Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review: Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas

Review: Comfort Food
Author: Kitty Thomas
No of Pages: 186
Release Date: 21 March 2010

Emily Vargas has been taken captive. As part of his conditioning methods, her captor refuses to speak to her, knowing how much she craves human contact.

He’s far too beautiful to be a monster. Her attraction to him and his lack of violence has her walking a fine line on the edge of sanity.

Told in the first person from Emily’s perspective, Comfort Food explores what happens when all expectations of please and pain are turned upside down. As whips become comfort, and chicken soup becomes punishment.

My Thoughts:

Comfort Food was a powerful read, but it didn’t truly touch me in the ways I was expecting.

Emily is a captive of a man that has an obsession with her; he intends to make her his slave. After months of conditioning and training Emily is a shadow of her former self, but she’s not entirely sure that she truly hates what she has turned into.

Emily is a strong woman, one I admire simply because I don’t know if I could have done what she did. Instead of fighting, instead of being taken by force Emily survived and submitted to what was being done to her purely because she couldn’t stand being deprived of human contact, and because she always had a sliver of hope that she could escape.

Comfort Food is confronting in ways that it forces you to really ask yourself, what would you do? Taken captive by someone who is obviously sick do you survive by submitting or die by being stubborn. I have been thinking about this ever since I put Comfort Food down, I can think of ways that I would want to survive, but I also think that maybe I would just prefer to die. Emily’s choice was survival but her way of thinking truly makes one question the meaning of inner strength.

I was hoping for more from Comfort Food in the way of writing though. Emily was a very detached character; even though we were in her head I never really felt her fear or her pleasure. I never really felt happiness when she was in the “good cell” or the complete despair when she was in the “bad cell”. In a way it adds to the book, because it gets into your head afterward, one enters a sort of shock response when reading it and that is only lifted after the final page is turned, so in ways it’s brilliant, but in others it’s lacking because the book while staying with you, doesn’t draw you in while reading, it is easy to put down and walk away to do menial tasks and then come back to later.

I think I may have been hoping for more of a psychological thriller rather than a BDSM romance and that is my own fault, for the purposes of this being a BDSM romance though, Comfort Food is once again hard-hitting in some ways, but lacking in others. The sex scenes were written in third person, to show us Emily’s detachment from them but in doing that the true horror or even eroticism was glazed over.

Stockholm syndrome played a major part in Comfort Food, but because we were in Emily’s head and she was the sufferer that was also glazed over romanticised in some ways. I felt that it could have been better represented, Emily has a psychology degree, she saw it happening to herself and yet she couldn’t stop it, but she wasn’t fazed by that at all.

Comfort Food wasn’t as hard hitting as what it could have been, in ways it was as bland as the chicken soup Emily was forced to live on. Some aspects of this book will stay with me for a while but mostly it is just a flash in the pan.


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