Dirty Laundry (A Tucker Springs Novel)

Dirty Laundry - Heidi Cullinan **Updated review. Full review on my webpage.I read a lot of romances that contain BDSM. I suppose one reason is that a relationship that contains BDSM is one that includes everything that a vanilla one does — plus a lot more complexity and nuances. For example, some relationships might live without trust, but a BDSM one cannot. I love reading about the dynamics within the lifestyle, how individuals who find their life, physically and psychologically better because of it.Which brings me to Dirty Laundry , by Heidi Cullinan. The novel focuses on the issues of Depression, Anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and how that affects one’s life, friends, family, career, and sexual relationships. I have no idea whether there are any significant benefits between BDSM lifestylers and these disorders, I certainly am not a doctor or psychologist. Yet, by how this author lays out the two main characters I must conclude that it works for them. Basic Plot: Adam (nerdy dude) is saved by a hunky cowboy named Denver when accosted in the laundromat by some drunk frat boys. Hot sex ensues and a relationship develops, but both men bring a lot of “dirty laundry” to the table. Can they overcome their own problems and accept that the other is just the right support they need? What I liked: The first strong point within this book is Heidi Cullinan’s writing. I have not read many of her books, but I will certainly look up more now. It is often difficult to understand a disorder until you can get into “the mind” of the person. Remember all of those cop shows where they always talk about “getting into the mind of the killer”? Yes, it sounds cheesy, but in this case, we really do need to get into the mind of Adam, so that we can experience what he experiences. I am not sure how Heidi has knowledge of panic attacks, but having suffered from them before myself, she nailed them on the head.The second strong point within this book is the writing of the BDSM scenes. They seemed realistic and intense. I hate when I read a book that has a “50 Shades” lipstick view of BDSM that is too slick and too glossy. The scenes within Dirty Laundry allow us to see how both characters eventually open up, show honest emotion and need without any shame for it. Cullinan does such a good job of showing how the structure and control of submission actually could help Adam calm his anxiety, as well as fulfill the need that Denver had within himself to be dominant and in control. The urge to submit to Denver begins to overtake the need to submit to the voice of his OCD.She also shows how some outsiders see the bruises and marks, not as badges of courage and marks of possession, but rather as abuse. She shows how responsible Adam and Denver are in discussing the relationship and play in a safe and consensual manner. Conclusion: In life, very little things are perfect. When we want to read a book for escapism, we often search for topics that are foreign to our own lives. So reading a book where the characters are fallible and have their own issues on the surface seems counterintuitive. After all, why would reading about two men with mental disorders cheer the reader?Obviously I am not saying that BDSM will save anyone from OCD and cure them, certainly that is not what Cullinan is suggesting. For example, Adam is still on medicine, he has supportive friends, a supportive partner, and he continues to go to therapy. However, there is no doubt to me, that the dominant/submissive nature of Adam and Denver’s relationship helps Adam rather than the destructive nature of his previous relationship with Brad. This book is really about how each individual can prevail over their own problems, and still find a healthy relationship that supports them, not tear them down. And if these guys, with their such heavy burdens can make it work, well hell, we certainly can find happiness and love.I adore this book, it provided just enough sex and kink to make it interesting, but it also provided quality writing and substance so that my intellect could sink her teeth in and come away with a message. This book is more than just a kinky romance book. I admire the author for her ability to write about a complex disorder and about a lifestyle that most would find disturbing and demonstrate how powerfully positive it can be.Great book!Bea