Bound: A daughter, a domme and an end-of-life story is the true story of Elizabeth Wood and her mother’s terminal illness. 

Wood is an adult daughter who was caring for her dying mother. Just before her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer her mother became a dominatrix. (Yes, online forums and everythang.) I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine my mother 60+ years old and being into all of that. Honestly, that was the only reason I picked this book up. I am very close with my mother, but what is that like? I know my mother is human and has sexual feelings, but I do not need to know about them.

Wood never had kids of her own. She saw the whole ordeal as reverse maternity leave in order to care for her mother. 

Honestly, the book has very little to do with her mother being a dominatrix. That part of her mother’s life was brought up here and there. Connections were made between how her mother chose to live her life and how she was cared for in various hospital and nursing home settings. Something that was brought up quite a few times in the book, that I never thought about personally was this idea that healthcare facilities do not take into account someone’s sexual history. Think about all of the things that can be done in a hospital setting in order to care for someone; to keep their system functioning when the patient has lost control of…. I am sure potential past sexual trauma has never been asked. Wood says that no one ever asked her mother “if there was anything in her history that might make the procedure [rectal tubes] harder for her or that just wants them to be aware of”. This idea of meaningful consent was never obtained.

“In a nation that prides itself on world-class doctors, scientists and hospitals, the fact that we can’t provide decent nursing care for so many of the sick, aging, or disabled among us is shameful. THIS IS NOT THE AMERICAN DREAM.” 

I saw this book as more of a story about the relationship between an adult daughter and her mother and less about the sexual adventures of her mother. It was also a story about being the oldest daughter/child tasked with caring for their sick parents. It seemed like sexual domination was seen as just another hobby for her mother. Wood made a connection between the disappointment and anger that her mother experienced with men and sexual domination. She often wondered if her “adoption of king and domination has anything to do with her dislike and distrust of men”. 

“He wants me to pierce his testicles,” she said on the phone one day in a tone that made me think she was seeking approval I was no means ready to give. It was the Summer of 2010, about a year after he kidney cancer and kidney failure and about two years prior to our current crisis. 

The whole story was interesting, but my biggest take away from this book was the end of life process. I am fortunate in a sense where I have not had to directly deal with anyone’s end of life stage, yet. I know for myself, what I want done should I ever enter such states – this story just salified how prolonging life is not always worth it. 

This idea that you can go through treatments to prolong life is not necessarily worth it. For myself, I always thought I would rather have a shorter amount of time that is spent doing what I want to do then to spend more time feeling miserable. That is exactly what this book proves. 

The system is broken. The services that are available to those that are terminally ill and dying is atrocious. The way people who are sick and dying are bounced around within the healthcare system is pathetic and it is not how I want to spend my last months, weeks or days on this earth. 

I am glad I read this book and if someone asked me if I would recommend it I would say yes. I cannot pin down exactly who I would recommend this to…. Older adults definitely; eldest children who will one day be caring for their parent(s). If you come across this book in a bookstore, pick it up, read a few pages…

Thank you to Netgalley and She Writes Press; I am not sure I would have ever come across this otherwise. 


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