This book drew me in at first with its premise and with its reviews comparing it favorably to Stephen King's short story "Quitter's Inc." I was happy when I learned that Deadite Press was reprinting it and sent me a review copy. It ended up being a fun read, but still a huge let down.
The story seems simple enough, but I found it to be an intriguing premise. Zoey is an overweight woman who's struggled with her size all her life. One day she meets a woman who tells her about a program that's guaranteed to get her to lose the weight and keep it off. Unfortunately for Zoey, participation is not voluntary.
Given the premise, you'd think this short novel would be a commentary on beauty standards in the modern world or a psychological thriller about the lengths one will go to make themselves better. Unfortunately, it turns out to be neither. In fact, it throws the whole weight loss premise out so fast that I had to re-read the blurbs to even remember that it was supposed to be a central part of the book.
The book really has two parts. It starts off as BDSM porn. I don't mean that in a good or bad way. It's porn, and I can't really say that it's bad porn, but it's porn. I would have been okay with this, except it decides it wants to have a plot in the last 40 pages. The plot's a little cheesy (I'm avoiding spoilers here), but it does turn into a fun thriller towards the end. It just doesn't mesh with everything that came before. Had the book been shortened by close to 90 pages, it might have worked. Except for the epilogue. The epilogue is easily the worst part of this book. It's tacked on and seems designed to piss off the audience for no real reason. If I had a physical copy instead of an e-book, I would have thrown it to the ground and stepped on it.
All of this and the fact that the bonus short story, "Nurturing Type," works far better as a piece of fiction makes me think that O'Rourke works better in short form rather than long. So while I didn't like this novel and don't recommend it, I will check out some of her short stories in the future.
Buy Suffer the Flesh by Monica O'Rourke here.
I was disappointed by this book as well. I thought it would have more to do -- or really, SOMETHING to do -- with the theme of size-ism, and I was surprised at how quickly the story just turned into grisly BDSM erotica. And that epilogue? Can you imagine the response if a man had written this?
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