Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On "Secretary" by Mary Gaitskill (6060 words) *****

Some of you may be familiar with the movie Secretary, which came out about five years ago. That film is an erotic love story involving S&M. The brainchild for the film, however, was Gaitskill's story of the same name, but the direction that the two works take is decidedly different. The movie is a romance. The story is goes in the direction we would more likely expect--a certain disgust with the actions of the boss. What makes it compelling, however, is the main character who, as in the movie, seems turned on by her boss's actions. But here it isn't simplified. Here, the girl's interest is offset by her own uncertain feelings about herself and her life, her own lack of confidence. The ending, as one might expect, is very different from the movie. Gaitskill's work revels in these awkward situations created by our own untoward desires. Not surprisingly, this story is in a collection called Bad Behavior. Read the story here at Nerve.


Anonymous said...

After watching "Secretary" twice, I realized on the second viewing, that this story is nearly a duplicate of the book one, "Fifty Shades of Grey"> Is the writer the same person for both stories?

Short Story Reader said...

No, not even close. Gaitskill is a master storyteller, and the movie based on the short story isn't anything like the story. The movie turns what is a disturbing story of sexual victimhood into one of sexual titillation. Read the story.