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Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan

Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan had me considering the logistics of an orgy, squirming in my reading chair and once more wondering whether I see myself completely or perhaps not at all in a book about a success-hungry and horny young woman just trying her best.


Clad in fluro orange with a byline I simply could not ignore, I knew I had to start reading Insatiable the minute I had it in my hands. Endorsements from Dolly Alderton and Emma Jane Unsworth told me I was in safe (sexual) hands. Insatiable is “a love story for greedy girls,” so as its target market I was ready to be drowned in descriptions of sex parties and seduction.



Violet is working a dead-end job, yearning for something bigger every day. She is broken-hearted and plain broke with no best friend to lean on as she is now an estranged best friend. Violet thought her life would be more than this. The exact type of more she is offered by Lottie, the image of a woman Violet has always wanted to be. The paths that lead to business and pleasure unwittingly cross and Violet quickly realizes they might be one and the same—and her only chance at a grand life. Seduction, sex, and serious job prospects await Violet as she must decide if Lottie and the life she offers is the more she always wanted. Will she finally feel satisfaction she has been so desperately seeking?


I was instantly drawn in by Buchanan’s writing, it felt utterly accessible and it hits the exact tone that indicates our narrator has a brain but she just sometimes chooses not to use it (same). With the perfect amount of self deprecating humor that is simultaneously coated in a sound amount of self assurance, Insatiable has many lines that readers can easily relate to despite being completely out of the ballpark of our main character, Violet’s, context.


“I’m the human version of a smudged, crumpled maths exam paper. The results are never quite right, but at least I’m showing my working.”

Okay maybe I’m being a bit dramatic to suggest that being single as fuck, feeling abandoned by your friends, not being within reach of career ambitions and desperate for some satisfying sex is a completely unheard of context. The point I am trying to make here is that if the narrator and the readers think alike, it is easy to understand and sympathize with a plight, however different to our own as they stand. In this—not so—new wave of books that unpack the young female experience, an experience that goes against the common grain of what society (the patriarchy) defines as the life of a young woman, I think common language and humility are essential elements that attract and retain readers. We find commonality in the way we think about the world, not always just how we exist in it. There is no one way to be a young woman but I think a main feature (obviously apart from all the dirty delicious sex and self reflection) that draws readers back to books like this is the way they read. It makes you go damn I wish I could have written this, but I’m not mad because I’m glad to be reading it.


“Is Princess Leia really Princess Leia unless she’s been chained to Jabba the Hutt?”

The number one question that plagued my mind for every single page of this book is would I ever participate in an orgy and why. I think my simple answer is yes because why not? But things are never just simple. (I did pose this question to my Close Friends on Instagram and with a sample size of around 60 respondents the results sat at 32% hell yes and 68% polite pass).



The situation Violet finds herself in is one that will place her within reach of her utopia. What lengths would you go to if you know your dream job, no, dream life was within reach? Plus the people that are trying to give it to you are lovely and generous and care for you the way no one else has before. You’d be stupid not to take the hand that is trying to feed you. Ah my hypocritical bones are quaking as I write that sentence because as per usual I sit on a high horse of moral superiority—well not really but kind of. From the safety of my bedroom I like to think I would see through the façade but let’s be real, we all know I wouldn’t. However, I am a hermit who never puts herself out there so I doubt this is a situation I’d never have to ponder beyond this review. In saying all that, I’ll break my thoughts down for you simply here: would I have an orgy, yes probably. If said orgy was a condition of a career prospect, probably not. I say that from a position of comfortability, I like my job and am not absolutely desperate to move onto something else so it is not a risk I would need to take. Buchanan really unfolds the complexities of life and how nothing is ever as simple as throwing your hands and saying “fine I’ll join your sex party and it will be completely uncomplicated forever.” Complications are inevitable, whether they be in grandeur or otherwise and I enjoy the way Buchanan unpacks both ends of the scale with similar importance. While deciding whether to sleep with your potential bosses is going to help or hinder your job prospects is important, so is picking the right outfit. Every decision we make is a piece of the collage that in turn is a whole picture.


“This might just be the way the world works for people who run it.”

Now that we have discussed the why of the orgies I want to touch on (is that a pun) the how. I don’t mean the birds and the bees chat but rather the rules of engagement when it comes to group sex. I think it is tricky to navigate and little easter eggs of this pop up at times throughout the novel. It isn’t a new thought to theorize that the patriarchy perpetuates that women exist for the pleasure and whatever the fuck else for men. This isn’t true, obviously. But when it comes to the politics of an orgy I find it really interesting to consider how these ideas continue to play a role in open sexual experimentation. I personally don't know how to feel about the rules of engagement when it comes to straight men in orgies. I really know how else to put it. If bisexual, gay or fluid identifying women (in this case) are participating in an orgy for their own pleasure but are simultaneously being objectified for a straight male’s pleasure I struggle to see the balance in that transaction. Is it a symbiotic relationship because everyone gets their rocks off in the end? Or do women have to make an extra sacrifice to that of the straight man the name of their own pleasure?


Buchanan explores these ideas and questions naturally, the way anyone would, not impressing a certain answer but giving enough to allow the reader to ponder and draw their own conclusions as I have. Violet’s considerations feel like they could have been my own and I enjoy when books give me the space to think my own thoughts, not drown in theirs.


“There is something deeply arousing about objectifying myself.”

Insatiable had me feeling exactly that, in the best kind of way. It gave me so much to ponder. Whether I did so through a fun Instagram poll with my friends or through serious considerations around my personal rules of engagement when it comes to sex, these thoughts were never enough, I wanted to wonder about more. Insatiable absolutely is a love story for greedy girls; we will always be hungry for more—a girl’s gotta eat.


Insatiable

By Daisy Buchanan

337 pages. 2021.


Buy it now it now from our Bookshop in the UK.


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