- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Seal Press (April 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580054080
- ISBN-13: 978-1580054089
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,002,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Curvy Girls: Erotica for Women Paperback – April 3, 2012
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What I didn't expect was how deep the characters would be, or how thought-provoking the stories. I read these stories for the entertainment factor, sure, but I went back to them because I kept learning about myself and my sexuality.
I also went back for multiple rereads because these are darn good stories! Erotica gets a bad rap as all smut and no substance, not that that's always a bad thing. But, for me anyway, steamy stories that have some sort of conflict, or tension, or just some deeply held emotion on top of attraction or desire are so much more believable, and the steamy parts are so much more intense when there's other, even subtle, action going on. I wanted some of these stories to be fleshed out (no pun intended, really!) into full-length novels - the characters were that interesting and the plots that riveting.
Rachel Kramer Bussel is a magician of an erotica anthology editor. Each story she selected is written with a love, passion, and connection I rarely pick up in fictional writing; It feels as if the authors have made friends with their characters and made an oath to tell their stories with passion, truth, and pathos. The authors write with sensuality, whimsy, and a level of political awareness and social commentary that doesn’t at all detract from the erotic entertainment.
The erotic encounters in this book are some of the hottest, and most believable (don't worry; there's plenty of room to get carried away in pure fantasy), I’ve ever read. I'll talk about that more in a minute, but first, the answer to a very important question:
Why have a steamy book about curvy girls, anyway?
Because our culture rejects anything outside of its imaginary plastic model of perfection. The standards women are held to are almost impossible to meet. Curvy, but not too curvy, and not curvy in the “wrong” spots. Sexy, but not too sexy, and not sexy in the “wrong” places. And, perhaps most insidious and dehumanizing of all, sexually available but not sexually interested.
Sure, there are erotic stories about bigger women, but somehow they tend to feel like they're about the woman's size and nothing else, as if everything else that makes the character a fully realized person just isn't there. The characters in Curvy Girls are women we can identify with, women with dreams, ambitions, intellect, and a rocking sense of humour!
There's a nice balance in this anthology between stories of women who are fully realized and confident in their sexy, curvy selves, and women who are travelling on the journey towards self-confidence and are helped along the way by the acceptance and admiration of a lover.
What is a curvy girl anyway? She’s not what you think. She’s a classic hourglass. She’s big all over. She’s muscular and jiggly all at once. She’s firmly muscled and athletic, but without the lean athleticism our society demands from active women. She’s got a curvy bottom with petite, barely-there breasts.
She is, as Donna George Storey writes in "Happy Ending" (one of my favourites, by the way) : “A fairy child on top, an earth mother below.”
Curvy girls are also mothers, professional bakers, store owners, judo champions, fiancées, sex workers, runners, museum docents, tired travelers, connoisseurs of French silk pie (yum!). Curvy girls are smart, creative, shy, sassy, insecure, confident; curvy girls are women!
Somehow, we’ve gotten to a point where women are expected to fit a mold that really doesn’t fit us. I was delighted to see in Angela Caperton’s Before the Autumn Queen a woman whose uniform didn’t fit properly, not because she was too big, but because the uniform wasn’t designed well for her. Even more delightful is how she deals with this: wearing sexy, expensive lingerie. It doesn’t hurt either that someone saw past the ill-fitting uniform to the perfectly proportioned, sensual woman beneath, leading to an evening of passion.
I smiled at Maya’s reflections on blue jeans in "Excuses."
"I opt to put my hands into my jean pockets. What little pocket there is, anyway. Women's jeans aren't designed for function. They only serve to invoke the tears of hapless shoppers and to make me wonder exactly how big my hips and thighs look at this very moment."
I loved many of the stories in this book, and liked all of them.
Underlying the passion in many is a tenderness that surprised me. The reunion of three friends in Champagne Cheesecake (yes, a threesome) and the new, healthier, heavier body of the woman in the three, is tender, playful, and gently nuanced to each character’s sexual personality. Donna George Storey gives some perspective to the interplay of self-acceptance, sexual empowerment, and the many meanings of fidelity in "Happy Ending." Justine Elyot’s "Wenching" presents the simple, unadorned self-acceptance, in spite of the frippery of the setting, coaxed out both by the accepting words of the main character's admirer and by the joyous feelings of full, uninhibited release.
"Recognition," probably my favourite in this entire collection, plays with identities in a creative way. Turning the butch-femme dichotomy on its head, two women who love their big, strong, capable bodies, recognize themselves in each other, yielding a magnetic attraction that leads to the steamiest scene of airport bathroom sex I’ve ever read. So steamy in fact that I never once went “ewww, they’re in a bathroom” as I usually do when reading erotica set in bathrooms. Congratulations to Salome Wilde and Talon Rihai for distracting me from that ick factor!
If you like erotica, try this book. If you like Rachel Kramer Bussel's anthologies, you'll love this one. If you're looking for a way to spice up your life a little, take the leap and read this. It's only a book - you can put it down if you don't like it, or let it take you on ajourney of imagination and discovery.
I am happy to report that almost every story was a pleasant surprise. I didn't think I would be able to relate to most of this book. I may have a little extra, but I am not a curvy girl. I loved In the Early Morning Light by Kristina Wright. This story, about a new Mom with a new body full of extra padding, is something that struck so close to home.
One theme I noticed was that two of the stories were about women who had quit smoking and put a bit of extra pounds on since then. Albeit these stories were completely different, I could enjoy them both. Champagne and Cheesecake by A.M.Hartnett is about a woman who has a reunion with two men. She celebrates her "victory tits" and voluptuousness with two former playmates in a very sexy scene. While Decadence by Satia Welch was about a woman treating herself to a little food indulgence after quitting smoking. Both of the woman oozed confidence and relished in their bodies.
My favorite erotic story was Before the Autumn Queen by Angela Caperton. This erotic story about a painting in a museum was very well written. I wanted it to go on and find out how what happens after the show where the museum working and the painting's sexy fan hook-up. This is an author I have never heard of, but she wrote so exquisitely about being beautiful I am now scoring the internet for more of her work. This is why collections by various authors are awesome.
Although I think this book set out to break a stereotype, some of the stories were full of bad characters. The story Runners Calves by Sommer Marsden did a poor job of trying to represent the bigger girl. I think most bigger girls are not runners. The main character made too many excuses for the body she was suppose to be loving and was eventually lavished upon. The low self esteem of this character was just a damned shame.
Passing the Time by Gwen Masters was another story that I think derailed from the main message of the book. This girl was stood up and she even suspected her boyfriend was cheating. I could relate to this girl, but it did not make me feel good.I recommend this book even for those whose major turn on is not a Curvy Girl. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself and my kink in its pages, I think you will too. I loved the few stories about woman loving woman, they did a good job of not apologizing for their sexiness.
For some weight is something we struggle with and feel some shame about. But for some others the generous expanses of delight held in our breasts, bellies and on our backsides is the stuff of sexual liberation and celebration. Like a gorgeous old master painting come to sensual life.
Curvy Girls: Erotica for Women is for those who feel both ways and there is something in this book for all women. The book is equal opportunity in it's treament of all women, there is no shame in this book. Nor is there sexism, ageism or any of the other "isims" that you might come up with. There are stories of younger women and older, women of color and Latin decent, blondes brunettes and redheads. Best of all there are men ( and other women) who truly love and get off on the idea of begin with a woman who embraces her size and lives life to the fullest.
One other thing that is not missing from this book is hot sex ( erotica without hot sex would be...?). Proving the point that size has nothing to do with the ability to have mind blowing sex of all types. And yes, all types of sex are ventured with nothing lost to say the least! Nineteen short stories spanning multiple unique and refreshing scenarios make this a book that will have a place on my nightstand for a very long time to come!