This “autobiographical novel” concerns a young woman who follows her heart and ends up a near-prisoner trapped in a sexual subculture.
Juttee becomes smitten with a customer while working a restaurant job. He seduces her, and within two months she’s living with him and acting as a submissive or “bottom” in the BDSM scene, though she previously had no knowledge of the scene.
Gino helps Juttee find work as a fashion designer and model, but repayment takes the form of sexual exploitation and humiliations such as drinking water from a dog bowl. When the abuse crescendos in one scene, Juttee is rescued by another woman. She begins to recover and prepares to testify against Gino for the assault while apprenticing herself to a kinder master. As the story unfolds, it is a bumpy ride for our protagonist, all in all.
For the Love of Service is interesting, not least of all because the notion that it is autobiographical adds to our investment in the character. If this recounts a decade in the life of a real young woman, her tenacity and resilience are noteworthy. However, there are a few glitches regarding the writing.
Quotation marks and capitalization are applied inconsistently throughout, which can be distracting and confusing. There’s also a large amount of repetitive day-to-day detail. Every workout, client meeting, shower, dinner out and sexual encounter is captured, when in many cases, one would be enough to establish the concept in readers’ imaginations.
The author offers glimpses of power dynamics in Juttee’s relationships that are provocative and thought-provoking, but it’s a struggle to separate them from the endless cataloging of details. Service is not just another Fifty Shades of Gray; it’s a powerful story. But it needs further work to effectively connect with readers.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.