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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising, thought-provoking, disturbing and beautiful
The back-of-book blurb for this compares it to Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal, but the only similarity is the basic theme of a relationship between a teacher and student. In every other way, this Australian novel could not be more different.
Sarah Clark is a 14 year-old student seduced by her English teacher, the vile yet oddly appealing Mr Carr...
Published on 30 Nov 2005 by tinytigerr

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love, lust, sex & obssession down under
I found Maguire's debut an intense and often disturbing tale about lust, love, obessession and the desparate measures people will go to, to be loved and get love. This certainly is not a novel for the faint-hearted, nor those who object to graphic sex scenes, of which there are many.
At first I thought it was going to be a tale about how love can conquer all but...
Published on 9 Nov 2005 by Amazon Customer


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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising, thought-provoking, disturbing and beautiful, 30 Nov 2005
This review is from: Taming the Beast (Paperback)
The back-of-book blurb for this compares it to Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal, but the only similarity is the basic theme of a relationship between a teacher and student. In every other way, this Australian novel could not be more different.
Sarah Clark is a 14 year-old student seduced by her English teacher, the vile yet oddly appealing Mr Carr. Sado-masochistic sex follows before teacher takes off leaving Sarah to spin out of control for the rest of her teen years. Just when you think this is another abused-child-turned-bad book things take a suprising twist when the adult Sarah initates a relationship with her former teacher. What follows is the darkest, most painful portrayal of an obsessive relationship I have ever read.
Taming the Beast is a little bit Lolita and a little bit The Great Gatsby with huge servings of the Marquis de Sade all mixed into a gripping, heartbreaking story written in a fresh, original voice. If you're squeamish about graphic sex you'll have a hard time, but otherwise I recommend it to anyone interested in literature, love and female sexuality and power.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appropriately, nothing concise comes to mind, 27 Sep 2006
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Paperback)
This book is so hard to categorize, insofar as it deals with lots of issues. It starts off as a teen fantasy, when a 14yr old girl is relatively graphically seduced by her teacher in the classroom; it then turns into a slightly contrived beautiful-but-messed-up-and-all-the-more-attractive-for-it novel where the same girl, now a poor student/waitress living in a bedist, literally has sex with anyone who looks her way - including boyfriends of friends and her own best friend.

She's almost your typical beautiful waif, very slightly built, with the mettle of someone who's had your had-knocks education, and is just aching to be rescued by a big handsome stranger.

It's actually a testament to the skill of the author that you don't abjectly despise her, and as her life, and behaviour, spiral even further, you get a sense that this might not be your typical novel.
When our heroine bumps into her former teacher, the book sharply veers away from its predicted "Hollywood" path.

What follows is a shocking, insightful and painful look at what a truly dysfunctional, mutually abusive relationship can be when both people involved fundamentally loathe themselves.
With the loss of a major character, it could have become twee, but that person's disintergration is so beautifully written, it'll make you catch your breath for a second.

If you want hardcore sex, this isn't the book for you, because you'll have to go through many pages of beautifully written novel to get to the "good bits" (having said that, Ms Maguire really doesn't hold back when it comes to it); but if you want something that'll initially give you a slight tingle, then veer off into something that takes the breath from you and makes you cry, you'll enjoy this book very much.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, compelling, uncomfortable, un-putdownable, 5 April 2008
By 
C. Jean-Baptiste (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) (Paperback)
This book really got to me. It tells the story of Sarah, a very intelligent but emotionally neglected 14 year old girl who is seduced by her sadistic teacher. Sarah's grows up along best friend Jamie who has to watch her downward spiral of obvious self destruction.

It is not the graphic sex that really shocks but the dispair of the main characters - Jamie in particular who is the only normaility that Sarah has ever known that holds you hostage to this book. I literally could not put it down. I spent most of the time furious, sad and confused by the characters. It gets under your skin. A beautiful, haunting, well written exercise in breaking your heart. Maguire has true talent.

Read it.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love, lust, sex & obssession down under, 9 Nov 2005
This review is from: Taming the Beast (Paperback)
I found Maguire's debut an intense and often disturbing tale about lust, love, obessession and the desparate measures people will go to, to be loved and get love. This certainly is not a novel for the faint-hearted, nor those who object to graphic sex scenes, of which there are many.
At first I thought it was going to be a tale about how love can conquer all but in the second half of the novel, when our heroine, or should I say anti-heroine meets up with her former teacher, the novel takes a dark turn and towards the end I wondered what kind of message the author was trying to give me.
Can you love too much? Are some people naturally destructive, even to those they claim to love?
If you like uncompromising novels that show the world in all its (often cruel) glory, a tell-it-like-it-is writing style, you're not adverse to graphic sex and you want to be challenged emotionally, then you should definitely read Taming The Beast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The power of the taming of the beast, 14 July 2012
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) (Paperback)
Taming the beast is the most disturbing book I have ever read. Part of me wished I had not started it and yet I am left thinking I am more enlightened for having read it. It started quite tame, the sex was not what I would call explicit, but the references to fluids and vomit can be nauseating. What is enthralling about this book is that you get to understand her obsession. Her problems with addiction are highlighted throughout; sex, cigarettes, drugs. The story is tragic, Sarah from a young age learns that love is about completely giving of everything, body soul - submitting to be abused. She confuses the fear and strong infatutation she held for Mr Carr as love and thusly it consumes her, absolutely. She believes that Mr Carr's mistreatment of her demonstrates his overflowing desire for her, his need to make her his to the point of her near destruction. She feels the same for him; she does not care about life or death or anything - as a drug addict becomes. (There are many parallels drawn between her obsession and a drug addict) Throughout you are left longing for her to come out of this coma, for her to take control of her life. It is incredibly painful to read about a beautiful, intelligent and brave girl being utterly destroyed - and for her to prolong it, want for it. Taming of the beast gives a deep psychological recount of a case of stockholm syndrome, and intriguingly how others around the sufferer react to it. I read this book in one day, near without stopping except to take breath and try to calm my anger, or pain, or to cry. I had to finish the book so there would be an end, so that it would not haunt me! This book is definately not for the faint hearted, it is very painful to read, nauseating, depressing, saddening - but wholly intoxicatingly powerful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating., 12 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) (Paperback)
I was absolutely captivated by this book.
It is a raw and honest portrayal of an obsessive, possessive and destructive relationship. I think that Emily Maguire did a beautiful job in writing the story with such realism, showing how two people can behave so violently and damagingly towards each other as an unfortunate byproduct of the extremity of their feelings for each other, even if it is at times shocking and unnerving.
This novel powerfully demonstrated the depths to which a harrowingly intense love can sink. It made me angry, it made me hurt, it made me cry and any writer who can evoke such strong emotions through their words deserves serious credit in my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book you'll love to hate..., 8 April 2010
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Nicola F (Nic) (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) (Paperback)
This book was disturbing from the off and it took me a long time to decide whether or not I actually liked it. I didn't like the subject matter itself of course- destructive, sexually perverse, violent relationships (starting with a teacher seducing his high school student)- but it was well written and certainly compelling and that encouraged me to keep reading.

I'm glad I stuck with it. By the time I finished it I realised that whilst I hated the main protagonist, Sarah and was more than frustrated with her best friend Jamie, who literally cries *every* time he appears, it was most definitely an enlightening insight into obsessive destructive relationships and the damage they can do both to those involved in the relationship itself and the people around them.

Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely worth reading, 19 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) (Paperback)
I read this a few months ago and have since passed it on to two other people. One friend gave it back to me after a few pages, not liking the explicit sexual content, but the other friend, like me, loved it and finished the book within hours. I found the main protagonists strangely likeable; Sarah because she fully takes responsibility for her own behaviour and does not make excuses, and Daniel because he is driven to pursue what he really wants and can't be held back by other peoples' opinions and standards. The result, for him, is devastating. Because Sarah is younger, I ended the novel feeling that she could and would move on ... whereas he seems 'finished' and broken by the experience. The other main character, Jamie, I found to be unbearably 'wet' and I thought that the final episode in his story was very badly handled by the author - it seemed like a particularly 'purple' episode in a bad soap opera. I also thought that the 'literary' conversations between the two lovers were dire - these supposed grand intellectuals sounded as if they'd struggle to read a 'Pass Your GCSE study guide', let alone read the real thing. If I'd been the author, I'd have left these out. I did find the final paragraph stunning, however. The novel is certainly not to everyone's taste- because of the subject matter - and if you don't want to read about explicit and violent sex, then give this a wide berth. Also, if you imagine this will offer a comfortingly moralistic treatment of very sexual behaviour; it won't - steer clear. However, if you can forgive the odd cliche here and there, this is absolutely worth reading - the characters are unconventional, the sex is erotic and the novel will certainly make you think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll read it again, and again...and again., 11 Dec 2007
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Sl Dawson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) (Paperback)
When I first picked up this book, I thought ' Yeah this looks good'. An interesting, excitable, somewhat saucy read. One to read before bed. I was wrong. This book dosent tell a story. It reaches into your heart, it messes with your mind, it makes you forget to eat, it makes you think. The protagonist, Sarah Clarke, has a way of controlling the reader as much as she controls the other characters in her life. You become Her. Connected. This book leaves you open mouthed, shocked, disguested...Yet somewhat relatable. If you want a read that you wont want to lend to your friends for fear of never seeing the book again, or a read that'll provoke you to pick up its crumpled pages time after time, this is it. A classic. A memorable, thought provoking, potent classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-hitting and ultimately depressing, 9 April 2007
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) (Paperback)
Sarah Clark's life is changed when, at fourteen, she has an affair with her English teacher. Their affair is passionate but brutal. When Daniel Carr's wife finds out that he is having an affair, the family moves out of the city.

What follows if Sarah's destructive cycle to try and find a relationship that has the same meaning for her as the one with Mr Carr.

At times this novel feels uncomfortably voyeuristic, watching someone self-destruct. This can be incredibly unpleasant in places, butI think also reflects on the quality of the writing. At times, I felt like grabbing hold of Sarah and shaking her, but ultimately it made me think about power and control and how cruel people can be to one another.

This book has a high sexual content and should be avoided if you are easily offended!

Wonderful, yet painful and depressing. I think her other novel 'The Gospel According to Luke' deals with some of the same themes, but with much more subtlety.
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Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback)
Taming the Beast (Five Star Paperback) by Emily Maguire (Paperback - 8 Mar 2007)
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