Here's Much to Do with Pain, but More with Love
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With a fetish for being spanked, Keenan sees sex in nearly every Shakespearean play.

In her debut memoir, the author admits to being “obsessed with spankings.” Her fetish, she writes, “isn’t something I do. It’s something I am.” She has no interest in ferreting out the cause of “this bizarre obsession,” finding introspection “exhausting….The psychological and social implications of my inner life were so disturbing to me that I could rarely force myself to confront them.” Instead, her sexuality informs her reading of Shakespeare. In The Tempest, for example, she identifies with the wild Caliban. “I longed for Caliban because I longed to uncage myself, and the ravenous sexual terrors in me….I longed for Caliban’s ugly honesty and the unselfconsciousness of his impulses.” Keenan is captivated by the “erotic potential” of cross-dressing in Twelfth Night, which speaks to her “specific erotic quirks to an absurd degree.” Besides offering her take on 14 plays, including Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet (it’s about lust, not love, the author insists), King Lear, Othello, and, not surprisingly, The Taming of the Shrew, Keenan provides graphic recountings of her sexual liaisons. In Spain, where she went after dropping out of high school, she met John, who fulfilled her needs repeatedly and energetically, with his bare hand, a belt, and a ruler, with which he paddled her “hard, thirty or forty times in rapid succession” and then, after a short break, 10 more. The author maintains that she could control how much, or how long, the spanking continued. “Kink is more collaborative than it appears,” she writes. When she fell in love, she was unsatisfied by sex until she persuaded her lover to spank her. One day, he improvised, spanking her “to the rhythm of iambic pentameter.” Reader, she married him.

A raunchy memoir revealing a visceral connection to the Bard.

Pub Date: April 26th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-237871-2
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2016


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