CONCERTINA by Susan Winemaker


An Erotic Memoir of Extravagant Tastes and Extreme Desires
Email this review


Giada De Laurentiis + Marquis de Sade – true excitement = this predictable normal-girl-gets-sucked-into-the-sex-industry memoir.

After graduating from culinary school, Winemaker found that all it got her was a torturous six-month gig in an unexceptional restaurant kitchen, where she spent the majority of her time being berated by a tyrannical chef. Disillusioned, she did what any girl in her position would do: got work as a dominatrix. Her new workplace—or dungeon, as it’s referred to in the industry—was called The Cottage, and she quickly became one of its most sought-after practitioners. Eventually, Susan broke the dominatrix’s “cardinal rule” and hooked up with a gorgeous client named Adam—at that moment, the narrative loses what little momentum it had and turns into a skewed love story, neither particularly passionate nor compelling. Winemaker covers much the same territory as Belle de Jour: Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl (2006) by fellow London-dweller Anonymous, with equally mixed results. Those looking for erotic sparks will be disappointed. The titillation factor is exceedingly low, and the sex acts become repetitive: This guy likes being sat on to the point of suffocation, that guy likes nipple clamps, this one is afraid of getting marked up for fear that his wife will discover his S&M addiction, etc. For a more compelling take on surviving the sex-worker industry with your heart more or less intact, see Jennifer Belle’s novel Going Down (1998); for insight into the food/sex pairing, check out Bunny Crumpacker’s The Sex Life of Food: When Body and Soul Meet to Eat (2007).

Not sexy enough for sensualists, not romantic enough for those looking for love and not tasty enough for foodies.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-36672-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2007