By He and She
Unbridled Books, $23.00
The remarkable true document that is The Mistress Contract opens with a piece of paper that was signed in 1981 by a woman and her wealthy lover. The contract establishes an exchange that she thinks fair: If he will provide an adequate and separate home for her and cover her expenses, she will provide him with “mistress services”: “All sexual acts as requested, with suspension of historical, emotional, psychological disclaimers.”
For the duration of the agreement, she will become his sexual property.
Then — on a small recorder that fit in her purse — this extraordinary and unconventional couple began to tape their conversations about their relationship, conversations that took place while travelling, over dinner at home and in restaurants, on the phone, even in bed.
This book is based on those tapes. It is a candid record of what they had to say to each other privately about the arrangement and its power relations, their physical relationship and the sexual forces that shaped it. As private and intimate as it is, though, the book also turns an unblinking light on a period of intense upheaval between men and women.
Looking back now, thirty years later, this extraordinary couple are willing to reveal their most private moments to our scrutiny. What they capture in The Mistress Contract is an unapologetic revelation and a bold provocation.
My thoughts about The Mistress Contract are pretty disappointing. It took me a few days to decide what to say about this book and I'm still not sure, but - here we are. I have to be honest and tell you that is not what I thought it would be. I'm not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. I had decided not to review The Mistress Contract, but I had agreed to read it and write a review.
The transcripts of "purported" conversations between "he" and "she" often rambled, and for me, unraveled like loose threads in the wind. As I turned page after page, I couldn't help but wonder if these were real? As readers we have no background as to who these people are. We're told that he's a wealthy business man, and she could be almost any woman.
While I realize that their contracted relationship spans thirty years, I had trouble identifying with the dialogue, it was...pretentious and aggravating at the same time. These are people that I run from when I find myself seated next to at weddings and dinner parties. I know the time period is dated, but geez...it's so stero-typical of the times back in the day. Give her something to be excited about! She comes off as a boring one dimensional character.
He comes of as a jerk, all bluster, puffing his ego up and boring everyone in ear shot. And what was the deal with the other "she" in Seattle? He was a sexist pig.
OK, you get the idea. I won't go on, this book just wasn't a good fit for me. I had hoped for the backbones of a long term, caring and interesting relationship.
Sometimes you don't get what you hope for.
**I knew there had to be other people out there with a differing opinion, and I found this review at The Book Lady's Blog, the reviewer really enjoyed the book, so please give it a read, see if it's a good fit for you!
This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley, and in no way affected my review.