Carrie’s story: a modern-day BDSM classic?

the cover of Carrie's story

Carrie’s story is one of slave training, animal play, and contemporary power exchange. The protagonist continuously balances on the edge of comfort, and so does the reader. But more importantly, this is one of the most well-written BDSM erotica novels out there. Which is not surprising as Carrie has a degree in literature.

Carrie’s story has been called a classic, and the American version of the “Story of O.” This last one is not really a stretch, as the author herself descibes how she was inspired by that novel.

One review on Goodreads, called it a combination of Story of O and the Marketplace. And there I have to agree. The hidden network of the slave auction does make this a world similar to Laura Antoniou’s Marketplace. And the way Carrie comes into contact with it reminds us of O. So first, let me tell you the story.

The start of Carrie’s story

Carrie is a young girl who happens to end up at an awful party. However, in one of the rooms a very bad S/M movie is showing. And as Carrie has spent her teenage years reading BDSM novels, she is fascinated. Ignoring the rest of the party, she sits down on the floor and watches the movie. Meanwhile, she is only dimly aware of how an older man watches her watch it. He comes up to her after and tells her he is familiar with the BDSM world. Jonathan (as that is his name) can see that she’s interested and invites her over to his place to negotiate a Master slave relationship. So, as this is fiction, Carrie does not do any research and finds herself the next day chained to his ceiling while tests and studies her.

Short sidenote here: if you are new to all of this, do not under any circumstance accept an arrangement like this.

So , he negotiates the terms of their agreement with her after he has chained and spanked her (so she no longer is in a headspace to negotiate) and fails to discuss many of the extensive requirements he has. The consent here could hardly be more questionable. But, as this is BDSM fiction, Jonathan is a mind reader and knows exactly what she can and cannot take. Over the course of a year, their relationship becomes increasingly all-encompassing. Ending with her living at his house whilst going thtrough the regiment he designed for her. Their life includes lots of anal play and impact play. And whenever Jonathan has guests over, Carrie is there to serve them. Until at one point, whilst she is giving him a blowjob, he tells her it is time to get her to an auction.

The plot – a very short summary

In order to get her ready for the auction, Jonathan brings in his friend Kate. As Kate is truly immersed in the auction scene, she can judge what training Carrie still needs to get ready. This is how Carrie ends up spending a week at stables to train girl-horses. As far as I know, this is one of the only representations of pony play in BDSM fiction. So: very cool!

After this adventure, she briefly stays at Jonathan’s, before they travel to Europe. Here, an official “Board” tests her for several days to judge whether she is ready to enter the auction. Then, they transport her to a large facility, where the slaves are prepared for the auction itself. They designed this high-tech space to exert impersonal power over the slaves. And to show them off to potential buyers. The money Carrie’s sale raises, will be kept for her until she finishes out a one-year contract. After that, the money will be hers. (This is quite similar to the world in the Marketplace as well.) But who will her new Master be?

Critical spankings

Though the writing style is beautiful and the plot quite clever and at times surprising, this novel is not without fault. I thought the first part was quite cringeworthy, with Jonathan’s shaky ethics and a lack of motive on the part of Carrie. BDSM fiction writers often think an “inherent submissive streak” is sufficient motivation. However, Carrie did not have any previous experience with BDSM, and expected a more romantic relationship with Jonathan. Her knowledge based on BDSM fiction is an entirely unconvincing explanation of her acceptance of the conditions she experiences as miserable at times. Like Story of O (though unlike the Marketplace), for inexperienced BDSM enthusiasts, this novel paints a rather abusive picture that lacks in ethical grounding.

However, after she leaves Jonathan’s, the story gets much better. It’s interesting how her intellect (which hardly shines through in the novel) influences Carrie’s value as a slave. Furthermore, the novel explores different aspects of the BDSM experience. It shows different styles of Dominance, ranging from detached to affectionate and loving. This is the story of a woman who explores her own desire for submission. In the end, she does not choose this for anyone but herself. So if you tear out the first half of the novel, it is actually quite good.

Final judgement on Carrie’s story

If you are into slave auction fantasies and want to read more than the kinky fuckery that most novels deliver, you should really read this novel. Well written scenes of rarely represented BDSM activities (like pulling a plow whilst a woman uses reins to steer you) make this novel unique. And some of the more sex-oriented scenes are really hot. Especially the ones with women, interestingly enough… This is an easy read (took me two days) with an interesting plot and fascinating BDSM scenes. So get yourself a copy and dive in! Just bear with the Jonathan scenes until you get to the good stuff.

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