The Bride Stripped Bare is a book about the multi-faceted aspects of a woman’s personality. It deals with all the clichéd things that can go wrong in a woman’s life, a marriage gone sour in its infancy due to a suspicion of infidelity, yet being held together by fine gossamer threads of financial comfort and complacency.
It’s about the awakening of suppressed sexuality by an illicit affair with a younger man and about demons faced while standing at the brink of self-destruction and taking a step back to find joy in the life of lackluster normalcy.
The author delves into the dark vault of human frailties, the vortex of sexual addiction and raw emotions that lie just below the surface that threaten to bubble up and threaten to destroy the fabric of a seemingly workable marriage.
At one point, the protagonist, and it is hard to discern who it is, since the book is written in the unusual second person singular, picks up a cab driver and tells him to meet her at the Hilton with another man in tow. Three show up.
There are three of them.
You tell them to do anything
Your face is still young, still sweet, you can see their surprise: they never expected this. It is what you have always wanted, even as a child on the cusp of adolescence, you’d always dreamt of it, naked, spread-eagled, and a group of men or boys fondling you, curious, growing bolder, getting more excited, moving in. You do the things you’ve always wanted to do, what you devoured in the letters pages of the porn magazines you filched from your uncle when you were fifteen. You are not shy with these men because you are not interested in any connection being made, you’re not interested in talk, in anything that will give you away. You will never see them again. You will not be coming to Gabriel’s flat anymore, the lessons must stop, you will not be getting a taxi for a very long time. This will be the end of this chapter in your life. It is all worked out and so you are free, in this hotel room, to do whatever you want.
They are rough, whether they sense that is what you wanted or not you don’t know. It is what you want. They don’t respect you. You are nothing but a vessel, a series of holes to be filled up. Your cunt, ass, mouth, all are used, sometimes simultaneously, all are fucked. You are passive, compliant, it is exactly want you want. To erase Gabriel, to start afresh.
You tell them when you’ve had enough, they’re reluctant, you push them off. Go, please, get out.
In many ways the book goes beyond the said clichés and addresses a late-blooming maturity, practicality and the selfish desire towards self-preservation inherent in most women. And it takes a look at the layers of competitive rivalries that lie between female friends.
Though the book weaves its way through the alleys of irrational emotions and burgeoning passions yet the language used to express the character’s trials and tribulations are fluid and peppered with humor at the right spots.
Overall the book was an entertaining night read. Something to mull over a glass of wine and talk about in an all woman’s book club.