Dogging (The Devil You Don't Know) - Stephanie Roi
 Copy provided by the author
 
A girl's sexual coming of age?
 

A representation of today's youth in pursuit for meaning in their lives?

 

How does one adjust one's real nature to society's expectations?

 

Cassie, our main character, could be just like anyone else in our day and time.

 

"She was also an average girl growing up in a society with high, nigh impossible standards of beauty. Intimacy issues? Of course she had them, who didn't?"

 

First thing I noticed about this book was the quality of the writing.

It has it in spades.

 

The second one: Cassie has absolutely no self esteem.

 

How does this affect the story?

Well, it affects it in the sense that during the _ let's call it _ first half of the book, in which Cassie enters into a relationship with Jemma, Cassie's actions almost fade into the background. Almost like a way to emphasize her worship and admiration of Jemma.

 

While reading this part of the story I couldn't help drawing some parallels. For instance, were Jemma a boy, he (she) would be the typical bad boy, who a certain day would pay attention _out of the blue _ to our main character.

Since this was written by a woman, the way these two interact _their obviously power unbalanced relationship _ felt a little jarring to read.

It's not as if two women cannot be together only for sex. But even so, sex creates a connection of a sort, and the long silences between them were hard to adjust to.

 

Also regarding the way Jemma is portrayed... the way she is described, from the way she talks, to the way she regards her actions, seem derived from a patriarchal pov. She's more like a goddess than an actual woman.

 

The plot of this story basically follows Cassie's life and her attempt to fulfil her need.

The path of a girl who, simplistically speaking, needs to be able to feel something in her, through her path in life... a different path from today's ongoing search (and of one of the characters) for desensitization. 

 

She sees herself as socially inept, but she has a strength of her own, as one can read in the situations in which she places herself into. 

 

This was not something easy to read.

You wish you could shout at this girl: "You deserve so much more than this!"

Do not let them use you like this!

 

Also, I couldn't help finding confusing the constant conversation regarding virginity.

What is virginity?

For starters Cassie has sex with Jemma. 

They're eighteen, they should know what constitutes sex.

 

The story moves forward, but still one thing remains as constant:

Cassie's lack of self esteem.

This will prompt her involvement with another character who also has some different views of the sexual act.

It was like this girl was a magnet for everyone who would just complicate her life.

Not that she feels this way:

 

"She would never regret meeting Lane, or Dean or Jemma. She loved them all even if they would never know."

 

The better part of this is that, as a reader, you can see the character's growth.

It would be easy to indicate Cassie's incapacity to see where her life is going, but that is not the case.

Cassie, _emancipated Cassie_, from a certain point provides very accurate analysis on the whys and whos of her actions.

She's not clueless, as one would expect. She's simply determined in following her path.

In the future, I just hope that it will involve more self esteem.