100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed (Black Cat)
100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed - Black Cat Author:Melissa P., Lawrence Venuti (Translator) An instant blockbuster in Italy where it has sold over 700,000 copies, and now an international literary phenomenon, 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed is the fictionalized memoir of Melissa P., a Sicilian teenager whose quest for love rapidly devolves into a shocking journey of sexual discovery. — Melissa begins her diary a virgin, but a stormy... more » affair at the age of fourteen leads her to regard sex as a means of self-discovery, and for the next two years she plunges into a succession of encounters with various partners, male and female, her age and much older, some met through schoolmates, others through newspaper ads and Internet chat rooms. In graphic detail she describes her entry into a Dante-esque underworld of eroticism, where she willingly participates in group sex and sadomasochism, as well as casual pickups. Melissa's secret life is concealed from family and friends, revealed only in her diary entries.
Told with disarming candor, Melissa P.'s bittersweet tour of extreme desires is as poignant as it is titillating. One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed is a stunning erotic debut, a Story of O for our times.« less
This is a fictionalized memoir. It says so right there in the description. However the author, Melissa P, has made comments that suggest this story is similar to her own and the character in the book is also named Melissa. She was only 17 when this book was published, which I find amazing. As someone else reviewed, the prose is quite beautiful and even poetic.
Read the description above fully so you know what to expect. There are graphic descriptions of certain activities that are not for the faint of heart. Personally I found the writing so eloquent and the story so consuming that the disturbing passages did not bother me as they might have in another book. Basically, Melissa searches for happiness through a series of rough sexual escapades. Not a "feel good" read, but compelling. I was immediately sucked in to Melissa's world. I even picked up the book at red lights.
Easy read, I don't know how to classify this book - fiction or non-fiction. It has just a little bit of every erotic fantasy to make you wonder if it is all fictional. The writing style is flowery; you must give credit to the Itilian school system for producing such a colorful and at times eloquent writer at such a young age - if it is non-fiction. But, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say it is non-fiction and that a few of the scenes are erotic - you will have to find out for youseld which ones are.
. I requested it thinking that it would be a typical erotica novel but once I got the book I couldnt even bring myself to read it being that the writer talks about performing these sex acts at the ripe old age of 14. Not that I am a prude by any means but I dont want to read about someone so young having sex, maybe being the mother of a young girl makes me feel this way. I made a mistake in requesting this book at all.
I had heard of this book when it first came out and read some very good reviews. They must have read something different then what I read. I was prepared to be impressed by this book. I was underwhelmed by the "Total Story" but as you will see I came away with an understanding of what the author was truly writing about.
The prose is extremely well written in places. The problem lies in the disjointed nature of the story. It is a sporadic diary and at times leaves issues completely unresolved or resolved with no explanation at all. Understanding that diaries can of course do this I don't fault it as a diary.
The tale itself is painful depiction of teenage girl without confidence or real affection in her life. She is a washrag passed around to various abusers. She at times claims she made the choice herself but in each situation it is to justify the shame she feels toward herself. I unlike most others do not think this is a tale so much about the girl as it is about the people that abuse her. She exposes not the victim but the abusers. In some cases the abuser is Melissa herself.
Focusing the spotlight on the abusers is difficult without making them theatrical and a bit less repulsive. This is not a book that focuses the spotlight brightly at an individual but rather exposes many of them to a broad sunlight that makes them appear all the more grotesque. I think it is a cautionary tale for young men and women if read in that light. Brilliantly done.
My sincere apologies to the author, and hoping the book truly is fiction, because the writing is not floral or poetic nor was the story poignant. This book would fall somewhere around the fringes of the genre erotica.
The diary entries (therefore the story) are choppy and scattered, and while the type/style of sex mentioned is titilating and perhaps scandalous to some, the penned "sex scenes" themselves are extremely basic and occasionally just aluded to.
It is apparent that you are reading the work of a very young author which is fine, but I prefer my erotica full-fledged, well described, with a plot, and with characters the reader can invest in. The Melissa in this fictionalized account is Bi-Polar and cycles back and forth from majorly depressed to manic and looking for a man (or woman.)
I lived through my own adolescence and my daughter's, and have no desire to relive either. Once again, my apologies to the author, but I found this book forgettable and, actually, somewhat irritating because I kept wanting to scream at her, "Go get some therapy."
When the book was first published in Italy was publicized as non-fiction,in my opinion that is why sold so many copies,people were curious about the life and sexuality of teens,especially in a place like Sicily.
Since the book became famous,the author revealed her full name and decided to tell the book was a fictionalized memoirs.
I read it in Italian and found not redeeming qualities.
Not worth the time.
100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed - My Humble Opinion
Overall, this book was forgettable. Furthermore, given I was reading an English translation, there was much that made little sense to anybody not familiar with Italian geography, customs or traditions. For example, Melissa is a teenager, in high school perhaps, yet the reader is to believe she heads down to the pub and gets drunk - leaving with a stranger. Either the translation needs work or the author is assuming too much from her readers.
The synopsis, while technically accurate, is mostly hype and most "erotic" detail alluded to is non-existent.
I give this book three of five stars; it is a quick read and is somewhat interesting on the whole.
From the synopsis...
"... 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed is the fictionalized memoir of Melissa P., a Sicilian teenager whose quest for love rapidly devolves into a shocking journey of sexual discovery..."
(not so shocking!)
"... Told with disarming candor, Melissa P.'s bittersweet tour of extreme desires is as poignant as it is titillating. One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed is a stunning erotic debut, a Story of O for our times..."