The Story of O was written back in 1954 as a series of love letters from Anne Desclos (using the pen name, Pauline Reage) to her lover Jean Paulhan. It was written on a dare when Anne knew her lover was fascinated with stories written and published by Marquis de Sade. When she said she could write something similar, her lover rebuffed her saying no woman could ever understand this type of writing.
When she did write those love letters, her lover was so impressed that he told her she must write this as a novel and then sent it to a publisher for printing. When it was first published it received scant attention until it started receiving literary awards in 1955.
As for the novel itself it is interesting to see a woman who is completely dominated by men and totally submits to every torture and barbarism that is thrown at her.
For O, in her mind, she is doing this to please her lover and to show him how much she loves him. Even when eventually he turns her over to his friend, Sir Stephen, to be her new master, she still believes that her lover still loves her and does everything that Sir Stephen tells her to do.
This is a story of a woman utterly and in complete submission to men. She has no control over her life except as it's being control by other men. What she wears, who she associates with, how she comports herself in public. O submits to everything without question. Even in finally being branded with Sir Stephen's initials and forced to wear labia piercings.
This novel is a far cry from the novels of today where women are a lot more empower and question the motives of the dominant men in their lives.
Because of the time period it comes as no surprise that O would willingly submit totally to absolute torture and complete control of herself.
Not for the squeamish and the faint hearted.