BOOK REVIEW: Push the Button, by Feminista Jones

by Sian Irvine

About the Author: Feminista Jones is a self described post-modern, sex-positive, Black feminist woman. The result is a highly intriguing, highly intelligent lady who commands you to not only listen, but stand up and make yourself count.

About the Book: (from www.feministajones.com)
Nicole and David are two 30-something, professional, Black Americans chasing their dreams and accomplishing their goals while investing in a romantic future together. On the surface, they appear to be just like any other couple—they travel, work hard, and spend quality time with family and friends. Behind their masks, David and Nicole live an erotic, intense dynamic based on the complements of domination and submission and the peaks of pain and pleasure known as “The Life”. They have their boundaries, they play by the rules, and they seek to ascend to the highest level of connection a couple can achieve by indulging in their deepest fantasies and exploring the darkest corners of their minds.

Life for the couple is not without obstacles, however. What happens when a force from the past threatens to destroy everything David and Nicole have built together? Can their devotion to each other withstand the trials they are forced to endure? Push The Button explores a side of the BDSM Lifestyle that often goes ignored—the “normalcy”. Like any other couple, these two have their ups and downs, and they must decide if their love is enough to keep them together. Follow Nicole and David as they love each other, struggle together, and grow in their powerful connection.

The Ultravenus Review: Initially, it took me a while to get into Push the Button. Having been sent a copy blind, with no idea of content- just a keen interest into the words and wisdom of author Feminista Jones, I was entirely unsure of what to expect. When I started reading, I was immediately launched into what seemed to be a “50 Shades of Grey”-esque novel- admittedly, not something I had had much interest in the first time round. However, I persevered.
What I found, in fact, was an insightful, delicately written insight into the world of sub/Dom relationships, from the perspective of People of Colour. As a White female, and someone who had never so much explored BDSM literature let alone anything further, I decided to use the experience to expand my own knowledge and understanding, broaden my horizons, make myself a better feminist, ally, and person.
When I committed to the book, and overcame the initial hurdle for myself which was the primary subject matter of BDSM, I found myself totally hooked, and finished the whole thing in a day. The characters were believable, complex, and left me with a crazy desire to explore the depth, the significance of “The Life” to their own lives and how it shaped them.
One of the most striking and important things addressed in the book by Jones is the difference between an abusive relationship, and a BDSM one. To those not in the know (such as myself) the differences may, at first, seem few and far between- if at all. This makes the whole world of BDSM seem extremely alien and scary. I found myself learning as I read the book, however, that they are two different things entirely. I learnt about the love and respect that is a vital aspect of BDSM relationships, the importance of trust, and how massively this factors in to BDSM relationships. I learnt how if this love and trust is not present, then and only then is abuse a relevant concern. This is such an important lesson to learn, and I feel the book is worth reading if only to understand this differentiation by the end.
As a white female, I was very aware of my own privileges as I read the book and was determined to not let these mask my interpretations of the story, but rather to try and use the story to help further myself as a person and learn how to be a better ally to POC. It is made quite clear throughout the book that the story is a space for POC, and I feel very much that it is in no way my place to invade this. However, I did not feel in any way that the story was written to exclude White people, and I really did enjoy it hugely. As a Feminist, the book was massively important to my personal development, as it helped me to understand, from the perspective of the characters, how there absolutely is space for Feminists in the BDSM community. It helped to educate me in an area which often becomes misinterpreted in contemporary culture.
If there is one thing that is guaranteed to grip me in a story, it is a twist. Now, whilst I am wary to talk to much about this here for fear for giving it away, I will say that the twist created by Jones in Push the Button is absolutely gut wrenching. The build up is carefully structured around the story in the “present”, the past, snippets of online conversation, all carefully interwoven into the story of the characters lives as it unfolds around us. For a BDSM novice such as myself, there is no mystery left by Jones as to what an intrinsic facet of the characters lives their relationship is. This makes the intensity of the characters’ love, desire, attraction and lust that we are all familiar with in a healthy relationship all the more intense and powerful, leaving us, the reader, desperate to absorb more.
My one criticism of the book is that, compared to the delicate structure of most of the book, the ending felt a little rushed. I desperately wanted more, panicking as I neared the end of the book, wondering how on earth the story was going to reach a satisfying conclusion in only a few pages. I wanted more detail, more time spent telling every aspect of the situation which surely was not going to end well. Whilst this was undoubtedly acheived- i did not feel the end of the book was lacking in any way at all- it just made me desperate to delve further into the lives of the characters. Could there be a sequel? I hope so.

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