Please Note: The following review is suitable for adults only.
I find myself uncharacteristically torn about this collection of B.J. Slippy’s serialized Becoming a Thug Wife stories. It is fun sexy stuff, with some really refreshing elements, and some lovely development of the main character, but it really feels like the story arc should have wrapped up after the first four stories. The last two stories do add a third character to the mix whom I really enjoyed, but the story itself felt somewhat strained, as if it were working too hard to come up with another twist to top the last one.
Hip Hop Gender Swap introduces us to Tony, an arrogant, condescending, sexist, white boy – a pathetic wannabe who plays at being a nasty gangsta rapper, but who was really raised in the suburbs. It’s his degrading treatment of the women in the strip club that results in him becoming cursed. As for the transformation, it is nicely done, beginning with the discovery of sensitive, swollen nipples, before moving to voice issues (big trouble for rapper), and then into the complete transformation. Of course, Tony’s transformation isn’t just into a woman, but a hypersexual black woman who craves the touch and taste of a man, and who instinctively knows just how to seduce them.
Rap to Pop Gender Swap reveals precisely who transformed him, how, and why. It all begins with Tony (now Rachel), using his new body to seduce the strip club owner into giving him phone number for the stripper who cursed him. His actual confrontation Tamantha is interesting, as she now holds all the power, and her superior condescension is the flip-side of his arrogance, but it is seemingly justified by his past behavior. She has a secret of her own that subtly shifts the tale, and her plans for him are absolutely delicious. Without giving too much away, let’s just say it has to do with illusion, blackmail, and teaching an arrogant white boy a lesson.
In terms of character development, Get Wet Get Rich is really the pinnacle of the series. Here we begin to develop a little sympathy for Tony (now renamed Tanya by Tamantha). We learn more about the lack of self-esteem that lies beneath his sexism, and we discover his blossoming affection for the stripper who cursed him, and whom he loves as much as he fears. With his career as a white boy rapper destroyed, he shifts musical gears to pop music, recording a transgender pop ballad that is destined to explode into the musical scene.
As I said earlier, Return to Sender Gender Bender is really where the series reaches its storytelling climax. Tony is starting to really enjoy his life as a woman, his career is taking off, and the money is rolling in. With Tamantha distracted by their newfound riches, Tony has discovered a new sort of freedom, one that allows him time to seduce the ‘big’ names of rap and hip hop into helping him with his next album. He’s really taken control of his life, and has stopped looking back to his life as a man, but a misplaced comment to Tamantha, coupled with a small act of defiance, suggests that this may not be the happy ending we were hoping for.
White Trash Body Swap throws a pair of significant twists into the story, the first involving a cop who comes looking for information in the disappearance of Tamantha, and the second involving a beautiful woman named Tara, with whom Tony feels he’s made a real connection, making love to one another rather than just having sex. Without spoiling the story, let us just say Tara is neither whom nor what she seems, and Tamantha has one more challenge for her sexualized toy, backed up by a new threat of blackmail. This is where the story lost me a bit. The challenge seemed somewhat tacked on, and the blackmail threat didn’t really make a lot of sense for a man who’d already been exposed once before, and who made his new fortune on the back of a transgender pop ballad, but the sexual deviance it introduces is certainly fun to watch.
The final chapter, Transgender Domination, is a bit odd in that it almost seems like it could have been the first, had B.J. Slippy taken a different approach. Tony undergoes multiple gender swaps here, taking him across the gender spectrum, from crossdressing sissy, to shemale, to female. In the process he loses everything, including a fortune that has grown so big, so fast, that it really does strain the bounds of credibility. It really is too much, and it kind of pulled me out of the story. Where it really leaves me so torn, however, is with the lack of resolution to Tamantha’s story. There are so many unanswered questions as to who she is, why she did it, and what she was looking to get out of it. What seemed to begin as a story of justice or revenge becomes a story of cruelty for cruelty’s sake, and it is not clear why she finally lets Tony go.
Make no mistake, I enjoyed Becoming a Thug Wife very much, and will admit to more than one wet spot in my panties along the way, but the last chapter and a half just seemed unnecessary. They didn’t add anything to the story – in fact, they distracted me from what worked so well – but I cannot argue with the final scenes, which offer a happy element of closure. Having read B.J. Slippy before, I feel she could have done so much more with the concept, but it is still a fun, sexy series with some solid character development, some great gender swaps, and (of course) lots of hot sex.