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Paying for It

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  3,019 ratings  ·  438 reviews

Chester Brown has never shied away from tackling controversial subjects in his work. In his 1992 book, The Playboy, he explored his personal history with pornography. His bestselling 2003 graphic novel, Louis Riel, was a biographical examination of an extreme political figure. The book won wide acclaim and cemented Bro
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 2011)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Bryant
My latest excursion into the ever-intriguing field of graphic novels turns out to be a radical challenge to the way we think about relationships, sex, romance and the whole kit and caboodle. A lot of the graphic novels I've read are autobiographical – Fun House, American Splendor, Clumsy, Maus, Persepolis – and this one is wildly so as it focuses on the author's sex life. But Chester Brown is no penis-wielding Henry Miller (or fetishistic Robert Crumb), he's a shy, bald, retiring type who works ...more
Chester Brown's paean to the joys of prostitution (hiring them, not being one; I suspect if he wrote from the latter point of view this would have been a very different book) is sort of an odd experience. The narrative was engrossing, believe it or not, and Chester is a more appealing character than he really should be, considering that he seems emotionally detached from everything and everyone in the world. But Brown's philosophy feels ill thought-out even though he goes on and on and ON about ...more
Allison Floyd
Having read sex worker lit previously, and having lived in San Francisco for several years (with a sex worker no less!) and thus having been well-steeped in these issues, this was an interesting read for me because it's the first account I've read by a john.

Before I go further I should mention that I am absolutely in agreement with the author's premise that prostitution should be decriminalized and that in reading this I gave consideration to decriminalization versus regulation, which wasn’t so
Like all of Chester's work, this book is beautiful cartooning. Every panel is a pleasure to look at. I must say, though, I find it sad that the boy from "I Never Liked You" turned into the man in "Paying For It."

Why do I find it sad, Chester would ask, when he himself is quite happy in the book. I'm not sure happy is the right word... the book has an emotionless, flat, analytical quality throughout. Apart from his very first experience with a prostitute I wouldn't say Chester ever seems to expe
Sam Quixote
I've been a fan of Chester Brown's for many years now and have always enjoyed what he's put out, whether it's childhood memoir (I Never Liked You, The Playboy) or historical narrative (Louis Riel), he always produces work that's both highly readable and unlike any other graphic novel out there. He is a true original.

So when I looked him up thinking that it's been a few years since Louis Riel, I was pleasantly surprised that he had another book completed, Paying For It, but even more surprised t
Zack Rock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is an offbeat, extremely down-to-earth story about Chester Brown’s evolution into a whoremonger. Imagine what would happen if Jerry Seinfeld realized he was tired of having girlfriends and started visiting prostitutes instead. That’s the basic vibe of this memoir. Have you ever had full-on intercourse with a girl two times without noticing that she didn’t speak English? What do you do when the girl who answers the door doesn’t match the description you were given? Do you reject her outright ...more
Aug 01, 2011 Kate added it
Shelves: comics, memoir
An illustrated apologia for being a john. I recently heard eminent brain scientist Simon Baron-Cohen on the radio discussing the issue of evil in humanity and how it comes down to a clinical lack of empathy. He basically came out and said that one line of medical thought is to consider psychopaths as severely disabled because of their extreme lack of empathy. I'm not calling Chester Brown evil or a psychopath, but he is clearly unable to access his emotions in the same way as most people; note t ...more
come along with me on the journey that led me to read this book:

part one: I kept on hearing about "CHESTER 5000"* and how "sexy" and "hot" and "sexy/hot" it was and so naturally when I saw a graphic novel at the library that said "Chester" on it, I grabbed it (notice I didn't actually seek out the smut I just grabbed what was already there).

part two: I bring the "CHESTER" book home and I'm reading, reading, reading and wondering all the time, "where is the sexy?!", "I don't see any sexy", "this
chester brown states his case. i do not agree. it's not a story. it has the potential to be, but fails. which probably is a shame for chester brown, because it's surprisingly often via stories that you make people really think about something - not by stating your case in a matter-of-fact way. the appendices are extra ridiculous.

in the middle of the novel, chester changes his mind; he does not oppose the idea of romantic love, but of possessive love -- and it makes me wonder why paying a prostit
Kris Lee
I'm super open minded, I love art comics, I like memoirs, I like bizarre tales, I love Canadian content!

I hated this book.

Moreso, I really dislike Chester Brown now, and I don't want to read anything else by him, which is super unfortunate, because I actually liked "I never liked you"

I know the point was that the women were prostitutes and he has no emotional connection to them, but page after page of blatant objectification and comodification of women was too much to not turn my stomach. Cheste
I admire CB's honesty - and Sook Yin Lee's by default - but at the heart of this, I felt his arguments rang hollow. Each discussion of a woman's beauty or reviews on the internet or dubious legal age may have been honest thoughts of a John - but they creeped me right out. He seemed to think that prostitution was always entered into by women with a penchant for sex work, and never seemed to take seriously class, drug addiction, exploitation, pimps, sex slavery....that last one really bugged me. H ...more
Wow. I really didn't expect to respond to this book in the way that I did. Brown articulates his reasoning and arguments for the decriminalization of prostitution extremely well in the appendices. There were some areas where I felt he was weak, for instance the objectification of women, but this could be a perspective issue. In all fairness the objectification of women is due to a large variety of factors, but in the context of the book this was one area I found his argument sparse. Similarly, i ...more
Peter Derk
This is a true, comic book story of a man who eschewed romantic relationships in favor of fulfilling his needs for love through friends and his needs for sex through prostitutes.

At the time of the events chronicled, out-call prostitution was legal in Canada. This meant that a prostitute could visit a john in the john's home or a hotel, but they could not operate out of a brothel.

If you already have very strong views regarding prostitution, I don't think this book is going to be for you. It proba
Despite all the negative hubbub about this book, I didn't find it offensive at all. It is radical and radically self-centered in some ways, but he makes a lot of good points. And remember: most of the fodder people are throwing at Brown was SUPPLIED by him and volunteered by him. Which puts everything into a different perspective.

As far as how it has affected me, the whole anti-possessive monogamy thing wasn't a new concept, but the book drove it home in an interesting way. I certainly look at p
I had been curious to read this "controversial" graphic memoir following the Canadian cartoonist Chester Brown's experience "giving up" on romantic love and instead becoming a customer of the sex trade, but unfortunately it was a lot less thought provoking than I would have thought. Consisting of Brown's amiable, emotionless breakup with his long time girlfriend and his first clumsy attempts to break into the world of prostitution, he begins to learn the etiquette and "rules" of the business. It ...more
May 20, 2011 Mza rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mza by: Everybody
Shelves: 2011
... haven't read the endnotes yet ...... Now here is something: a book that questions our most common assumptions about romantic love, but from a perspective neither of bitter longing nor of self-back-patting-and-ultimately-self-deluding contrarianism. Chester Brown maps his feelings the way a good anthropologist might compile an ethnography of a heretofore mysterious culture ... calmly ... factoring in his own biases and weaknesses ... and patiently recording even his most minute reactions ... ...more
Seth T.
Paying for It by Chester Brown

I have never been to a prostitute. Nor do I really ever intend to visit one. Hiring an escort, like eating balut, is not a thing I ever plan to count among my worldly experiences. Like pretty much all of Chester Brown's friends—as depicted in Paying for It—I have certain qualms about the idea of paying for sex. That said, Brown, through this memoir chronicling nearly fifteen years of visits to prostitutes, presents a compelling case for the decriminalization of prostitution in a pluralistic soci
I read this round our friends' place in Brussels. Honestly, I think enough has been written about it already, so I'll try to keep this brief.

Overall, I don't think that overall this comic works - it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be: confessional, polemic, manifesto, or even just story. In the end it settles for my least favourite sort of comics autobio - lacking in introspection, structure, awareness. Even humour. It's main virtue is that it is, I suppose, honest. Unfortunately, that lea
Jen Sienko
Chester Brown's explicit (but far far far from erotic)account of paying for sex is as honest as it is unemotional. Brown makes some very cogent arguments against "the possessiveness of romantic love," and if you've ever been on the bad end of a break-up, you'll find much to agree with in his cynical but ultimately pragmatic outlook. However, while Brown is unflinchingly honest about his encounters with sex-workers, cataloging his many biases and assumptions (during his first encounter, he declin ...more
Beautifully drawn, well-drawn and well-told history of Brown's involvement with prostitution which is at its best when it's covering the insider knowledge about stuff that those of us who've never patronized a prostitute would never know about. He also does a good job of covering as much of the issue as possible, raising all of his friends' objections as well as his own personal uncertainties, and so forth.

It becomes a pain when he gets on his short-sighted Libertarian soapbox (which Seth, in hi
I read this book and I refuse to review it or give it stars or even use punctuation because the entire book is Chester parsing words down to their essential bits to make his case just like when Clinton said it depends on what the definition of is is and he makes it perfectly clear that he is happy with his choices in life and that is good enough for me but it seems maybe he generalizes the sex industry to a dangerous degree to prove his points and it appears that he has spent more time than mayb ...more
By the end of the comic part, I was going to give this 3 stars... although I don't agree with many of his arguments when discussing the issues with his friends, I think he tried very hard to make most of the women he sees seem like nice people who are in a job that suits them, and make himself look small and grateful of the profession.

Then came the appendix... Chester acts like an authority on a lot of things that he is not an authority on. He is sexist, with on old-fashioned understanding of fe
I really enjoyed reading this book. The panels are simple and clean-- black and white, stark and compelling. The story is fascinating, but not for the reasons one might imagine, and it is, I think, appropriately mundane. Because it's about prostitution, Brown could have offered a graphic memoir of dramatized racy controversial stuff, but the book is quiet, sober and respectful, even when disturbing. His introspective and reporterly voice is almost eerie in its cool self-reflection. It is, in fac ...more
While Chester Brown's argument for the merits of shifting sexual relationships from romantic to commercial terms (i.e., prostitution) doesn't stand up logically (at least not for this reader), it's fascinating to watch him attempt to build the case over the course of a graphic novel. I can't promise this book won't make you uncomfortable, but even if you don't agree with his apologia, Brown once again turns in a phenomenal piece of comics storytelling that is at the same time the latest chapter ...more
Manuel Valencia Restrepo
Nunca me había detenido a pensar sobre la prostitución de una manera tan estructural y escueta, de una manera alejada del tabú y del prejuicio como lo que realmente es: cobrar por sexo.

Es curioso como una persona tan alejada del mundo de la prostitución como yo puede sentirse tan identificado con una novela gráfica autobiográfica que básicamente trata sobre eso. Su aproximación a como la convención y el romanticismo ha pervertido a las relaciones interpersonales a tal punto de encapricharse con
Brittany M.
Not so much an autobiographical comic as a bully pulpit. Paying for It was at times an interesting read, and I'm glad that Brown's pro-sex work diatribes are out there, potentially blowing the mind of folks who think such labor is wrong/immoral/whatever. I can't say, however, that I was crazy about him as a narrator. He seemed detached and glacial throughout, though I imagine you'd have to do so to write on such a potentially touchy subject. Brown seems rigid and inflexible once he's made up his ...more
I don't know what took me so long to read this book. I've wanted to read it, and been intensely curious about it, since it came out. I suppose I read it when it was time for me to read it, and not before. That tends to be how I rationalize dawdling over a long-overdue read. This book made me feel both intensely uncomfortable and oddly moved by turns. As always, I loved the austerity of Chester's work. It really appeals to me, for some reason. Perhaps because there is nothing very austere about w ...more
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Should Prostitution Be Legal? 2 13 Jul 31, 2014 04:56AM  
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Chester Brown was born in Montreal, Canada on May 16, 1960 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Chateauquay. His career path was set at the age of 12 when the local newspaper, The St. Lawrence Sun, published one of his comic strips.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

At 19, he moved to Toronto and got a day job while he worked on his skills as a ca
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