REVIEW: Disgusting, Beautiful, Immoral by Guy New York

Nobody has ever loved a woman the way Brent and I loved Kelly. I met her first, and for a while, I thought that mattered. We hooked up at a party, crawled into bed a few days later, and before I knew it she was calling me Daddy as we did everything filthy thing we could dream up. The time after college was the most messed up fuck-fest of a summer I have ever had, and it didn’t stop there. But love comes in different packages, and when Brent finally came back to the city everything changed in an instant. Maybe it was the first time I undressed her in front of him while our roommates watched, or maybe it was that early morning when he parted her legs as I lay next to them on the bed. Whatever it was, the three of us were thrown into a love that couldn’t be defined or controlled no matter how hard I tried.

Warnings: Dysfunctional Relationships, DDLG/age play, jealousy narratives, BDSM

Category: M/F, F/F, M/M

Disgusting, Beautiful, Immoral is a piece of literary fiction exploring the life of an average joe bartender who gets swept up in all sorts of raunchy sexcapades by the women in his life. As the title would imply, it’s themes overwhelmingly concern the messiness of love, life, sex and relationships. It’s full of damaged and messy people doing damaged and messy things and finding the beauty in life together despite their damaged messiness, and maybe finding some amount of healing as they grow side by side. Oh, and sex. Lots and lots of sex. They hurt each other, they love each other, they fuck each other.

As much as this is a piece of erotic lit, its true weight is in the drama, and the exploration of life and love. To that end, it is a truly fascinating piece. It walks us through the experiences of it’s main character Thomas, his hopes and dreams, his fears and his struggles, his emotions and his lusts, and thus it ends up having a good amount of depth in it’s depiction of a guy who doesn’t have everything figured out and is just trying to live life one step at a time. There’s something raw about the prose, something very open and honest. It’s not necessarily pretty or sophisticated, but it’s accurate to reality in a way that doesn’t shy away from the rough patches and sharp edges of life, and I really appreciated that about it. Every aspect of the story tends to lend itself to that atmosphere, and I found it defiantly authentic.

The biggest area that I struggled with this novel was in the emotional engagement. While it was a refreshing take to see the struggles of life and love laid so bare and so real in this book, it also tended to veer in the direction of characters being so messy as to almost be unlikable, what with everyone dealing with varying degrees of baggage, cheating on each other, and constantly judging each other. This was particularly a problem with the main character Thomas. He’s nothing special really; an average dude in every sense of the word. He felt more like a reader or author stand-in than a character of interest himself. And this isn’t really a criticism so much as an observation; I don’t actually believe there’s anything wrong with writing an insert character, but it made it difficult for me personally to feel a sense of relation to him since his experiences weren’t really wish fulfillment for me and were more of an interesting exercise in humanity studies. Thomas is leading the life many men probably wish they could lead, but is so far removed from my own fantasies or experiences that having him be a blank slate where I could not project made it a little difficult.

While worldbuilding is not a major aspect of this book, it still manages to carve out a depiction of an insular little friend-turned-poly-friends-with-benefits group, which was quite interesting. As the group of characters grow together and get drunk together and eventually start to fuck together, there’s definitely a sense of them existing in this little sex bubble that feels apart from the rest of big city life; or, perhaps that simply is big city life. The sense of feeling alone even when surrounded by thousands of people at all times, being faceless in a crowd and the world dropping off and blending into the background while only you and your immediate circle of friends exist. Maybe that just is, in itself, the feeling that the book was aiming for. It creates a sense of intimacy between the people and makes the characters themselves become the setting, which was a fascinating aspect of the reading experience.

Disgusting, Beautiful, Immoral bills itself as being “the dirtiest book in the world”, and while I don’t think that’s entirely accurate, it certainly is quite dirty. There is a lot of sex in it, a lot of kink and a lot of casual approaches to sex that make it a true clusterfuck of carnality. It’s perhaps not just in the actual acts themselves, but in the raw and un-beautified way that it depicts them that makes it feel… well, dirty, like a run down pub where the tables haven’t been wiped down in weeks. It feels like there’s a layer of grime and the smell of cigarettes ever present. And it’s interesting to see sex depicted like this. Sex and sexual relationships are not always healthy, because people are not always healthy, and there’s a good helping of ugly unhealthy sex and sexual coping mechanisms showcased here which is not exactly untrue to life. That said, I was a little uncomfortable with just how much of that seemed to coincide with the kink factors. Thomas could be very kink-negative and slut-shamey in his own internal monologues, despite actively participating in kink and poly sex. Not that it’s unrealistic for someone to be uncomfortable with this or that but to go along with it anyways, never voicing their discomfort and struggling with how they feel about it internally, but I ended up feeling like Kelly was getting a raw deal: Her having a sexual partner for things as intimate and trust based as the DDLG and degradation play they were engaged in, and knowing from a reader’s perspective that the person she trusted not to judge her for her kinks was absolutely totally judging her even while promising he wasn’t was… a little alarming to me, personally.

In the end while I found the raunchy and dirty approach that the book had to sexual content fascinating and interesting to read, it’s not exactly the sort of stuff that I look for in my smut. Call me an old fashioned romantic, but I do find more beautified and unrealistic sex more sexy to read. But this book is certainly very well done and well written and if you’re looking for the down and the dirty, you’ll probably even find it extremely hot. There’s a lot here, and a lot to digest in it’s prose. It’s certainly a lot more than just a porno, so I would very much recommend it as being a good piece of literary work, especially if you like dramas exploring more realistic damaged people seeking healing together, and the beauty inherent in admitting our own messiness.

Have you read Disgusting, Beautiful, Immoral? Let me know what you thought by leaving me a comment!

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