★★★★ 3.5 disturbingly fascinating stars!
Taming the Beast was a deeply disturbing, fascinating, haunting, sad, unforgettable and beautifully written story. From the moment I started reading it, I could not put it down. The author managed to both impress me and disgust me with certain scenes and descriptions and to say that I "enjoyed" reading this book does not sound quite right. What I would say though is that it made me think and it made me FEEL all the different emotions the main characters where going through, even though I couldn't exactly relate to them, and THAT in my opinion is always the telltale sign of a good book.
It's definitely a book that manages to leave an impression and that will stay with me for a very long time.
I will not go into to much detail about the storyline because that would ruin your reading experience. This story is basically about a bright, young girl who falls in love with the wrong person. From there on out her life pretty much takes a nosedive and she lands on a destructive path that may or may not become her downfall. I should warn you though that the story starts out with a fourteen year old girl Sarah who gets seduced by her thirty eight year old teacher, Mr. Daniel Carr, and ends up having an affair with him. Then, when his wife finds out, he leaves his teaching position and moves his family to another state. That's when Sarah's left feeling heartbroken because she'd actually fallen in love with Mr. Carr. Eight destructive years later, they meet again and realize that their passion for and obsession with each other only seems to have grown over the years.
If ever there were people completely and utterly obsessed with each other it would be Sarah and Daniel. They were constantly in a battle of wills. Apart, the two of them are still somewhat "normal", but together they're simply out of control. Some quotes to clarify my point: (view spoiler)[
"However," he said, touching the back of her hand with his fingertips, "there is nothing about you that doesn't turn me on. If becoming aroused while you describe your bloodies thighs makes me sick and depraved, then God help me, I'm sick and depraved."
"I insist that you stop."
"You don't get to insist anything." He slammed his fist into the boarded-up window, then turned back to face her. "You think you have the power, but you don't. I can take you any time I choose, just pick you up and carry you home and tie you up. You'll see no one but me forever, until you die."
"But it's so much fun. Your skin breaks too easily though. I hardly have to try to make you bleed."
"I haven't even had a chance to hurt you. I resent your undamaged skin." Sarah held her smoldering cigarette over his tigh. "May I?"
"It's no good if you ask permission, Sarah."
She pushed the cigarette into his flesh and held her breath, while inches away, his cock stiffened. Apart from his erection, Daniel did not react at all.
"Sarah knew she would never leave him. Not because she was afraid he would kill himself -that threat was more irritating than frightening- but because even when he was being a manipulative, cruel, psychotic bastard; even when he had a dirty streak of blood across his throat; even when he was threatening her and his face was ugly with cruelty; even then, she wanted him and loved him and couldn't stop herself from telling him this. Even when he pressed the rose thorns into her body and slammed her head into the floor and called her a fickle little fool, she couldn't say anything except Yes."
I actually felt sorry for Sarah and the way the men in her life used her. Her life was truly miserable even though I felt like she could have done something about it and changed it for the better. I want to applaud the author for making this feel like such a "light read" while the actual content was so utterly depressing. Although I felt uncomfortable and frustrated at times while reading this book, I loved the author's descriptive writing style and I think she did an amazing job at writing a highly unique debut novel. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of her work in the future!
"But then, life is a constant withering of possibilities. Some are stolen with the lives of people you love. Others are let go, with regret and reluctance and deep, deep sorrow. But there is compensation for lives unloved in the joy of knowing that the life you have - right here, right now - is the one you have chosen. There is power in that, and hope."