Things have gotten worse... by Eric LaRocca
So “Things…” was a book I had waited for, and couldn’t wait to dive into as the first novella to read on my Holiday in Italy. A beach, a sunbed, great company, and this nasty creature of a book. Sounds like my kind of ideal date.
Eric has written the story of Agnes and Zoe in the epistolary form – as a series of emails and transcribed chat room conversations. The book presents itself as clarification of evidence to the ongoing trial of Zoe, after the tragic death of Agnes. So straight away, Eric sets up the tainted love tragedy, you already have a gut feeling that, not only is this all going to go south but that it’s going to do so spectacularly. And there, dear future reader is the genius of Mr. LaRocca. The absolute certainty of that end result makes reading the book a twisted form of its own voyeurism and longing for things to go bad. The reader is caught in a self-fulfilling loop – by wanting to see that end, we crave for it, and that craving helps us understand the most basic of self-destructive relationships, dominator and submissive.
I won’t go into the setup of how we get to where it all starts to go wrong, let’s instead get to the meat of the issue – is the hype and reputation of the book deserved?
This is a nasty, dirty, wonderful degenerative book. It gets under your skin but makes you want to read on. A couple of times I said out loud “oh no.” with regard to Agnes’ actions/reactions. With that unavoidable ending lurking in the future that Eric places firmly in the mind of the reader, the increasing manipulation and degradation we go through to bring the characters to the inescapable conclusion just becomes this rotten attainment of “pleasure”. Eric does a masterful job of highlighting the core failure of any dominative/submissive relationship – that both sides of that relationship concentrate solely on their own uneven side of the relationship – nullifying their own needs by completing their partners.
Not sure what I mean? (Ok, but this is perhaps just my take on it all:)
A dominator has absolute power over a submissive, by the nature of their agreement, but to remain true to that relationship, they have to keep dominating the submissive in more and more extreme ways – the appearance of power is only maintained by their ability to abuse that power, to degrade the submissive more and more, and the more a submissive accepts that degradation, the more frustrated a dominator becomes – the submissive is feeling more empowered the more they allow themselves to be controlled. They feel “completed”, the reward is worth the risk. And that, by its very nature, goes against what a dominator actually wants – to withhold things from their submissive, to control their pleasure.
We are as caught to the flame of LaRocca’s book as the proverbial moth, we can neither deter our attention nor stop entirely, the book demands you read it, devour it as quickly as possible. Nothing less – because we need it to be over.
The concept is brilliant. The presentation is phenomenal. The voice is flawless.
This was a magnificent start to my holiday. Thank you, Eric. 5 out of 5 ⭐’s
P.S. The cover is in my top ten covers of 2021.
You can buy THINGS HAVE GOTTEN... (American Amazon version), HERE.
You can visit Eric's website HERE.
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You can find Eric on Facebook, HERE.
You can find Eric on Instagram, HERE.