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Bride Trilogy #1

The Bride Stripped Bare

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A woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the good wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who's discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. She has discovered a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript that dares to speak of what women truly desire, and inspired by its revelations, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it. The question is: How long can she sustain a perilous double life?

371 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2003

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About the author

Nikki Gemmell

32 books275 followers
Nikki Gemmell has written four novels, Shiver, Cleave, Lovesong, The Bride Stripped Bare and The Book Of Rapture, and one non-fiction book, Pleasure: An Almanac for the Heart. Her work has been internationally critically acclaimed and translated into many languages.

In France she's been described as a female Jack Kerouac, in Australia as one of the most original and engaging authors of her generation and in the US as one of the few truly original voices to emerge in a long time.

The French literary review "Lire" has included her in a list of what it calls the fifty most important writers in the world - the ones it believes will have a significant influence on the literature of the 21st century. The criteria for selection included a very individual voice and unmistakeable style, as well as an original choice of subject. Nikki Gemmell was selected along with such novelists as Rick Moody, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Froer, Rohinton Mistry, Tim Winton, Colum McCann, Michel Faber and Hari Kunzru among others.

Born in Wollongong, Australia, she now lives in London.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 626 reviews
28 reviews4 followers
June 24, 2008
This book was basically irritating. It starts off with a letter from the anonymous author's mom to the publisher saying that her daughter disappeared, with her infant son, and her car/baby's stroller were found atop a cliff but no bodies were found. She found this manuscript though. So does the manuscript give insight into the woman's disappearance? Der- not at all. It's just this woman who is basically an asshole telling of her dissatisfaction with her brand new marriage (it starts on their honeymoon) and her sexual adventures with various strangers. It held my interest for a while, mostly because I wanted to find out why/how she disappeared, but when the woman gets in a cab and tells the driver to meet her at a hotel with several of his greasy cab driver friends for some raunchy stranger sex- then I was ready to vomit. After a few of these attractive cabbie orgies, she is torn between one of her other lovers and her husband who she pretty much hates. So what does she do to resolve this? She gets pregnant. Excellent idea, asshole.

If you want to read about a woman's sexual awakening then try Anais Nin. If you want to read about a woman who is trapped in a depressing marriage, try "The Awakening." But you don't need to read this bad porn, because I just told you the whole plot. (you're welcome)
Profile Image for Chloe.
100 reviews7 followers
July 2, 2011
I know there’s a lot of controversy around this book. Firstly, let me just say – this book is not about sex, it is about sexuality. It is not about the act; but instead, the thoughts behind it.

Yes, this book contains explicit scenes – but unlike most general fiction novels (cough, The Bronze Horseman, cough), we are given snippets of boldness to accommodate a softer understanding. I suppose it just has discourse, I suppose it’s something close to literature. As a reader I felt encouraged to view these explicit scenes as circumstances of society – rather than acts of passion. There was something very raw and harsh about them; like they were there to mirror a cold street.

Not all women are on Gemmell’s side, many women find this text disgusting, and I suspect this is one of the reasons the whole novel is in 2nd person. It’s funny how Henry Miller can be considered a hero among men, and Gemmell a slut among women.

The fact that this book raised so much controversy over censorship only enhances Gemmell’s meaning. She had to write it ‘anonymously’ as a woman in the 21st century. Why? Because female sexuality is still taboo. Within the text, the main protagonist is mirrored against an old Victorian’s secret writing. Gemmell is a clever girl; she knew what her critics would say. Has much changed for women’s sexuality since the 1800’s? Or are we still forced to hide our animalistic tendencies more so than man, conforming to some draconian myth what a woman is?
Profile Image for Suz.
1,158 reviews606 followers
May 16, 2023
This was the first book with any type of erotica theme that I'd ever read. I remember being absolutely scattered as I followed this woman's journey of her seeking something that was just so simply destructive. She was an effervescent woman looking for something more, that elusive high that kept the bar being raised so much after every encounter. Too dangerous as it cannot have a never ending satisfactory and successful 'high'. It will all fall down, and she will have to pick herself up. This will be too difficult as going back to the everyday, it will make her sluggish and unable to cope with the mundane. A dangerous pursuit with only bad results!
Profile Image for Annie.
16 reviews12 followers
June 29, 2007
I absolutely hated and possibly despised this book- so much so that I will have to re-read it to reassess my harsh judgement of it (in the hopes that I was just being a young, inexperienced and intolerant sod at the time). What I find appalling (gee that's a strong word) is that the book sells itself on being unashamedly honest- and this may be so in its efforts to express forbidden sexual desires. But in the areas that really count for something, it uses brazen sex to shock and blind the reader to the fact that it has absolutely nothing to reveal about personal responsibility, relationships, love, marriage,and growth. The hypocrisy of this book doesn't even allow you to enjoy the erotica.
Profile Image for Eve.
398 reviews68 followers
July 9, 2012
Raw. Painfully honest. Unflinching. Unbearably beautiful. I devoured The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell in one day.

Since this is my first foray into erotic fiction, I had very little idea of what to expect. Lots of "sexy sex" I imagined. But The Bride Stripped Bare absolutely floored me from the very beginning. Sexual descriptions aside, which were not cover to cover as I had preconceived, The Bride Stripped Bare had every element I desire in any novel:

Literary writing of high caliber - The Bride Stripped Bare is written in a very tricky, unusual second person point of view, present tense. As a reader I'm so used to the first person device which instantly places me in the main character's mind; however, this perspective achieved the same but in a more immediate, intimate way. By the constant "you," I actually felt that I inhabited the nameless character: The "good wife"/"good daughter"/"good friend" who, after learning a devastating secret, embarks upon sexual discovery which she chronicles in her diary.

"You have a book given to you by your grandfather that's a delicious catalog of unseemly thoughts.

"That a wife should take another man if her husband is disappointing in the sack.

"That a woman's badness is better than a man's goodness.

"That women are more valiant than men.

"That Adam was more sinful than Eve.

It was written anonymously in 1603. It's scarcely bigger than the palm of your hand. The paper is made of rag, not wood pulp, and the pages crackle with brittleness as they're turned. You love that sound, it's like the first lickings of a flame taking hold...It smells of confinement and secret things."

My copy of The Bride Stripped Bare is stuffed with bookmarks because I found so many remarkable passages ranging from visceral, to stunning, provocative, or just simply profound.

Profundity because it's not merely about sex or sexual acts but comments truthfully, without romanticism, about love, betrayal, friendship, transgression, marriage, parental relationships, even motherhood. Every woman who reads this will gasp, not so much with surprise, but with repeated affirmation. Gemmell wrote what women secretly feel, what they tell themselves, what they hide and what they desire.

"An emptiness rules at its core, a rottenness, a silence when one of you retires to bed without saying goodnight, when you eat together without conversation, when the phone's passed wordlessly to the other. An emptiness when every night you lie in the double bed, restlessly awake, astounded at how closely hate can nudge against love, can wind around it sinuously like a cat. An emptiness when you realize that the loneliest you've ever been is within a marriage, as a wife."

Despite the fact that the nameless main character embodies the experiences and emotions of most women, and the other characters could stand in for archetypes: the typical husband, the close friend, the mother - all have rich, detailed specificity to them. They have complexity and nuance which ring true.

The plot has a recognizable trajectory, chronicling love from its honeymoon stage, to comfortable couplehood, then its disillusionment, and resurrection, again mirroring what most couples go through. Within this framework, the nameless character loses and finds herself - until the final scene in which the reader is left pondering what really happened. Did she? Didn't she? It's literally a cliffhanger and that's all I will say about that.

And now to the good part. The sex is good, yo. As I read The Bride Stripped Bare I found myself saying "Oh my god." "What?" "Oh" out loud. As I stated above, the novel isn't sex from cover to cover. It progresses from chaste "down there" to bolder, more explicit, then right out climactic aria of erotic fantasies. Some of it is authentically mundane. Some repulsive and shocking. Some educational. All of it is riveting.

I'll leave you to discover the graphic passages for yourself. For now this:

"What you love:

"The arch of the foot, its bones, rake-splayed. Wide, blunt, clean fingernails. Michelangelo wrists. Cleanliness. The nape of your neck nuzzled. Your eyelids kissed. Burrowing deep under the blankets. Clothes to be drawn off slowly in exquisite anticipation. Cold, smooth walls you are rammed against. The sound of a lover's breath close to your ear. Your hair pulled back when he's inside. Your name spoken aloud just before he comes. Connecting, a holiness fluttering within you both. Seduction that's slow, intriguing, unique, by flattery, extravagant gestures, text: poem scraps on napkins, filthy e-mails that should never be sent, love letters scrawled on Underground passes, a line composed in lipstick on your back as you sleep, written backward, to be read in the mirror; oh yes, all that."
Profile Image for The Cats’ Mother.
2,129 reviews139 followers
March 20, 2022
Another one for the DNF shelf: I have discovered a style I hate more than First Person Present: Second Person Present! Also I’m really out into literary porn.
I’ve had this on my unread bookcase for at least ten years, I don’t know where it came from. I took a bunch of books I’m dubious about up to our Lake house with a view to taking the ones I’m not going to get through to the charity shop.
I was vaguely aware that this one was controversial but had no idea what it’s about, but all the 1-stars were fair warning. I skimmed through it far enough to confirm that this is definitely not something I want to read.
Profile Image for Denise.
215 reviews
December 11, 2012
é simplesmente horrível, 320 de pura agonia...odiar, fica muito aquém daquilo que sinto por este livro...cá vão os motivos porque o odiei:
- a fala ser toda seguida (olá, saramago fêmea -.-''')
- a personagem principal ser uma mulherzinha completamente frustrada (penso que a autora também o seja)
- parece que é bipolar, na mesma frase consegue dizer que está feliz e triste, quer uma coisa e depois já quer outra (divorciar-se não??? ela gosta é da boa vida que o Cole lhe dá e não dele)
- misturar passado e presente no mesmo capítulo do nada, nos primeiros capítulos a pessoa até tem dificuldade em perceber que ela continua em lua de mel
- a história não é viciante, a pessoa só não manda o livro pela janela fora, porque os capítulos são minúsculos

resumindo e concluindo, não é por reeditarem o livro e meterem uma capa que faz alusão as 50 sombras, que vai tornar o seu interior algo de melhor
Profile Image for Tabitha at lovenovel.co.uk.
18 reviews6 followers
March 12, 2013
Whilst my initial expectations behind the concept of this book were that it promised to be a revolutionary and original chronicle about a women's journey of sexual awakening, I was very quickly disappointed, and amazed myself that I managed to persevere until the end, considering that turning every page and chapter felt like a chore. For me, the author spent far too much time trying to create a book that is different, just for the sake of being different.

The book is laid out in a complicated mix of lessons, diary content and story telling. It begins with a letter from an anonymous author's mother to the publisher, that explains she has found a manuscript left in the belongings of her missing/presumed dead daughter. Depicted as a good wife that is happy, devoted and content in her life with her new husband, the anonymous bride's story unfolds a secret self. Very quickly, the woman tells of her dissatisfaction with her brand new marriage.

She believes her marriage offers her a sense of security but little else, and then an act of betrayal on her honeymoon propels her into a world of desire, fantasy and recklessness. She discovers a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript, presented to the reader as a lesson at the start of each chapter, which dares to speak of what women really want. With the use of this, the bride embarks on a double life, discovering what her desires really are and how she must go about satisfying them.

Whilst her problems and issues with marriage seemed real, reasonable and probably familiar to a lot of readers, her actions to solve them seemed illogical, ridiculous and unbelievable. The chapters were annoyingly short and the use of the Elizabethan manuscript seemed pointless, confusing or plain irritating in my opinion.

Group sex with cab drivers, an infatuation with a very unlikeable Spanish man and a planned pregnancy with the husband that she finally decides she does love after all, make it a yo-yo story that tries to get the readers sympathy, but fails to do so in every way.

Nothing seemed to sit right for me in this book. With an end that is so peculiar and abrupt, I can see that the author is trying to leave everyone to wonder and speculate about what really happened to her and her baby. It was a relief to finish the book and once closed, I far from wondered or speculated...I just forgot all about it straight away.
Profile Image for Labeebah Hasan.
193 reviews6 followers
June 7, 2018
The best second person narrative I have read, ever! This is languid and beautiful and biting, tragic and edge of your seat. I started the book and within the first chapter I was committed. The litany on loop in my head? "This can't end well." It is the story of a woman's search for herself. Discovering and then re-discovering identity in the face of and in reaction to other people's expectations. What is, perhaps, even more horrifying is her own complicity in the architecture of her life. She is as much to blame as anyone else. I loved that this was not an easy book. I loved that everyone was a villain and that everyone was a hero.

It is hard and frightening and terribly real. I identified. It's extreme in places, but there is a truth in the prose. That somewhere out there, somewhere in the world, there is this woman. That all women carry fragments of her. She is you.
Profile Image for Liz.
91 reviews
January 29, 2012
I found this book kind of confusing. I had trouble deciding what it was supposed to be - erotica? chick lit? mystery? And yet it didn't seem to be quite any of those things. It wasn't erotic enough to be erotica, had too much sex to be chick lit, and wasn't mysterious enough to be a mystery.

There were parts of it that I did like. I thought her husband was a real jerk, so I could see why she would be looking for more, and I was glad when she met Gabriel. This is where I think it would make good chick lit. It could easily have been a perfectly acceptable story about a woman whose husband is the bad guy, and she has an affair with another bloke who is everything she's dreamed of and they run off together and everyone lives happily ever after. But that's not what happened. Instead she goes off into this weird sexual world of her own, which doesn't quite follow on from, or solve, any of the problems with her marriage or her own life. Her problems were definitely real, but what she decided to do about them seemed really illogical to me. I couldn't figure out what she thought she was going to achieve or even what the point was. It's like she considered all the possible actions she could take and deliberately chose the one that would be least helpful and least relevant to her problems. Call me crazy, but maybe talking to her husband about her problems would have worked out better?

The sex described also wasn't really shocking or interesting or even erotic. In fact, it almost read like a man's idea of the kind of erotica women want to read, a kind of tired cliche about the hidden desires of repressed suburban housewives, and it really didn't speak to me at all. The part with the cab drivers I actually found quite unrealistic and hard to believe.

I found the style of writing a little confusing too. The limited use of punctuation and referring to the character as "you" instead of in the third or first person meant that in some passages with dialogue it was hard to know what was being spoken and what wasn't. I had to re-read a few paragraphs to sort it out.

It had some promising ideas, but just didn't really come together for me.
Profile Image for Kim.
2,157 reviews
August 19, 2021
An erotic masterpiece? Certainly, but it is far more than that. A young married woman is secretly writing a manuscript about her sex life - what it currently is with her husband, Cole, and what she wishes it was. But she accepts her married life for all that it is, (even though her husband has never given her an orgasm!), until she overhears a telephone conversation between Cole and her best friend, Theo, whilst they are on honeymoon in Marrakech. Feeling betrayed, this prompts our narrator to explore her own deepest sexual desires - which she manages to find with Gabriel. But she is eventually drawn back to Cole through her love for her husband overcoming her lust for Gabriel. She decides that what she and Cole need is to be parents so stops taking her contraception and almost immediately falls pregnant. Much of this section of the book is about the narrator's pregnancy and eventually giving birth. Yet, not long after the birth, with her and Cole seemingly happy, the 'manuscript' suddenly ends - and the ending (or lack thereof) is a disturbing repeat of the prologue of the book where the narrator's mother is sending the manuscript to a publisher because the narrator 'disappeared' 12 months before in an apparent suicide.
There is a second book but, from the preview chapters at the end of the first book, it doesn't appear to have any relationship with the characters from the first book. So, the question annoyingly remains - what happened to the narrator and her young son, Jack?! - 8/10.
Profile Image for Rina.
151 reviews
July 23, 2016
Oh my.

First off, I had no idea that this book was basically written porn. I usually base my book selections on covers, descriptions, and a page or two of the book.

This one has an odd cover. Or, I should say it had an odd cover. The newer editions seem to have more flesh. The description included so much raving about the book and it was a bestseller. The edition I had said it was written by an anonymous author. Anonymity is always intriguing. Finally, the first few pages involve a woman and her son that have gone missing and all that is found in her abandoned car is this manuscript. The book is supposed to be the manuscript.

All of that adds up to a presumably good read. It was not. It held my attention, but only in the way that a bad series holds your attention because you need answers. There are no real answers and most of the book is about "sexual exploration" AKA disgustingly frequent sex with complete strangers.

Some people may find some sort of social commentary hidden in the pages of this book. I found it a bit gross and, in the end, I still didn't get any answers. WTF.
Profile Image for Peppermintyrose.
6 reviews4 followers
July 20, 2012
I should say, I skimmed the sex scenes.


Not my usual reason. The bride was just so alien to me - a woman who married her husband because she could be herself fakes her orgasms? I just didn't grasp the idea of a woman who lets her husband wipe his cum on her face, but doesn't mention any of the dissatisfaction she feels with him to him. It was akin to listening to a dead fish that no one notices it doesn't flop any more. She was unsympathetic from the get-go, because she was supposedly "being herself" while also going to great pains to explain how she served her husband's needs on a near constant basis. So I didn't care about her discovering orgasms - and I find it difficult to believe that a woman who never masturbated to find out what she was missing would have a satisfying extramarital affair.

She was a terribly frustrating and passive woman who just sort of fell into things, while weirdly engineering things - like choosing to marry Cole. The writing was cold, distant and clinical.

I read this, while I had time to waste, and before it was tossed into a skip. It went in without a momentary pang.
331 reviews212 followers
October 5, 2013
ok you can read the blurb and other reviews for the story line.

An intense story of one woman's journey from a marriage, that i can safely say was not made for the 'right' reasons; and that is the whole point of this story,...trust me i've been married for years and this is how many of them crumble ,so like many who gave this 5* i identified and that's all i need to say...It struck me all the way through that only someone who has lived this 'experience' would know how to write about it...the phrase 'walk in their shoes comes to mind' ... or perhaps someone with a deep understanding of the secret parts of the human psyche.

2nd person narrative, eloquent in it's execution,almost poetic in parts.

I read a couple of reviews that stated they didn't understand why/how people can't ask for things from a marriage/relationship but how they could ask for the very same things from some one else? and the answers are simple really, if you bother to think about them....

Profile Image for Vamsidhar.
162 reviews22 followers
February 8, 2021
3.5* 'The Bride Stripped Bare' is described as a book about what a wife thinks, but never says.
It felt exactly like that. From the very first page to the last. All the points to the lyrical fluidity of authors' writing, it was most enticing to read. Despite its sultry allure, the title couldn't be better than this. Stripped bare- in the sense unraveling the complexities of her desires, dreams, intricacies of her married life, felt as if snooping into the conversation I shouldn't be listening to.
It wasn't a major suspense or a head spinning not even a raunchy erotic novel but more like walk in the park, so subtle yet captivating, gentle yet swaying. Except for the way it ended, it was surprisingly a good read.
Profile Image for Melanie Garrett.
237 reviews28 followers
November 10, 2012
This is an ambitious and affecting novel and I don't know how I missed all the hype about it when it first came out. Normally I find novels written in the 2nd person a bit too much like hard work, but Gemmell really makes her own. Although it was billed as a daring piece of erotica when it was first released, oh how quickly fashions change. I suspect it might disappoint readers of the current trends in 'erotica' who are used to getting a shag-fix every 1500 words. There's a lot more going on here than just sex as Gemmell takes us through the tribulations and triumphs of a young marriage. Personally, I didn't think the framing device was necessary, but that's just my vote. By the time I got to the end, I was thinking I would look for something else by this author, and low, there was a sample of her latest book handily presented on my Kindle edition of the Bride...It's called With My Body. I read this, but it felt altogether too samey in tone, style and content. So I'm not saying never, but not for now at any rate.

Update: 10th November 2012.

I was quite surprised to see this in the Daily Mail's list of 30 most titillating books of all time today. Especially so far up the list, as the sexual content struck me as quite limited in terms of actually percentage of words in the novel. A bit like a crime novel where someone rings the heroine up for a quick chat in chapter fiteen and mentions they heard about a murder, and then nine chapters later she reads in the paper that no one bothered to ever investigate it and she wonders for a paragraph or two is this is the same case as whats-her-name mentioned, but then the doorbell rings and she gets on with the rest of her life.
Profile Image for Lindsay .
946 reviews37 followers
April 12, 2010
I don't really know why I picked this book, it's a best seller, so I figured that it would be a good read. OMG, it's not. It's about a new wife who, in a way, gets bored with her marriage, so she cheats on the husband, does a bunch of dirty things, decides that she wants to have a baby, so she and the hubby have a kid, and as most people think 'having a child will make things so much better'. The reason I didn't like it, was because it was just very graphic as far as the 'bedroom' fun goes. I just don't feel that things like that should be written for people's enjoyment. It also reminded me of the book Wifey, by Judy Blume that I read earlier this year. Didn't like that one either.
98 reviews2 followers
June 4, 2018
I really found this story to be quite interesting and a quick read. While I've never been married, I think that all can relate to how relationships change, grow stagnant, evolve as you as a person grow and change- as a person and sexually. I found it fascinating that she would bounce between her husband and gabriel as perfect and a brief stint with taxi drivers and then back and forth between her husband and gabriel. I found the ending to be slightly confusing though. Did she disappear with the baby?
Profile Image for Cititoare Calatoare.
280 reviews19 followers
February 17, 2023
Sotia perfecta, femeia multumita si mama devotata dispare, lasand in urma un jurnal incendiar. Acesta dezvaluie o latura secreta a ei si analizeaza cu subtilitate capcanele vietii in doi.
Atrasa in aventuri erotice, ea se trezeste in fata unei dileme: cat poate continua aceasta duplicitate periculoasa?
139 reviews
February 14, 2023
This is the most pretentious piece of shit I have ever laid eyes upon in my 46 years of existence on this planet. I couldn't even get to page 50.

There's a line where she mentions how shocked her husband would be if he heard her say that he makes her wet which we're meant to take at face value is how a real person thinks.

There's another line where she's thinking about how sinfully debaucherous she's being by having four alcoholic drinks in a row because it's the first time she's ever done that.

Who is this woman supposed to be? I get that this is a story about sexual awakening and so obviously she's meant to start from a place of repression but jfc I'm not subjecting myself to god knows how many pages of overly flowery confessions of the depths of depravity she's fallen into when she learns about masturbation or whatever.

1 review
April 22, 2013
'The Bride...' is neither erotica nor e-rom. Though published well before 50 Shades, it has been reissued in a Shades-esque cover to take advantage of the erotica boom, no doubt disappointing many in search of good honest smut. IMO it barely makes the grade as what is really is: a confessional about a doomed marriage and subsequent affair, with a somewhat detached, clinical tone.

Books written in the nameless, self-referential second person don't faze me. Books with whimsical chapter epigrams don't faze me. 'Found narratives' don't faze me and neither do books where the protagonist isn't immediately (or ever) very likable. I still couldn't get into this book, which includes all the above and also suffers from a glaring plotting error.


At the start of the book, we're aware that the narrator has likely faked her own suicide by the foolproof ruse of leaving her car at the top of a cliff. At the end, we learn that she also gave the impression of taking her baby son (probably her husband's, not her lover's) with her in death.

No bodies are found, which is unusual for a clifftop leap in the South of England. The places where it's possible to fling yourself into deep water are limited, the body usually turns up, and the places the tides take it are predictable. It would be more plausible if she faked a jump from a cross-channel ferry, but even so, eventual recovery of a body is likely. There is no way the police would not consider a 'Canoe Man' disappearance to be strong possibility, and at some point, I fully expected her and her baby to have to go on the run, with sexy Gabriel or without him.

I mentioned at the start that this is a found narrative. The way it's found is on the heroine's laptop. It's the great novel of female self-discovery she's been working on, forwarded to a publisher by her mother, a year after a 'suicide' which looks a lot like a thinly-disguised child kidnapping.

And who gives this laptop to her mother? The computer on which she's described it all – her selfish, limp-tooled cipher of a husband, her perfidious raunchy friend, her unfinished affair, the intense satisfaction she gets from passive-aggressive revenge? The police. The police give the laptop to her mother, who says in the intro:

“Despite extensive questioning of several people close to her, the police concluded it was a case of suicide and closed their file.”

OK. Now tell me why they did so. Was it free doughnuts and cocaine day at the station, or did they question her friends and family in Urdu? Was the novel steganographically embedded in a series of kitten pictures? Perhaps the narrator was actually a mind-controlling sorceress whose psionic powers were powered by orgasms.

For the love of plot, woman, why on earth would the police close the case? Why?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tempo de Ler.
729 reviews96 followers
March 22, 2013
Sou da opinião que o carácter do protagonista não tem, por si só, o poder de elevar a propriedade de um livro nem, tampouco, de o enxovalhar… Mas, quando o âmbito se propõe a ser tão intimista quanto o é em A Noiva Despida e o único ponto de vista a que temos acesso é o desta mulher, torna-se deveras difícil conseguir apreciar a leitura…

Resistindo à tentação de usar adjectivos bem mais brejeiros para descrever esta personagem, digamos apenas que é uma mulher egocêntrica, imatura, supérflua, fútil e improfícua. Irritantemente, parece confundir amor com estabilidade económica, proporcionada pelo marido; o que adiciona à exposição do seu carácter as denominações de hipócrita, cínica e interesseira.
Ressentindo-se amargamente do conjugue, nada faz para tentar melhorar a relação ou acabar de vez com a fachada que é o seu casamento. Também não assume uma verdadeira relação com o amante, se é que se pode apelidar de tal, porque, como a própria afirma, não vai trocar a sua vidinha confortável com o marido para ficar com um actor desempregado… ( o número de vezes que indaga sobre quanto dinheiro Gabriel ganhará é frustrante).
O tipo de vida dupla que passa a levar transparece como uma opção sem sentido, injustificável e, muito sinceramente, penso que chega a ser desrespeitosa para as mulheres que sofreram uma traição ao casamento.

Nem tudo é negativo, claro, a autora consegue marcar algumas posições válidas e o recurso à segunda pessoa do singular permite um nível muito elevado de impessoalidade no tom de escrita, tornando a leitura muito íntima, quase como um desabafo. Há imensa honestidade neste livro mas quando esta é colocada num contexto tão - permitam-me - ajavardado e mentecapto esta acaba por se diluir completamente. O esforço de uma luta interna é sempre uma óptima premissa para um livro, excepto quando existe a tentativa absurda de justificar acções injustificáveis e de tentar fazer passar, com alguma solenidade até, divagações que não passam de devaneios obtusos.
O fim, apesar de não ser totalmente inesperado devido à forma como é iniciado o livro, surge de forma abrupta e sem sentido, piorando o que já era mau.

Sem me encontrar na presente disposição de chafurdar neste livro em busca de indícios de distúrbios psicológicos, suas implicações e justificações, (que de certeza que as há, e muitas!) não apreciei minimamente a leitura deste livro.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,268 reviews64 followers
January 21, 2014
I tried... I honestly tried. The blurb sounded good, especially the part about the "bride" discovering an Elizabethan manuscript. But I just couldn't get more than 49 pages in without being simultaneously bored and being a little nauseated.

For one thing, the context of the "chapters" of the "lessons" aren't clear. It feels like I'm going back-and-forth in time, from their delayed honeymoon to days before they were married to days long after they're married. It's simply the CONTEXT question of "where am I now?", and so I think part of my nausea is due to having no clue - to feeling like I'm on a never ending merry-go-round ride.

Then there's just the INANE-ness of it all. Sex, sex, sex... OK, so I should have known from the blurb. But I get tired of the "bride's" whining about how bad the sex is. Here are a few quotes from the 1st 24 pages of the book to hopefully show you how inane it all is:
You're not sure if Cle does it properly, you don't know what properly is.
followed next by
Before you found Cole you hand't slept with a man for four years.
followed by
It had taken you a long time to wake up to some sense. You used to sleep with men you were uncomfortable with in an attempt to make yourself ocmfortable with them; you married the one you forget yourself with.
... which is one of the only nice things she says about Colin...
Men you have slept with. What you remember the most:
followed by pages of paragraphs about all the men she's slept with...
You didn't look closely at a penis until you were married, didn't know what a circumcised one looked like.

NO MORE! I'm actually feeling happy and free to have made the decision that this book doesn't do it for me. I'm happy to CHOOSE to not finish a book and move on to (hopefully) a book that I can take some enjoyment from. It's certainly NOT this book.

It's not even that I expected to be titillated by the book... it's not the fact that the "bride" discusses sex so much. It's just the dispassionate, blunt, detached way she goes about it, as though nothing matters. Yet she's obsessed with sex.

Moving on...
Profile Image for okyrhoe.
301 reviews88 followers
August 4, 2012
(The author is Nikki Gemmell.)

Although the book is pitched as a no-holds-barred intimate journal of a woman coming into an awareness of her sexuality, not much is fully laid bare here. There is hardly anything enlightening regarding the complexities of the female body or the intricacies of the female mind.

This is neither a diary nor a novel. It’s an amalgam of female gripes, frustrations, and obsessions that one is likely to encounter as filler content in women’s magazines and self-help books. Female readers will gravitate towards the unnamed woman’s quotidian dilemmas and temptations, since each one of us is likely to identify with at least one aspect of the everywoman portrayed here. In fact, the narrative voice here is ‘you,’ a technique simple and yet effective in luring the female reader into the center of Anonymous’ universe. Furthermore, the narrative format - brief chapters/segments (merely 2-5 pages in duration) arranged in a monolinear sequence, rarely traveling back in time, or deeper into the psyche of the woman supposedly laying herself bare – requires no effort, allowing the book to be quickly ingested and easily digested by any level of reader.

For satisfying & substantial reading on the themes that Bride Stripped Bare fails to tackle head-on, try Tarun Tejpal's The Alchemy of Desire or Erica Jong's Fear of Flying.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 1 book24 followers
January 21, 2014
Oh I hate it when we are promised purple, scarlet and black and we end up with beige and vanilla blushing a shade of pink.
The narrator is a wan, nervous thing who, it seems, has never had an orgasm (even alone by her own hand) because she has been too busy surrendering herself to other people's needs. She's been as quiet as a mouse and totally unaware of her own interior world. Her dreadfully bland and dull husband makes her quit her job and hang around the house catering to his every need. Except the sexual ones since he has only a semi erect penis and seems to struggle to orgasm unless she services him orally.... Oh, you get the picture!
It's all bland and pointless and unfulfilling. And she only married him to fill up those empty Friday nights and she does love being married, dear reader, she does!
It's just that she needs to meet an exotic half Spanish virgin to go on an uninhibited sexual journey with so that she can truly flower.
Oh, it's all so contrived and dull and not as breathless and interesting as it's heaving white bosom seems to think it is.
And... I'm only half way through.... sigh...
Well, I finished the damn thing and it was like a mistake shag that never seemed to end and got more ridiculous as it ground its way to the inevitable conclusion. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
144 reviews15 followers
January 27, 2010
2.5 stars. This is a hard book to rate/review. There were parts of the book that I thought were very good. The protagonist is an English woman who marries the man of her dreams only to find herself completely out of sorts and unsatisfied in the role of a *good wife*. I found her thoughts and feelings about her circumstance compellingly raw and honest. And then it just gets strange. She becomes convinced that her perfect husband has been cheating on her with her best friend and decides to embark on an affair of her own. She wants sex on her own terms and finds herself giving lessons to an inexperienced man. Of course it doesn't turn out well, and then her truly really baffling decisions begin. Group sex, a planned pregnancy with her husband who she has decided she finally does really love and so on. The ending however, is so weird and abrupt that I think the book lost a full star because of it. It literally just ends leaving everyone to wonder and speculate what happened. Boo!
Profile Image for Tulsi.
101 reviews1 follower
October 6, 2008
If you are a woman, read this book. I think that almost every woman will be able to find something that resonates with them in this intensely personal story. I read this as a teenager, and again last year as a 21 year old, and it meant different things to me at different times. It's almost as if experience enhances it's meaning in the story. I'm sure if one day I choose to have a family, I will be able to find new meaning in this story. It's about sex, yes, but it's more. It's about being a woman, and what it means in relation to other people and our society. A very truthful book about women, and written in bite size pieces. I have a friend who read this as slowly as possible so she could savour every slice. Definately something to treasure.
Profile Image for CF.
206 reviews9 followers
April 7, 2013
I'm going to be honest. I'm not sure I liked this. This woman, who marries her ideal guy, suddenly finds herself believing he is cheating on her with her best friend. That's when her supposed 'sexual awakening' begins. So she has sex with all these guys, all the while her husband is none the wiser. Then she gets pregnant to her husband, realises she still loves him, and nothing happens. He doesn't find out, get revenge, etc. The main character is very, very unlikeable and I find her a bit of a whore. Some of the sentences in the book are quite poignant. But only a few. Otherwise, It's basically a story about a woman cheating on her husband, a lot. Ugh
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
September 18, 2012
The author had the main character think things about men that I've thought many, many times. I had no idea where the book was going to go, and as I got deeper and deeper into it, I found myself nodding and saying "exactly!".

But.....then the madness for a baby got in the way, and just annoyed me. Not everyone wants kids, and I'd love to have seen this story in an alternate universe where her biological clock was NOT ticking. That's all I'm going to say, no spoilers here.

Oh, and if you try to figure out the content of the mini-chapters by the lines above each starting page, don't bother. It makes no sense at all.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
120 reviews150 followers
January 13, 2016
This was actually fairly enjoyable. I was emotionally affected when the main character was, at least until I started hating her, hahaha. My only major issues was the sex in the book. I think it is a little too wild and out there so that kind of bummed me out, and the strange "Elizabethan" quotes thrown into the the book made me roll my eyes every single time. Not going to continue on in the series...didn't know it was a series when I started it so I am just going to act like it isn't.
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