUCK CITY

 “WHIP SMART is remarkably honest, brave and provocative about growing up: the pleasures and perils of being visible, the temptations of being numb, and the weird kick of being desired.”
--Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone critic, and NY Times bestselling author of LOVE IS A MIX TAPE

“Mesmerizing.  A brave, darkly wild and powerful memoir, Melissa Febos's fearless journey through drugs and dungeons into the uncharted territory of true intimacy will shock, inspire, and leave you breathless. Don’t even think about resisting."
--Rachel Resnick, author LOVE JUNKIE

“Melissa Febos takes us by the hand and leads us into a curious, disturbing, and funny world of a dominatrix, and she does so with often startlingly beautiful, expansive prose. That would be engaging enough. But what's even more gripping is Febos' fierce intelligence as she examines herself inside it. A must read for anyone interested in enlarging his or her understanding of sexual politics.”
--Kerry Cohen, author of LOOSE GIRL

"Melissa Febos writes with lacerating wit and insight into the world of the professional dominatrix, saving the sharpest sting for herself. An unsparing, deep, and dazzling read.  
--Janice Erlbaum
, author of GIRLBOMB & HAVE YOU FOUND HER

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312583781
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/19/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 287,345
  • Product dimensions: 8.02 (w) x 5.58 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author


Melissa Febos is co-curator and host of the Mixer Reading and Music Series, she holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and teaches at SUNY Purchase College and The Gotham Writers’ Workshop
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2010

    An insightful memoir and an unbelievable story

    When I picked it up, I didn't think I would relate to this story, but the way the author describes her struggle in getting to know herself and coming to recognize her own self-destructive behavior did remind me of my own struggles as a teen. Despite her extreme experience, Febos is a really sympathetic (and candid) narrator: wanting to be seen as desirable, wanting short cuts to succeed and identify herself, and ultimately having to deal with the fall out. Febos is a great writer, she writes beautiful sentences. I hope she'll keep writing.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2010

    Amazing, candid, beautifully written

    How can you not get drawn into this sordid world that Melissa Febos paints with such a vibrant and honest brush? Febos does a masterful job of not only describing the physical world of the dominatrix dungeon and New York's seedy streets, but she unflinchingly exposes the soft underbelly of her emotions, psyche and addictions with achingly beautiful prose. Her journey through those addictions and ultimate recovery will keep you turning pages until the end.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2010

    Powerful, Deep and Provocative

    I was moved, disgusted, inspired, and enlivened by Febos's memoir WHIP SMART. A world that I never knew more about than it existed, and now have learned from the book how many people on my commuter train might be going to a 10:30 session! It is filled with humor, sex, and a deep searching for who she is at her core, a searching that is highly courageous. We would all do better to really look and understand ourselves this deeply.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Drugs and Female Domination ... Or a Lost Soul in Manhattan

    Parts of this memoir are grim and the accounts her "work" in a dungeon sometimes make for uncomfortable reading, but I enjoyed this memoir overall, which is as much about recovering from drug addiction as it about working as a domme in New York City. In many ways, this is a very New York City kind of book in that it is dark and gritty and a little desperate. Interesting read (morbidly fascinating), which I recommend. As a satire of this subculture, I'll recommend Permanent Obscurity by Richard Perez, also about female domination and drugs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    Well worth reading! Authenic!

    So many books about sex workers are just soft porn. This book is not. I really enjoyed it and although I cannot speak for the drug and alcohol recounting, I can speak for the sex worker parts. Authentic and honest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Hated it

    My book club chose this book bc it sounded interesting and different. Only one person actually finished it bc it was so slow moving and the authors attitude is so annoyingly self absorbed. I would not recommend this book about a washed up druggie wannabe dominatrix.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    A paean to narcissism.

    A paean to narcissism.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 6, 2012

    YES SIR

    “Shut up, sit in the corner you piece of human scum!”
    You might ask, what is this? Well, welcome to the underground world of dominatrix. These sultry women take charge and fulfill a need in some men that seek to be dominated.
    This memoir is a fascinating peek into the world that Melissa Febos used to be a part of, one where money was no object and the insults flicker off the tongue like no one’s business.
    I think what makes Whip Smart: A Memoir worth a read is that is takes a multidimensional approach. It is more than merely enabling people to fulfill a sexual need it exposes the emotional vulnerability of the dominatrix. How quickly you can run out of insults and can be left speechless.
    The real issue in this role play is power and how quickly the tables can turn if the dominatrix does not kept a firm grip of the situation.
    I discovered the intricate dimensions of golden showers, brown showers, and the very bright ruby showers. This is a book that will lead you into the dark corners of sexual deviancy and will make you wonder what makes that conservative guy next to you get his rocks off.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very...interesting...

    It was SO interesting to read about the life of a dominatrix. Not only does this book cover some of her actual sessions, but also what was going on in her personal life during her time as a dominatrix. Definitely worth a read if you want something different, but not for the faint of heart. There are some very detailed descriptions of a few sessions.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    Not what one would expect a memoir of a dominatrix to be

    I picked up the book anticipating Miss Febos detailing her life at the dungeon she worked at. Instead, she takes you inside her mind and journey to becoming a dominatrix and how she dealt with the job outside of the dungeon as well. The internal struggle to accept her job and balance her personal life is both twisted yet rationalized.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)