Review: Wounded by Ben Burgess Jr

Wounded ReviewSet in New York City, headliner stripper Samantha is a player – and she’s gay, beautiful, black and out. Seducing women all around her is her main pleasure in life, whether they are straight, bi or gay. But she can’t forget the abuse from childhood that rules her sexuality.

Dancing on stage felt second nature to me. As a child, I was forced to do so many horrible acts that dancing with my clothes off as a profession felt natural.

This very erotic women’s fiction is written by a man, Ben Burgess Jr, author of Monster, which told the tale of a womanizer. In Wounded, he turns this on its head to become Samantha, a lesbian dancer, who tells her story in time-jumping segments. It’s pretty juicy stuff with extremely detailed sexual description, and it’s hard to say exactly what gender or sexuality would go for this type of book the most.

While it captures a lesbian scene in New York that I have had some dalliance with, some of Burgess’ descriptions seem a little hard-hitting for gay women – although admittedly these sorts of tough bitches do exist. And boy, it’s bitchy. Mixing gay women in with the world of stripping is exhausting! Burgess must have researched strippers and their lifestyles, and there is a true-to life vibe in the writing – the kind that can only exist from knowing your subject matter intimately and observing these sorts of women in order to capture their language and vibe. He also plays the race card well – and not too much, with little jabs that made me giggle, like this exchange between Samantha and a white client’s wife, as she skirts around trying to find the right word to use politely,

“My husband Marcus, wanted to find a nice ‘urban’ spot where we could both enjoy a beautiful woman. Our new driver, Tyrone, said he knew of a place that might interest us.”
“So, by ‘urban’ do you mean black?”
“Bluntly, yes. I’m attracted to women of color.”

The book is also well-edited, and Burgess has spent time with the cover to attract the right audience, which explains the good response to this book online. However, personally I am not a fan of mixing sexual abuse and rape with erotic sexual scenes. I have noticed many male writers are doing this lately as a kind of backlash to Fifty Shades-style fiction; but it’s not really sexy to me to mix the two, and in fact is pretty grim for me – as a woman, it was a bit raw. However, the other purpose of this juxtaposition is to show how abused Samantha was as a girl. I just wish it wasn’t back to back with sex scenes and strip club scenes as it all gets very overpowering. But that’s Burgess’ agenda I think, to have a very sexually charged book that concerns itself with Samantha’s sexual journey rather than any other story.

Samantha in real life would be an extremely high-octane person, and probably very difficult to get along with! But she does somewhat mellow out as she attends to the eponymous “wound” in therapy, and experiences a few life-changing events. The main thing is that Burgess’ characters are rounded with thoughts, dialogue and actions – and reactions of their own, unmistakable and sure, which makes his work stand out in the indie market today as a thoughtful, crafted writer.

A successful piece of writing albeit immensely sex-fueled!

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