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‘He was about six feet tall slim and fit The eyes in the lean slightly tanned face were a very clear grey blue and as they observed the men they were cold and watchful His good looks had a dangerous almost cruel uality that had frightened me But now I knew he could smile I thought his face exciting in a way no face had ever excited me before ’Vivienne Michel is in trouble Trying to escape her tangled past she has run away to the American backwoods winding up at the Dreamy Pines Motor Court A far cry from the privileged world she was born to the motel is also the destination of two hardened killers—the perverse Sol Horror and the deadly Sluggsy Morant When a coolly charismatic Englishman turns up Viv in terrible danger is not just hopeful but fascinated Because he is James Bond 007; the man she hopes will save her the spy she hopes will love her

10 thoughts on “The Spy Who Loved Me

  1. says:

    B 74% | More than Satisfactory Notes James Bond deus ex machina incongruously stumbles à la television crossovers into a coming of age romance novel

  2. says:

    This book was a disgusting piece of shit Avoid at all costsWhat? You want details? Okay For one thing I have no idea what possessed Fleming to write a book from a female first person perspective He is a misogynist Trying to write from a female perspective when you barely acknowledge that women are human is problematic at bestIt seems as if his main aim was to use first person female perspective in order to write lurid and titillating to an asshole male reader scenes of sex from a woman's point of viewSo much sex is in this book and very very little of it is even resembling consensual The whole first third of the book is called Me and gives us all the history on our heroine Viv Michel Vivienne Fleming instead of describing her likes dislikes hobbies personality friends etc decides to give us an in detail rundown of her entire sexual historyIt's very disturbing I won't go into detail here but let's just say that from the age of 17 pretty Viv is constantly daily fighting off men's groping hands and sexual overtures She has two real lovers both of who are extreme assholes one guy who sees her on the side never ever telling her he's engaged to another woman and taking her on dates every Saturday while slowly going further and further with her until he talks her into giving her virginity to him which he doesn't even bother to do on a bed instead he takes her on the floor of a movie theater and of course they are caught and she is shamed and humiliated and called whore by the people in the theater Then he leaves her and never sees her again instead writing her a letter saying Oh by the way I'm engaged Nice knowing youHer second boyfriend isn't any better a German Hitler sympathizer who is really fucked up about sex He's engaged to another woman and tells Viv his employee and next door neighbor about every single sexual thing he does with his fiancee in graphic detail No mention of why Viv doesn't just tell him to shut up and keep it to himself He puts sex on a schedule twice a week and has all these rules about sex that I won't get into but it's weird And very creepyWhen his fiancee dumps him jeez I wonder why? he insists Viv must give him comfort After two weeks they are regularly having sex He's just as weird and messed up with her At no point does she try to tackle his sexual issues but instead just goes along with it Also he makes her stop drinking and smoking and she's no longer allowed to listen to jazzFinally she accidentally gets pregnant by him He immediately breaks up with her and sends her to Switzerland to get an all expenses paid abortion She is heartbroken but of course obeys and doesn't uestion him or say 'no' or make any decisions of her ownAfter the abortion she goes on a fun road trip from uebec to New York on her little motor scooter She is of course still fighting off men with a stick almost literally the whole way And this is not fun oh he's flirting with me I'm talking about this woman since she was 17 being seen as a sexual plaything by every man boss coworker neighbor hotel employee whatever It's so disgusting and disturbingSO She stops at this motel and the husband wife team say she can stay for free if she works as a receptionist She accepts the job even though the husband has fondled her breasts about three times in the 14 hours she's been there She works there ducking his groping hands every day and barring her door with a chair every night because he tries to rape her by breaking into her room every nightTHIS IS ALL TREATED AS IF IT IS JUST NORMAL As if this is exactly the life of a pretty girl and basically all she can expect I was practically projectile vomiting during this whole novel Don't even get me started on how Fleming describes the abortion RAGE RAGE RAGEAnyway The hideous couple leaves during the off season and Viv is left alone to tend for the motel There is a huge storm Two armed thugs break in Now we have to suffer through about 20 pages of them groping her threatening to rape her with very graphic language stripping her beating her into unconsciousness etc etc etc She valiantly fights against them and tries to escape numerous times but is always caught and brutally punished for it This makes it sound as if this is going on for days in fact this section represents only about five hours or so Then finally in the last third of the book James Bond shows up Just as the two were going to start raping her Nick of time right? He comes in looking for help he got a flat down the road and immediately gets the gist of the situation Long story short thugs die Viv goes to bed with JamesAnd that too is really problematic For one thing both Bond and Viv seem to just completely accept that she's his prize and basically his reward for saving her life is getting to have sex with her After her frankly horrible sexual past and her EXTREMELY recent sexual assault life and death situation you may think that she might not be feeling so romantic and sexy towards James Did I mention that she was earlier beaten into unconsciousness and is very bruised and sore?NONE OF THAT MATTERS Of course she has sex with James Of course she is instantly in love with him and attracted to him No need to recover from her ordeal no need to perhaps deal with the fact that her sexual history is traumatic and definitely no need to be gentle with her in bed seeing as she is PHYSICALLY HURT and in pain Fucking piece of shitAnd then we have this gem All women love semi rape They love to be taken It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly wonderfulAh yes the finally nail on the coffin from Fleming Bond is rough with her and forceful with her and doesn't really care about her pleasure in a way that strongly resembles rape if she weren't saying yes and proclaiming herself in love with him BUT THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE WOMEN LIKE RAPE Fleming informs us All women secretly want to be raped and owned That fighting and scratching and biting and trying to escape saying no and crying and stuff is just you know FOR SHOW Ignore all that it only makes sex exciting for the man and the woman who is secretly loving it Fleming has put this in a lot of his other novels too most notably the hideous FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVEI can't deal with this horrible book I JUST CAN'T DEAL WITH IT It's disgusting on so many levelsThis is extra sad because there are occasions when I enjoy Bond novels and Fleming CAN make James a halfway decent guy sometimes only halfway though However just when I was starting to enjoy the series and get into the swing of things he has to publish this shit I don't care whether you are a male or female reading this book it's not appealing at all Actually if I were a man I would be fucking insulted reading this book It's fucking insulting towards men tooAlright I've got to end this I could rant for hours but I won't DO NOT RECOMMEND STRONGEST ANTI RECOMMENDATIONETA And he leaves her James Bond leaves her to wake up alone in bed I hate when people do this Also there's a dead body outside her window the thug James killed last night Just leaves her there to wake up in a cold bed with a dead body right outside after what was one of the worst nights she'd had in her short life Real classy James you jerkETA 2 I do believe men can write good books from a female perspective It's definitely possible I've seen it However Fleming is not one of them I just want to make that clear The problem isn't that Fleming is a man it's that he's FlemingMOVIE UPDATE Well I must admit that I find all pre Craig movies boring I am just so bored The movie has nothing in common with the book except for the title The 'Bond girl' Anya was completely boring without personality or even many facial expressions Her tone was flat and listless Not that Moore's Bond is exactly a font of personality The best thing I can say about it and the only thing I enjoyed is that Moore acts the gentleman Even the villain was boring and forgettable in this movie And they give Moore the cheesiest lines I can't understand why any woman is sleeping with him to be honest I have no idea why she let Bond live in the end It made no senseI am not in the spirit of things I knowYou watched this movie growing up and because of that you are fond of it I knowJaws I knowPerhaps I should stop watching the films to accompany the books I'm not doing myself any favors that's for sure

  3. says:

    I WAS RUNNING away I was running away from England from my childhood from the winter from a seuence of untidy unattractive love affairs from the few sticks of furniture and jumble of overworn clothes that my London life had collected around me; and I was running away from drabness fustiness snobbery the claustrophobia of close horizons and from my inability although I am uite an attractive rat to make headway in the rat race In fact I was running away from almost everything except the lawThat is not a bad start for a book is it? It's intriguing It tells of a backstory that is about to be revealed and it foreshadows whatever else is going to happen whilst the character is on the run To be honest when I started the book I was really looking forward to reading this Not just because it was the beginning of another fun buddy read but also because I had not read The Spy Who Loved Me before I knew the film of course but the film I was advised bears no resemblance to the book Not even close So after a few decent Bond stories that followed the abysmally bad From Russia With Love I thought Fleming had maybe found his template That maybe From Russia With Love was him scraping the bottom of the barrel and that surely ANY other book had to be betterWell I was wrong I was so wrong Also when reviewing that hot mess that is From Russia With Love I did mention that it would have been helpful if Fleming had provided a bit insight into the internal monologue of the books female lead Yes I bemoaned that Fleming did not write any part from the female perspective Well folks it goes to show that I should be careful what I wish for because Fleming did exactly that in The Spy Who Loved Me and it does not work What Fleming gives us is Viv a young Canadian whom we again learn very little about other than she's been in some seriously messed up relationships Yes Fleming defines her through the relationships she's been in mostly being taken advantage ofWhat doesn't work about this is that Viv's own account is just dripping with Fleming's misogyny At one point he has her describe an abortion as follows It was as mentally distressing but as physically painless as I had expected and three days later I was back in my hotelThat is all Fleming has Viv say about it Doesn't sound convincing does it Fleming tries to sell her history as a tough backstory and which is supposed to set Viv up for a resolution to stop being a push over be confident and not be groped at every turn Well that was the end of that From now on I would take and not give The world had shown me its teeth I would show mine I had been wet behind the ears Now I was dry I stuck my chin out like a good little Canadian well a fairly good little Canadian and having learnt to take it decided for a change to dish it outSo Viv ends up on the run in rural New York stuck in a short term motel job where again she first falls prey to the husband of the owner and then ends up being held for five hours by two thugs who beat her up and threaten her with rape every five minutes And for a large chunk of the book this is all the plot there is Until Bond turns up and saves the day upon which Bond claims Viv as his reward Let's recap Viv had just undergone severe beatings rape and death threats and the one thing on Bond's mind is to have sex with herThe idiotic thing well another one is that Viv who previously had resolved to escape from abusive relationships feels she had to go along with Bond's reuest But I knew in my heart that I had to He would go on alone and I would have to too No woman had ever held this man None ever would He was a solitary a man who walked alone and kept his heart to himself He would hate involvement I sighed All right I would play it that way I would let him go I wouldn’t cry when he did Not even afterwards Wasn’t I the girl who had decided to operate without a heart? Silly idiot Silly infatuated goose This was a fine time to maunder like a girl in a woman’s magazine I shook my head angrily and went into the bedroom and got on with what I had to doWTF??? Why???This is the point in the book when I no longer asked myself if Fleming lost his mind but whether he had one in the first place And as if this wasn't sick enough it actually got worse I think I know why I gave myself so completely to this man how I was capable of it with someone I had met only six hours before Apart from the excitement of his looks his authority his maleness he had come from nowhere like the prince in the fairy tales and he had saved me from the dragon But for him I would now be dead after suffering God knows what before He could have changed the wheel on his car and gone off or when danger came he could have saved his own skin But he had fought for my life as if it had been his own And then when the dragon was dead he had taken me as his reward In a few hours I knew he would be gone – without protestations of love without apologies or excuses And that would be the end of that – gone finished All women love semi rape They love to be taken It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly wonderfulSeriously what utter bullshit I have not felt so nauseated and enraged by a book sinceFrom Russia With Love I had hoped Fleming got his act together in the books that followed but clearly he was a leopard that could not change his spots which is a shame because the premise of the book was great It is just that a misogynist dumbass writing from a point of view he has no interest in understanding or even exploring will inevitably end up with a book full of misogynist dumbasseryAvoid at all costs

  4. says:

    This is a story unlike any other in Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels – a first person narrative told from the perspective of a young woman who is rescued by BondAkin to the short story “uantum of Solace” this is not really a Bond story in that it is instead an examination of the Bond myth peripherally told by a witness to his acts Vivienne Michel is a young French Canadian with a troubled past who finds herself caught up in a crime scene in the Adirondacks 007 happens along and in sterling Bond fashion does what he does bestFleming was perhaps stretching his narrative muscles and demonstrating that he was not just a one trick pony His writing from this perspective is fresh and vibrant and while it is not a Bond story in the sense that fans are accustomed it is a good story in its own right and it shows how good a writer was Fleming

  5. says:

    “It was like a miracle to suddenly see him here out of the blue” –Vivian speaking of James BondThe Spy Who Loved Me 1963 is the tenth book in Ian Fleming’s spy thriller series featuring James Bond except this one doesn’t feature Bond Spy is a departure from any approach he ever took before in that it is 1 his initial first person account and one 2 told from the perspective of a woman If you know Sean Connery’s Bond the Bond of the movies could you believe a movie with Bond in iy might focus on the perspective of one of the women he meets? Maybe Having read the novels featuring Bond the largely misogynist mouthpiece for the misogynist author ie Pussy Galore Octopussy and so on having heard Fleming’s Bond’s disdain for women unless he can bed one of them for a short time of course can we imagine a successful Fleming novel from a woman’s perspective?Nope But hey let’s consider it for a minute Fleming has created a few strong women in his books women with various spy skills some very smart and some physically powerful though they are always ultimately secondary to Bond and their skills are always secondary to their beauty They are always beautiful and usually shallow and good in bed which is why so many men seem to like them including me at times I'll admit especially as a teen In this book 23 of the time is focused on two failed relationships of Vivian a rich and shallow person; she's basically taken advantage of sexually by two men who use her and desert her Vivian is sick of men; we sympathize with her This is not a Bond story not a thriller but okay good if you just want a story about a rich girl on her own I guessVivian decides to buy a Vespa and go on a road trip to see America; on the route south from New England she works in a motel and is taken hostage by two American gangsters Sol Horror and Sluggsy Morant ugh those names reminiscent of typical American noir thugs who again two jerksmen terrorize and brutalize her; again we sympathize with her as a woman in peril And then out of the blue and into the motel walks Bond who has a blown tire needs a place to sleep and uickly rescues Viv and with whom within six hours—she falls deeply into love with “the ideal male” with whom she has sex with once before he leaves for good Traumatized and used by men throughout the book Vivian understands that Bond also will leave her that he is solitary needs no one but he is still for some inexplicable reason ideal for her her hero in the same way damsels in distress fall in love with their knights in shining armor“I would stay away from him and leave him to go his own road where there would be other women countless other women who would probably give him as much physical pleasure as he had had with me I wouldn’t care or at least I told myself that I wouldn’t care because none of them would ever own him—own any larger piece of him than I now did”Doesn't this sound like it is Fleming's idea of an ideal woman who can put up with any philandering possible and still be there for him? Most critics hated this book though a couple liked it as a kind of attempt as a Daphne du Maurier “romance” the public hated it and Fleming hated it refusing to have any of the plot used in any film by its name so when that title was finally used in 1977 only the steel toothed character of Horror was included although under the name Jaws I don’t recall the film at the moment but I really did not like this failed attempt at writing from a woman’s perspective Some of the writing is a decent imitation of American noir maybe but Bond never seems real here to me in the way he does in other books It's almost as if it were written very early on not as a ninth novel featuring Bond as a developing character It's Bond as seen by one of his shallow women as a god which is the brand Fleming created for him While I have some sympathy for Vivian in the beginning of this essentially non Bond book I don’t like her sudden shallow turn to fall in love with Bond The Spy Who Loved Me For One Night? I don't recommend this as thriller or romance

  6. says:

    Love of life is born of the awareness of death of the dread of it Nothing makes one really grateful for life except the black wings of danger― Ian Fleming The Spy Who Loved MeReads like a John D MacDonald thriller than a typical James Bond novel I liked it It was like James Bond was tired of catching crap about not being able to write or develop female characters so he wrote a novel entirely from the perspective of the woman Unfortunately at the end it was STILL a woman in peril cliche But a good read still

  7. says:

    Rating 375 of five1977's film not 1962's book is under discussion The film is not one single thing like the book Apparently the story was forbidden to the filmmakers though not the title I had no idea the films were so contentious litigious and all around ornery to make This rewatch has been uite an educationI now know I will never be A Critic as in publicly known to the civilians in books music or film I hate the Po Mo MFA Pit Sniffers in vogue among Those Who Read Seriously tedious people even bores avoid them I LOATHE rap hip hop hoop hup elektronik bullshit non music And yodels from the film establishment aside I thought this entry in the series was meh because the villain's a bore the Bond Girl looks like an insect with a boob job and it stars Simon Templar Loved the car A Lotus that turns into a submarine? Yee haw Since Jaws was our baddie's executioner and actor Richard Kiel isn't blond built or hunky there was a regrettable dearth of blond henchrat scenery to admire was wonderful as always and the death of Desmond Llewellyn is never keenly disappointing than when comparing today's line up with the classicsThe Egypt and Sardinia scenes are lovely; Stromberg's underwater castle is amazing and I want one; Bond's loser suits are a little less obviously made by Haggar out of Ban Lon than before So why be so generous? This sounds like a sueak to make three stars review Nobody Does It Better is why Ubiuitous tune in 1977 Every time I started my car this tune came on I like it even now Carly Simon's voice is that delicious to me And Carol Bayer Sager Don't Cry Out Loud writes the hell out of a song Marvin Hamlisch The Sting and A Chorus Line composed it; he's got one helluva track record too So here endeth my re watch After this all the ones I haven't watched aren't connected to Ian Fleming's books at all until the Craig reboot of Casino Royale It's been a big ol' hoot I've had fun and now I'm curious about the stuff that's gone on AROUND the films Must find out if anyone's written about that yet

  8. says:

    All women love semi rape They love to be taken Ian Fleming writing as the character Vivienne Michel in 'The Spy Who Loved Me' 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬In a word No No Just no Maybe there are a few like one or two female kinksters who agree with the above sentiment expressed by the fictional narrator of this James Bond book Vivienne Michel created by a male author But for the huge HUGE majority of women rape is a criminal act prosecutable damaging hateful a horrible abuse resulting in a lifetime of PTSD Most women do NOT want to be taken shaken stirred or raped against their will Women are sentient people of rational flesh and blood not a glass of alcoholThe James Bond books were written by a man for men male Romances full of fictional wish fulfillment However I have seen enough of life to know some men think these fictional ideas by men about women could be real have hopes it is real that young beautiful women want men to take them by force In my entire life the numbers of women I know who have ever wanted rape is ZERO Women may succumb give in to Fear be mortally afraid of a stronger person physically or be afraid of a rich powerful man with power over a women's livelihood How many of you men are desiring to be tortured beaten and raped against YOUR will in an underground garage or in a dirty alley or a closet or in a store by a gunman where you went to pick up some milk for your kids andor then maybe face continuing blackmail held over you? Or would you as Fleming imagines after being sexually molested and beaten unconscious wake up and go home to have immediate wild sex with your partner while still leaking blood all over under your skin?The idea I have got from reading these novels so far is James Bond seems into or up against the type of women who are generally psychopaths prostitutes or thrill seeking beautiful adventurers like himself Until now the most irrational scenes Fleming has written have been about how every woman falls in love with Bond including a lesbian and Bond with them many at first sight in fact usually after one lame conversation One area in which Fleming is weak as a writer is dialogueMy advice to you my hopefully gentle reader especially teen readers do not risk prison by testing Fleming's ideas about women on real women Many novels written by men for men are male romances full of wishful thinking which do not reflect Reality on ANY level Always ask for sex verify the feeling is mutual if you feel it is likely that sex is in the offing Get explicit consent Women who say NO mean NO Women are not eager to get pregnant torn up into bleeding meat or get a disease through rape Would you male readers? Women will hate you for using force and some will try to kill you even back in the early 1960's when 'The Spy Who Loved Me' was written Admittedly most women walk away if they haven't been murdered and want to forget they were raped because for some strange reason society reviles and blames women who get raped but many women will wait and wait and wait until they see a chance to get you back and Put You Down Or at minimum gloat and exult when not if someone else takes you downJames Bond is a fictional character of exaggerated and very toxic masculinity A James Bond novel is about a brutal man doing brutal things against other brutal men The novels are sometimes intentionally comical because it can't happen that a one man army wins against multiple armies of men with massive amounts of unlimited armaments and technology dozens and dozens of times in real life I am sure Ian Fleming knew by the time he wrote this novel how much of a cartoon his character James Bond was after all Hollywood with all of it's Tinseltown representatives were knocking at his door with lawyers and contracts slavering to make movies based on his character with scenes of cars going about one mile an hour driving down narrow alleys for five minutes on two wheels and with bad guys with steel teeth who could survive an electric shock that would kill a moose this toothy actor btw had medical health issues in real life Sean Connery the actor who first played James Bond is now 88 years old and walks with a cane and a health aide He seems a sweetheart and a gentleman See Janice's comment below Connery had very much a sense of how ridiculous the character James Bond was and said so on occasion Connery never did the stunts in the movies Got it? Any real James Bond character would have had to retire from the injuries he supposedly sustained in the first book in this spy series especially so in Casino Royale and maybe he would have died from many of the other injuries James Bond endures in the following books if any real person experienced them Every women Bond meets falls in love with him Male readers have you ever seen any of this in real life? If you guys want to stay out of trouble keep in mind fictional books provide wish fulfillment and symbolic reality not RealityWritten in the same paragraph as the rape sentiment above which has enraged and distracted meIt was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly wonderful That and the coinciding of nerves completely relaxed after the removal of tension and danger the warmth of gratitude and a woman's natural feeling for her hero This part of Vivienne's attitude has been known to happen in consensual desire But in the circumstances which occur in this book? NEVEREat dirt and die male scum ahemAnyway SoPutting aside my outrage and irritation temporarily with Men you foul bastards the book is an unusual one for a James Bond story It is narrated in first person by a female protagonist Fleming shows her constantly under sexual pressure her entire life from her childhood in Montreal where her family pressures her with sexual morality and marriage to every job she has where men paw and proposition her a lot This is true to life gentle reader Although the character Vivienne is gorgeous in the real world the only ualification every women needs for the often unwelcome attention of men is to be female We don't even have to be young or awake Male attendants have raped unconscious female ninety year olds in nursing homesVivienne has a series of tragic romances with cads in London the first one being a hot rich guy scum Derek Mallaby who relentlessly pressures for months virgin schoolgirl Vivienne into sex ; the second being a weird scientific sex adherent Kurt Rainer scum so she returns to her home in Montreal and her aunt six years after she had left She had gone to London to attend a finishing school After Derek scum dumped her a minute later after he finally 'takes' her in sex she got a job as an editorial assistant and reporter for a London newspaper On the job she met Kurt scum in Munich Kurt scum gets her another better reporter job and she is stationed in London Vivienne first nurses him through a breakup with a German girl then becomes his buddy with benefits She falls kinda in like with Kurt scum but he coldly ends it the night she tells him she is pregnant He pays for an abortion in SwitzerlandSad Vivienne takes a vacation motoring down Route 2 then Route 9 on her Vesta scooter from Montreal intending to meander down to Florida Instead she stops at The Dreamy Pines Motel in Lake George in the Adirondacks to stay for a night but she takes a job when offered to make some money as a receptionist despite that the co manager Mr Phancey molests her every chance he gets even in the presence of Mrs Phancey Vivienne is left in charge supposedly for only one night when the Phanceys leave after closing the motel down for the end of the tourist season in October The owner Mr Sanguinetti will come the next day to get the keys Vivienne is toldThat night criminals break in and make Vivienne cook for them Of course they molest and beat her threatening even worse as soon as they finish eating Guess who shows up suddenly with a flat tire fully cocked and loaded?This is absolutely the worst book in the series I have read so far Fleming knows as much about how women feel in the aftermath of sexual abuse as I do about how girl cats feel about getting pregnant from a stray boy kitty scum? The only reason it is getting at least one star from me is because it does dramatically show the actual molestation threats of molestation and constant pressure for sex EVERY female undergoes in her school job and vacationing life He utterly minimizes or misses the rage hatred fear disgust misery and homicidal urges we women become adept at handling and suppressing or notBrutalized her virginity 'taken' by force and guile utterly abandoned twice once by a man while carrying his child as well as by a man who lied about his engagement to another even while forcing her to have sex which resulted in blood on the sheets her breasts and buttocks being pinched and sueezed by men everywhere she works threatenedmolestedbeaten by bad guys beautiful Vivienne's attitude is so plucky shortly afterwards she immediately wants to fuck Bond to thank him for his service Yes I am spoiling I don't care This book is outrageously insulting to all women in the world

  9. says:

    ‘The Spy who Loved Me’ is of course the ‘odd’ James Bond novel The book which is told from a female point of view the episode where Commander James Bond is not even mentioned until over halfway through the one which doesn’t seem like a spy novel at all It’s an interesting experiment but what struck me on re reading it now was how poorly conceived and badly executed it wasNothing in Ian Fleming’s other novels suggests that he had a great understanding or appreciation of female characters Their role is to appear as sexy as hell flirt maybe give over a crucial bit of information and then at the end be saved by the dashing hero It’s therefore possible to see it as brave for Fleming to throw away his bag of tricks and go for a female point of view The problem is that Vivienne Michel – the ‘Me’ of the title – is one of the irritatingly insipid characters in fiction Let me just describe her she is gorgeous and unworldly; has had sexual experiences but never been with a real man; is resourceful but only to a point; is brave but only to a point; and as such is desperate for a hero to come in and save her Even as the main protagonist of the piece her sole role is to await the heroic man who she will worship for ever This therefore is the perfect Bond heroine but that of course makes her of a fantasy than a real womanAnd then as the olive in the martini we find passages like this “All women love semi rape They love to be taken It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that made his act of love so piercingly wonderful I had no regrets and no shame There might be many conseuences for me – not the least that I might be dissatisfied with other men But whatever my troubles were he would never hear of them” I can imagine that old Etonians of Fleming’s vintage felt that this was a true insight into the female psyche but surely even in 1962 that passage must have raised some eyebrowsA character like Vivienne Michel may suffice in a normal Bond novel where the reader isn’t often given access to her thoughts My edition actually has her listed as the co writer – as if she was a living breathing person who told Fleming her story But for Fleming’s fantasies of womanhood to be asked to carry the whole narrative only serves to show how out of touch and lost in his boy’s own world the author was‘The Spy who Loved Me’ isn’t merely an ‘odd’ book it is the ill starred backstairs child of James Bond novels

  10. says:

    Wow This was something else A terrible terrible something else The Spy Who Loved Me differs from all of the other Bond books in that it's written in the first person from the perspective of Vivienne Michel a vivacious young lady who finds herself alone looking after a motor lodge in north eastern AmericaThe book falls into three sections the first looks at Vivienne's background and how she came to find herself babysitting an empty motel Essentially this is a depressing look at the girl's two crashingly unsuccessful relationships losing her virginity to a cad and falling pregnant to a German reporter who promptly sacks her and insists that she use her redundancy check to pay for an abortionYou know how I'd previously observed that Fleming tended toward misogyny yeah this is like a nasty culmination of that line of thinkingAnyway Michel returns to her native Canada decides to drive a Vespa down the east coast to Florida En route she finds herself being asked to look after this motel Unfortunately the owner plans to set fire to it with Michel still there Oh noes Soon she finds herself confronted with two hired goons who plan to have some entertainment with the young lady before torching the placeSo begins act two another rather nasty series of chapters featuring said goons terrorising young Ms Michel To be honest by modern standards they're not excessively brutal there's a lot of implied threat and they get her to make scrambled eggs for themBut who should appear in act three but James Bond who saves the day The plot picks up a bit at this point which is just as well because frankly it's been something of a yawn getting here Bond joins the story for five chapters and then sods offNeedless to say she melts in Bond's arms and declares the immortal line that All women love semi rape I don't think I need to offer too much of a comment on thatOh and for those of you hoping for Union Jack parachutes and nuclear submarine kidnap there's none of that The book has nothing in common with the film other than Bond being in it and he's in the film a good deal than the book