Whip Smart is a memoir detailing the years the author spent as a dominatrix in New York City. Beyond the graphic descriptions of her sessions with clients, Melissa Febos delves into how her addiction to drugs and control led her into the profession. And it was only after realizing and accepting in some way that she enjoyed the power of being a dom, that she was eventually able to leave it behind.
The memoir is extremely well written and a quick read. Divided into parts it begins with the fantasy of how glamorous and financially rewarding it can be to work as a dominatrix, then moves into her drug abuse and acceptance that she has a problem, to her working as a sober dominatrix and, finally, to her life after she quits the profession . Power and control are the underlying themes throughout each section of the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciated that the author didn’t hold back on getting into the psychological aspect of not only what brought her into becoming a dom, but what brought her clients there. The idea that these submissive/masochistic sessions are a type of therapy for people to work out issues with their exes, their mother’s, their bosses…makes it all quite fascinating for anyone interested in why people do the things they do.