Skip to main content
PBS logo

Book Reviews of Story of O

Story of O
Story of O
Author: Pauline Reage
ISBN-13: 9781562010355
ISBN-10: 1562010352
Publication Date: 4/17/1998
Pages: 208
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

3 stars, based on 27 ratings
Publisher: Blue Moon Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

38 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

jegka avatar reviewed Story of O on + 162 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I read this only because it was tagged 1001 to read before you die. I'm neither pro nor con on it. But BEWARE which version you buy. This is BS! My version, by Ballantine Books with the white dust jacket HAD NO LAST CHAPTER. It has TWENTY SEVEN pages of "notes" and preamble, most of it written by someone else and contained spoilers. But when I got to the last page there were just three italicized lines that said, "In the last chapter which has been SUPPRESSED," [he did this. Or the alternate ending in which she said this and he did this.]

If you order the Story of O, I recommend you ask if it has an "unsuppressed" last chapter.
reviewed Story of O on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A classic in BDSM erotica. Please know before ordering that this book deals heavily with adult themes such as sex, consensual slavery and power exchange.
reviewed Story of O on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The most powerful story I have ever read. This is not reading for anyone with issues about the world of dark passion and sexual torments. This is an ageless masterpiece of love and humiliation. Arthur.
reviewed Story of O on + 67 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A very serious read about total submission. The Story of O is about a woman, O, who wants nothing more than to be a slave to her lover. The test is severe--sexual in method, psychological in substance...
reviewed Story of O on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was a very intense book. It goes beyond a "romance" bdsm such as you would find with Ellora's Cave. O allowed herself to be subjected to extreme whippings with cat tails, riding crops, and straight whips. She had her vagina pierced, and chains with iron medalions with lovers initials on them hung from her . Walking become quite a feat. She also was branded on her buttocks like cattle. She was brought to this "club" where she was passed around and debased by the men. It was very sad for me to read this, because both men who allowed this both claimed to love her at one point, and she certainly them. If one chooses this lifestyle, fine. I just do not understand the horrid beatings, to where her welts were black, and the being used by other men sexually.
oneangel avatar reviewed Story of O on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The language barrier took away from the book. Not only is it translated, but the terms are how sex and body parts were described at the time. I guess in present day we, as a society, are much more graphic. I was disappointed with the end...they omitted a chapter!
reviewed Story of O on
Helpful Score: 2
It's very well written--I appreciated the style and technique. But Story of O actually gave me nightmares. I couldn't believe it, but I'd wake up in a panic, having dreamed I was chained to a wall. I couldn't finish it.
reviewed Story of O on + 296 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The classic book of B & D erotica!
reviewed Story of O on
Helpful Score: 2
This is a BDSM novel. If you are not into that, don't read it.

The first thing I noticed about this novel is that the narrative is a bit strange (I'm not sure if this is owed to translation or not). The narration is third person, and comes across as passive (appropriate for being told in a submissive's narrative). The part that's strange is the leaps back and forth in time. There will be something going on in the present, then the narration will explain what happened for the next week, and then leap back to the present.

Her training sessions were intriguing, and I just wish they were written in more detail. I think my biggest disappointment though was the lack of character development until the last quarter of the book.

The situation O finds herself in is one that many people do (though maybe not to this extreme). "How much am I willing to do for the one I love?"

The ending is just plain depressing. An unexpected twist, and very disconcerting.

Overall, an enjoyable read.
ophelia99 avatar reviewed Story of O on + 2527 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I have had this book to read forever. I originally got it because it was on a list of books you have to read kind of thing. It ended up being a well written and engaging story, that did have some slow points.

This is a French erotic story about a woman named O who seeks to become the slave of a man named Rene. In her quest to be owned she undergoes a number of both sexual and psychological trials and training.

The translation I read was well done and easy to read. The story is engaging if a bit incomplete. At times there is so much sexual debasement in this book that those parts start to become a boring and repetitive. Apparently O's masters don't have a ton of imagination. That being said if scenes with whipping, restraint, or multiple sex partners are offensive to you...dont read this book.

There is a lot I could say about this book. As for the sexual content there isn't much in here that I haven't seen in some adult epic fantasies where characters are enslaved or tortured...the main difference in this story is that O is willing and eager to be enslaved and debased. I think those who are bitching about how this book demeans women are kind of missing the point. This same story could have had a male as the main character just as easily; its just meant to be a representation of the BDSM scene and give readers a glimpse into the mind of someone who wants to be enslaved.

O is many times asked by her male masters to give her permission for her initial contracts, which she always does eagerly. O despite being owned and passed around by a number of men and being totally at their beck and call has a different sort of power. This is more apparent towards the end of the book than the beginning.

I have also read that too much time is spent discussing clothing. I actually thought that the discussion the occurs around clothing was pretty necessary to the story. Part of Os obedience involves her being available to her master at his every whim. In the age of bulky bras and garter belts to hold up stockings; this involves O having to completely modify her wardrobe...which she does eagerly to prove her love and obedience to her master.

The ending was a bit disappointing since the book kind of ends in the middle of everything. There is a note that the last chapter has been suppressed from modern day publications, this is disappointing because I hate to see a story broken apart like that.

Overall I thought this was an interesting and engaging look into BDSM culture. There are parts where the sex/debasement gets a bit repetitive; I wish Os masters had been a bit more creative. I was also disappointed in how abruptly the story ended. Again, people be smart, if BDSM completely offends you dont read this book.

If you are interested in other media that looks into the psychology of BDSM (but from a purely entertainment lighter side) I would also recommend the movie The Secretary. This movie does a wonderful job of showing how a woman who likes punishment and a man who likes to dominate can have a balanced and loving relationship. If you are interested in a fantasy series that deals with this (again in a slightly different and fantastical way) I would recommend the Kushiels Dart series by Jacqueline Carey.
reviewed Story of O on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have started this book twice now and just can't finish it. It jumps around in time without warning, there is very little back story as to the relationships. I found it confusing and frustrating, and ended up just setting it aside.
familiagarduno avatar reviewed Story of O on + 164 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I am glad I read the book. Very erotic in a sense, but I prefer a little more of something...I guess description...I don't know. I am happy to say "I've read that" but don't know that I would pick it up again or sincerely recommend it to a friend. Not bad for what it is, not what I expected...4 stars!

BTW - This is one of the versions with a suppressed final chapter (saying what happens in about 2 sentences). Enjoy
readymcbookerson avatar reviewed Story of O on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A very quick read. Oddly translated at times and shallow in character depth, but if you are intrigued by the BDSM culture recently hyped by the 50 trilogy, this is worth a look. It was highly controversial when it was released and a ban was even attempted. When comparing it to modern explicit writing, it seems quaint at times instead of outrageous. The build up is similar, but then once the actual acts take place, it often is described in one sentence: some version "and then he took me." Today's writers spend a lot more time describing the various acts. The fact that there is no real ending in this book was a bit odd as well. I considered this part of an education in historical erotica/BDSM literature, but not really my cup of tea.
momkat avatar reviewed Story of O on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Yuck. Pretty much all I can say. Though it was erotica, which intrigues me...this one was a snore.
reviewed Story of O on
Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful and sad story of total submission and ultimate betrayal.
reviewed Story of O on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Easy to read, not really erotic, more pornagraphic.
reviewed Story of O on + 9 more book reviews
Not for the faint of heart. Lots of bondnge and Domination.
reviewed Story of O on + 26 more book reviews
I just finished this beautiful love story. Written way ahead of it's time, one will have to be open minded when reading this book. If you are in the lifestyle you will not have a problem with the ultimate gift "O" gives her lover. If you are not, I pray you learn from it, how wonderful alternative loving can be.
Thursday-Next avatar reviewed Story of O on + 12 more book reviews
very graphic S&M.
reviewed Story of O on + 412 more book reviews
Maybe you have to be a B & D afficionado to like this. I'm not, and I didn't.
reviewed Story of O on
This book was a classic erotica book. I had read it previously by got it for a friend to read. I found it very haunting but yet could not put it down.
reviewed Story of O on + 89 more book reviews
With a new translation, complete and unexpurgated.
reviewed Story of O on + 15 more book reviews
A very interesting tale. Definately not your light, erotic read. It's good in a bad way.
reviewed Story of O on + 10 more book reviews
Enjoyed the first 50 pages or so; but then it gets very wordy and the story moves quite s l o w l y. After about midway, I gave up - disinterested in the characters anymore. I'm glad I gave this famous novel a try, but it just couldn't maintain my interest after the first section of the story was complete.
reviewed Story of O on + 58 more book reviews
A "must read" for those interested in BDSM. A very beautiful, erotic story.
katzpawz avatar reviewed Story of O on + 281 more book reviews
I saw this as nothing more than a pile of horny-porn. But I will defend to the death anyones' right (provided they have more maturity than a radish)to read it. It is not MY cup of tea, but no one has died and left me behind as literature god.
reviewed Story of O on + 9 more book reviews
Not for the faint of heart. 50 shades of grey for sophisticated types.
daredevilgirl013 avatar reviewed Story of O on + 746 more book reviews
This book was suggested to me because it is said to be one of "THE" books about BDSM. This by far is not what I would have pictured the true BDSM culture to be. The story line was not at all what I expected of one man basically tricking his girlfriend into a sex slavery. That to me is not BDSM even though she eventually fell in love with it. Also the last chapter is a basically you pick your own off of the options the other gave. That didn't really go over well for me as I wanted the story to conclude. The writing style is a bit different but overall it was a readable book. Not something I overly enjoyed though or would read again.
flyinggems avatar reviewed Story of O on + 433 more book reviews
After reading 50 Shades of Grey, this book was recommended to me. I was barely 10 pages in and I wanted to toss the book. I tried to read it but I found O not likable, she has no self-worth. The books jumps right in with no back story or character make up. In the middle of the book there is some back history of O and it sort of sheds some light on why she goes along with her treatment. I made it to the end by skimming and found the ending lacking.
daedelys avatar reviewed Story of O on + 1218 more book reviews
This story was just hard to get into, not just because of the graphic and violent sex, but because there is no introduction to who the character, O, is or why she goes along with what her lover has her do. It's really baffling why this woman is so intent on getter her lover's approval and continues to say "I love you" to someone who expects her to accept his prostitution of her as well as the torturing that goes along with it.

I thought it was just an awful story, and I'm not even sure how I managed to finish it. I think mostly, I was looking for a real answer to "Why?". Why would someone, anyone, allow themselves to be degraded to by such brutal sexual treatment and then, in day-to-day activity, act as if it's all common-place? And why, would the other people in the story want to do these sorts of things to another person for pleasure?

Considering where the story takes place, it must be a French thing. I don't recommend this book, even if you are curious like I was. It was crap.
SuzanneB avatar reviewed Story of O on
Must be your cup of tea. Was required reading in a Women in Lit class. Interesting, to say the least.
reviewed Story of O on + 7 more book reviews
Strange book, I could not quite get into it. Just not my cup of tea.
reviewed Story of O on + 77 more book reviews
1193 Book of the Month CLub Edition.
reviewed Story of O on + 41 more book reviews
I think this may be one of the worst books that I have ever read. Meandering plop of porn.
reviewed Story of O on + 46 more book reviews
Very strange book.
reviewed Story of O on + 54 more book reviews
This copy is the suppressed version, unfortunately.
reviewed Story of O on + 3 more book reviews
Excellent Book.
reviewed Story of O on + 16 more book reviews book