Taming the Beast

Taming the Beast
by Emily Maguire
Published 2006 by Harper Perennial
336 pages. Paperback.
Rating: 1/5

Taming the Beast begins when Sarah is only fourteen. Within a few pages of the book she has already been seduced by her thirty-eight-year-old English teacher. As their affair continues it only becomes more obsessive and violent. When the two of them show up home late covered in bruises and bites the affair has to end. Mr. Carr moves away, leaving a very distraught Sarah behind. Seven years later, Sarah is living in a tiny flat, barely scraping by. Her self-destructive behavior seems to be getting worse and worse, until her best friend Jamie intervenes. When Jamie and Sarah begin to get comfortable with their new relationship as lovers, Daniel Carr enters Sarah’s life again, bringing with him all the violent obsession from their past.

My first thoughts when beginning this book was “whoa!” I knew what the book was about, but I didn’t realize I was going to get to the sex within the first few pages.Then I turned the book over and read how Maguire was “the new bad girl of erotic fiction.” That would definitely explain it. Maybe after reading that sentence I developed a prejudice, or maybe I just didn’t like the book.I’m leaning toward the second one.

First of all, I loathed the characters. They were just a bunch of awful people who knew each other. Sarah is a total mess who doesn’t care about anyone but herself. She falls to pieces after the teacher she had an affair with moves away. She spends the next seven years screwing everything in sight and blaming it on him. If she were some frail, sheltered, unintelligent girl this might work for her. The things is, she isn’t. She’s smart enough to know better than to carry on like some tortured girl with a dark past. I’m not saying I don’t feel sorry for her. I do, but not enough to excuse all the self-destructive behavior.

Daniel Carr, the teacher she’s “in love” with is totally unbalanced. He’s insane. He talks about his obsessive love, but is brutally violent with her. He’s manipulative and demanding. Things have to be his way or he’s angry. He then becomes super creepy when he tells Sarah of his obsession with her the months before their first encounter.

Jamie is the only one who seems to have any sense at all, except for the fact that he loves Sarah. Why? what is wonderful about Sarah? She’s just so selfish. She never really thinks of what’s best for Jamie or what he wants. It’s all about her and what she wants and her poor tortured childhood. The sad thing is he eats it up. The rest of the characters are pretty much throwaways that I could despise for different reasons.

By now, I’m sure you’ve gathered that I didn’t like this book. I tried to. I really did. Perhaps if Maguire’s writing had been something more than ordinary I would have. It wasn’t, however and so I got nothing out of it.

This book contains profanity and explicit sex, including references to rape. This is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.

Source: Goodreads Bookswap
Author’s website: http://emilymaguire.typepad.com/about.html
Purchase this book: Book Depository | IndieBound

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