By Melissa Febos
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312561024, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
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A dark, wild, powerful memoir about a young woman’s transformation from college student to professional dominatrixWhile 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.
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
Melissa Febos graduated from college with straight A's and a prestigious internship. She also led a secret life as a dominatrix. Her new memoir, Whip Smart, details her time working in a sex dungeon in midtown Manhattan. She describes what it was like to work for four years at the upscale S&M house. More at NPR.org
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“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