The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker – An Erotic Memoir – Suzanne Portnoy

There are two reasons I had to read this book. One is because it’s an incredibly popular book in certain circles (i.e. people involved with erotica), and number two is because it had some shit reviews on Amazon, and I had to see whether they were right or not. I’m going with not. The reason most of these people have slagged off the book is because of the content, rather than the writing. And, at the end of the day, if you don’t agree with someone sleeping around, then why on earth read the book? It’s stated exactly what the book is about – “An erotic memoir” kind of gives it away. So I don’t agree with those people for giving the book a bad review because of their beliefs. At the end of the day, it’s each to their own, and if that’s the way Suzanne wants to live her life then it’s up to nobody but her, and we shouldn’t judge.

I enjoyed the book because a great deal of it was about breaking the rules. Suzanne has done pretty much everything that is frowned upon by “society” – sleeping around, going to swingers clubs and bars, etc etc. She’s lived a naughty and dangerous life and has seen fit to write about it, probably to open many people’s eyes. Mine were already wide open considering my writing and some of the people I mix with (primarily on the internet), but I’d personally love to see the reactions of some people walking down the street where Suzanne talks about Rio’s being and realising what the place is. It’s amazing how much people can sweep under the carpet when they don’t want to deal with it.

I think Portnoy was incredibly brave to write and publish her book. I think the writing is pretty good, and although I didn’t find it particularly erotic (it’s written in a rather matter of fact way, rather than a blow by blow account of sexual encounters), I did find it interesting, and I got an insight into the swinging world and its inner workings. I think if this book had been published as fiction, people would have praised it. But because it’s not, people attack her.

I do, however, feel a little sorry for Portnoy. Although she’s done things that people would consider to be wrong, there is a heart under that confident exterior, and she is still searching for someone to look after it. But perhaps being so honest means that people may suss out who she really is, and airing her dirty laundry means that many men will probably run a mile after discovering her past, and she’s made it a lot harder for herself to find a decent guy to love her for what she is, rather than what she’s done. I do hope she can find that guy, and doesn’t get caught in the trap of sleeping around for the rest of her life.

A gripping read. As I said, I didn’t find it particularly horny due to the way it was written, but I did find it interesting, and I praise Portnoy for showing the world exactly what goes on behind closed doors. She may not be an angel, but nor are many of the people she’s associated with. Those who aren’t easily offended, give this book a go!

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