Hi everyone! Back in January when I was seeing my lovely bookish community on Twitter discussing all their most anticipated releases for 2021 I felt slightly left out. Besides Klara and the Sun I had no books I was REALLY looking forward to. Then, as I was scrolling through the Waterstones website and a free £10 to spend I came across Insatiable by Daisy Buchannan. I read the blurb and felt that it might be similar to Boy Parts, a book I read the very end of 2020 and loved. Therefore I had one more book to add to my most anticipated reads.
Taken from blurb:
Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend, Violet’s life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more – better friends, better sex, a better job – and she wants it now. So, when Lottie – who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up – offers Violet a chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives. Seduced by their townhouse, their expensive candles and their Friday-night sex parties, Violet cannot tear herself away from Lottie, Simon or their friends. But is this really the more Violet yearns for? Will it grant her the satisfaction she is so desperately seeking?
There are a lot of parties in this book. From the very first page, Violet foreshadows her doubt at entering the wild world of Lottie and Simon. Violet meets Lottie in the very first chapter and is quickly scooped up into a group of middle aged women and men who meet for dinner parties which move quickly from food, which often remains uneaten, and onto sex. Buchanan’s depictions of group sex are frequent. The language used managed to remain sensual for the most part and never veers off into cringe, fan-fiction like sex scenes. What is interesting is Violet’s depiction of a sexual female. She is constantly referred to as a millennial, a tag that (being a child of Gen Z myself) became irritating. The ‘adults’ around her seem much older when they discuss Violet, who is only 26, like she is a child. It was an awkward dynamic throughout the book. What made this dynamic cross into uncomfortable territory was the ‘after-care’ shown to Violet by Lottie and Simon in the beginning of their relationship. She is treated like their child. Of course we find out later that Lottie and Simon have lost a child, but even before this revelation Violet’s position in the relationship infantilises her. Once we learn of Lottie and Simon’s trauma their desire to place Violet in this position becomes uncomfortable, and her willingness and desire to be in that position made me question her character. She desires independence, or so she claims, and a better job but she never seems to want anything other than remaining in the Freudian set-up of the threesome.
One of the books more progressive aspects is the depiction of sex, regardless of gender. The sex parties include cis-gendered men and women and the women are shown to engage in sex with both the men and women around them. This opened up a nice narrative around what Violet truly wants from life. Her relationship with Lottie, and eventually Sasha, is much more emotional than any of the relationships she enters with men. It is the men around Violet who definitely are more problematic. From her ex-fiancé who sexually assaulted her, without him accepting it (big Trigger/Content warnings there), to Max who refuses to listen to the word np (again Trigger/Content warnings), and even Simon who has Violet keep secrets from Lottie. There is definitely a divide between ‘good’ females and ‘bad’ males in this book. Only the men cause Violet to question her place within the group, however Mimi and Lottie both treat her poorly. It was confusing why Violet was so fixated on Lottie. Besides the constant reminders she is gorgeous, Lottie came across nasty and controlling yet Violet never saw that. I guess that is the point but it turned uncomfortable.
The ending was a triumph. Reuniting with her best friend, being open about her sexual experiences and finally rejecting Lottie made the ending feel the book was complete. Buchanan tried to reach an open ending but I felt the book achieved what it needed to achieve and felt closure, safe with Violet in her new position.
Overall I gave the book 3 stars on The Story Graph. It was a quick, fast-paced, novel which I would recommend for people who liked Boy Parts, if only to compare the ways in which sex and sexuality are discussed. Violet’s motivations are what let the book down overall. She seems too aware and yet too ignorant of her situation at the same time which left her character feeling very confused. The supporting cast of characters was ok, nothing majorly disappointing but I wouldn’t find myself reaching out to re-read this book quickly.
Total Pages: 352, Publisher: sphere (2021), Author: Daisy Buchanan, TW/CW: sexual assault, sexual violence, graphic depictions of sex.