Thursday, October 18, 2012

Playing Darlene by Darlene (TOUR REVIEW)

Although somewhat awkwardly told, Playing Darlene: The True Double Life of a Public School Teacher & Professional Dominatrix is a fascinating peek at the business behind the world of bondage and domination. It's a business in which Darlene found herself entirely by accident, fuelled not by fetish or fantasy, but by circumstance and curiosity. As a result, there's a sense of almost clinical detachment to her recitation of scenes and players, lending the book a sense of authenticity, free of any emotional embellishment.

While there is an emotional component to her story, it is relegated to the introduction and conclusion of the tale, leaving the reader to piece it all together and judge for themselves both the impact of that component as well as the significance. Personally, I would have liked to see a bit more emotional reflection throughout the story, but the separation does make for an interesting read.

Darlene's style is simple, straightforward, and almost conversational in nature - precisely what you would expect from an ESL teacher. She keeps the more risqué details to a minimum, restricting herself to the essentials. That's not to say this is a tame read, not by any means, but when she does write about a submissive ejaculating all over the floor, you know it's an essential element of the scene, and not just an erotic embellishment added for the sake of the reader enjoyment. Had she wanted to really elaborate, this could have been a much longer (and much more arousing) tale, but it would have lost its focus in the face of the erotica.

One of the things Darlene does exceptionally well is build the profile of her clients and customers. Again, she resists the temptation to make them characters in some erotic adventure, instead keeping them honest and, most importantly, human. She lets us know what they need, what the crave, and what they enjoy, but doesn't attempt to imagine any dark-and-deep backstory about what sends them to a professional dungeon. Even the more outrageous customers are kept restrained (no pun intended) by the matter-of-fact telling of her story.

Like I said, there is a strong emotional component to the opening and closing chapters, and it really casts a different light on her story. It's a really sad commentary on life when the traumas of a child seem more fantastic than the tortures of a Dominatrix, but it says something important about our world and the way we react to it. Perhaps that is why Darlene held so much of herself, back, but only time and (we can hope) a second volume will tell.

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Darlene was born in Hollywood, California, and grew up in Pasadena, a quiet suburb near Los Angeles. She received a BA in German from California State University, Los Angeles. For several years she worked in television and film. Credits include General Hospital, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the female lead in the film Monstrosity in which she played a spaced-out punk rocker. She even photo-doubled for Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun and Corey Feldman in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (when they were 14 and 12 respec- tively). For the past 20 years, she has been a public school teacher in Los Angeles County. She currently lives in the San Fernando Valley, where she can be found indulging in her favorite hobby, ballroom and country-western dancing. Her next book is scheduled to be released in early 2013. 


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