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Taming the Beast Paperback – 4 Aug 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New Ed edition (4 Aug. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852428961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852428969
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.4 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,497,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

?I was very impressed by Taming the Beast? Without being prurient, Maguire heads into extraordinarily dark psychosexual territory, withholding any easy answers? Independent ?It?s a bleak, uneasy book, albeit powerfully written. It is also shockingly compelling? The Observer Magazine ?An uncompromising look at sex, desire and unrequited love... Carefully narrated, this is a brilliant meditation on sex and power? City Life

Book Description

It was never just sex... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback
The front blurb of the book says: "Dark, sexual... brutally honest" and I think that is mostly true. However, I can be brutally honest myself I guess and say that after finishing this book last night, I put it down with a sigh of relief.

The protaganist, Sarah Clark, gets seduced by her teacher - although we do learn that she pretty much knows what is going on and is certainly not a resisting partner at the age of 14 - and, when he leaves, she goes on what I can only describe as a continual destructive cycle... while always believing she is 'searching for the lost feeling' of deep love and need.

About a quarter of the way through the book I started to lose any sympathy I had for this 'crazy' girl / woman... it's amazing to read and learn about how off the rails someone can go - but you usually expect it to be short-lived, as you would hope people would recover or see sense or take it to the end and do away with themselves... not Sarah - what follows is around 8 years of treating her few friends like crap (or sex objects), being mauled in public by purported friends, group sex with ice hockey teams, buggery in dark alleyways by semi-comatose drunks and rough sex held hard up against dumpster bins while all the bin stuff is going in her mouth!

Sarah Clark came across to me as being immature, needy, selfish and self-engrossed. She initiates the majority of the situations she finds herself in, so deserves our contempt rather than our sympathy. I couldn't figure out why the blokes that knew her - Jamie and Mike - still were involved. This girl is way too much trouble and I find it hard to believe someone so caught in an obsessive behaviour cycle could cause it in others.

When her teacher returns...
Read more ›
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