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Callgirl: Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure
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Callgirl: Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  673 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Deeply personal and moving, Callgirl challenges the commonly-held notions of the world's oldest profession as a pernicious industry peopled by amoral sex addicts.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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I learned two things from this book, and neither of them were about the sex industry.

The first one is this:
Jeannette Angell (or the character she plays in this book) thinks -- no, scratch that, she KNOWS -- that she is smarter than you. Than me. Than everyone who's going to pick up this book. She constantly mentions how educated she is (two masters and a difficult PhD!), name drops lecturing at places like MIT and Harvard, and never misses a chance to mention what an AMAZING teacher she is. It's
Jul 02, 2010 Jane-Rebecca rated it did not like it
When writing a book about being a prostitute, perhaps don't act so superior to OTHER working girls. She came off as a total self-obsessed jerk. Plus, the writing was poor so I'm not so sure why she was teaching anywhere.
Jan 28, 2008 Tommy rated it did not like it
Who would have thought that a book about a professor moonlighting as a callgirl could be long and boring. Angel has managed that feat and more. She spends most of the time complaining that all prostitutes are stereotyped as various things (while frequently engaging in these stereotypical behaviors) yet she generalizes the entire male population as one giant stereotype. She's frequently insulting and just plain a poor writer. Go read something else.
Jun 30, 2009 Alie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the idea of this book, but at about the halfway point I really started to dislike her. I can't really put my finger on why, but I think it's how she described her abilities as a teacher despite a borderline coke and booze problem and kind of a lack of self-awareness. IDK, she came across and haughty, even though she was trying to be self-effacing. Strange, strange book.
Nikki Fitzgerald
Boring. Read half. Life's too short for a bad book
Jul 24, 2008 britany rated it did not like it
i read this book when it first came out, and it was just called "callgirl." i even checked the book, which i still have, to confirm this. they later added on the "ivy league lady of pleasure" bit...this pretty aptly demonstrates just how dumb this book is.
Apr 12, 2010 Evan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halfway to 100 for 2010; this was the 50th book I've read this year, and a good one at that. So far, it's the most illuminating first-person account of prostitution I've read. In the '90s, Angell turned to working for what she calls a "mid-level escort service" -- something halfway between streewalkers and pimps on the lower rung and the most exclusive escort services for the most wealthy clients at the top level. As adjunct sociology lecturer at a Boston-area college, trying to get her foot in ...more
Karina M
May 23, 2014 Karina M rated it it was ok
Extremely disappointed in the quality of the writing given that it was written by a former college professor who uses every chance she gets to tell the reader how intelligent, educated and talented she is. What I expected to be an interesting read ended up being boring and I had to force myself to finish it. I didn't find anything insightful about her book, and find that the subject has been explored far more successfully, ironically, by authors who didn't actually live the life of a call girl. ...more
May 09, 2009 Janet rated it liked it
I found this one while I was tidying the shelves. The Circ person who checked it out for me asked if I was considering a new career. Hah. This is a fascinating look into the world of “pay for sex,” if you can get over Angell’s agonizing page-after-page-after-page justifications and her battering-ram insistence that being a a callgirl is no different than being a waitress, postal worker, or any other delivery type business. She’s simply selling a product. Sex is just sex. Sex with a client is ...more
Apr 12, 2008 SarahG rated it it was ok
I'm only into the first chapter but Her writing style is irritating, I hope I can get into it.
I finished it but it was...Eh..
Mar 15, 2013 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book. I think the sociology and anthropology of this topic was perfectly told by the author. Anecdotal, real, and humanizing to a subject that has such a biased past.
Claire Sayan
Apr 16, 2015 Claire Sayan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like her, her self importance or her writing style. I won't be reading Madam
Apr 04, 2011 Tatevik rated it did not like it
worst ever:(
Nov 21, 2016 Chelsea rated it really liked it
Had to return this book to the library, so I was unable to finish this saucy tale. Made it to page 102. Well done and insightful. Maybe one day I'll get the chance to finish it.
Aug 12, 2014 Maiesha rated it did not like it
If you are looking for an insightful rendering of a woman's first-hand account of her life as a prostitute, this sure ain't it! I am an open-minded person, and while I disagree with prostitution, I know that it isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and believe that it is healthy to see prostitutes as multi-faceted humans just like everyone else. Angell states her agenda right away: she aims to do no less than dispel the myths that we readers have about prostitutes and prostitution, and convince us ...more
Jul 23, 2014 _speedy rated it did not like it
A book about call girls and their lives and how Jeannette Angell will break every stereotype about working girls and their lives, I mean, who wouldn't be interested? On the first page, I realized that no one with a little bit of brain wouldn't like this book. The author is soooooooooooooooooooooo self absorbed, sooooooooooooooo full of herself, sooooooooooo boring, such a hypocrite and one stupid stupid stupid stupid woman. Explanation?
1. She's 34 but thinks that all men are stupid and that they
Feb 08, 2009 Hanna rated it liked it
What started off as a strategic way to cope with financial crisis as her boyfriend had taken off with all her money, became an insightful journey into the world of getting cash for companionship as she delves into the sex industry. As a holder of multiple academic degrees and a doctorate, her inquisitive mind propels her to explore the depths of her new part-time job, which even lead to her teaching a course called The History and Sociology of Prostitution, after which she would head home to get ...more
Feb 27, 2015 Jessica rated it it was ok
I struggled with this book, and I see that others have the same feedback as I do.

First, I faced a roller coaster of emotions that usually had nothing to do with what was actually happening in the book. I'll explain them as I remembered them.. (spoilers)

1. Disgust. That first sex scene made me think I was reading a gross porn, but ok, I got over it, I'm reading a book about sex, ya?

2. Invested. Around page 30ish I was like, this is kinda good, she's self reflecting, etc.

3. MAD. Dirt mad. She act
Julie Ehlers
I don't really know why I bought this book--it was quite some time ago, so the reasons have slipped my mind. Anyway, this was interesting. It's a memoir by a PhD whose work as an adjunct professor (yes, at Harvard, among other schools) didn't pay the bills (surprise, surprise), so she became a high-priced "escort" on the side.

The book was certainly entertaining, as you can imagine. It provides a good snapshot of what her life was like and discusses a number of pertinent issues related to prosti
Apr 04, 2014 Rita rated it really liked it
Couldn't say it was the best written book I've read, but as the author said, prostitution is something that has a strange appeal. The story pulls you in and you see different sides of the business- drugs, alcohol and money, but in the case of the main character, I guess she didn't have the worst experience, because she had something to look forward to in life. Although, there are some parts that seem kind of far-fetched, like the fact that a drug user could function as a professor. Don't get me ...more
This book is a memoir wrote by a Boston professor, and it reflects this in the way it is wrote. It shows how a call girl business is run, but I found it slightly emotionally detached and that she glamorizes prostitution and drug use. However it is an interesting read, full of stories of the clients she sees and her job as a lecturer. She teaches a class on prostitution and I couldn't help thinking that the class might be more interesting than this book! It didn't stop me buying the follow up on ...more
May 07, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-story
I started out really liking this and finding it an interesting read. Jen has a way with words that kept me hooked/entertained but I think the book also went on for too long. It's 22 chapters and I think by the 18th it could have finished and I would have felt better about the book overal. This is why I'm only giving it 3 stars instead of 4. If I could give it a 3.5 I would actually do that.

It's just after the 18th chapter things seem a little bit old and stale, actually, it could have done well
Nov 13, 2012 Shawna rated it liked it
It's ironic that a woman who complains of the grammar of others has at least 4 typos present in her own book. Yikes. I've read a number of these sociological/anthropological memoirs by former prostitutes or strippers. It was a very interesting read, Angell's tone is slightly more academic than most, but she details enough of her sexual encounters to keep it interesting. Most of the women (and men) who write books on this subject try to show how different they are from the others that do this ...more
Celia Powell
Oct 16, 2007 Celia Powell rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites, memoir
This was fascinating - the story of a college teacher's years in the mid-90s spent working as a prostitute, while at the same time teaching a class on the history of prostitution. Intelligently written and thoughtful - I found it really difficult to put down, and her thoughts on the differences in the way men and women approach sex in the context of sex work really struck me. Unfortunately, as the author notes, while she had a relatively good experience as a sex worker, there are many women who ...more
Jan 08, 2008 Frogger_the_mad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Frogger_the_mad by: Xoop
Shelves: read-in-2008
Xoop got this from the library and passed it on to me because he thought I'd find it interesting. This book is a first person account of an educated and intelligent woman who spent 3 years working by day as a college lecturer and by night as a mid-level escort. The book has a nice balance of anecdotal stories and personal insights, and I found it very hard to put down. I read it in a day and a half, and wasn't tempted to put it aside to stitch even once. Having said that, I don't see this as a ...more
Jan 13, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't at all sure what to expect when I began reading - the individual experiences of call girls vary just as much as the style in which they retell them.

Angell's retelling is what one would expect from someone who had been in a tertiary teaching position - logical, relevant and aims to be as unbiased as such material can be.

She tells you of bad and of good, of expectations and realities and drug use that far extends beyond what one could call flirtation.

I found it to be an addictive read.
Mar 26, 2010 Stacey rated it liked it
Since watching the first few eps of "Secret Diary of a Callgirl" with Billie Piper, I've been pretty enamored of books about sex workers. So when I saw this one sitting on Da's pile, I borrowed it. It was pretty good, though my big complaint is that she used the word "frisson" far, far too much when other words would have worked just fine; it almost sounds like she's trying to belabor the point that she is as educated as she is. Very interesting. The front cover says, "If you were offered the ...more
Jul 28, 2008 Shari rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Good book although it was a little bit "preachy" in certain areas. The author states over and over again that not all callgirls are sex-crazed and often are working for financial gain vs. simply fulfilling their sexual needs – which makes me wonder is she trying to convince the reader or herself? It was an enjoyable read and very informative but occasionally it felt as if I was reading a lecture instead of a memoir.
May 08, 2009 Tara rated it did not like it
Really interesting story, but I felt Angell's prose both didactic and maybe even a little boring (well, not really boring, she's just not a spectacular writer). This isn't a literary novel I realize but Angell is no Mary Karr or Dorothy Allison, either. I'm glad she wrote this book, and hope lots of people find it, so I don't mean to sound too negative. I've got to give it 1 star, though, because for me the writing marred the pleasure of the subject matter.
Jul 14, 2007 Meghan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: open-minded folk
Ivy-league professor and world traveller... and callgirl?

This book presents a unique and intesely interesting portrait of a woman who worked as a professor by day and a callgirl by night, told by the woman who actually lived it. Beyond the sheer shock-value of the book, there is an interesting look into prostitution throughout history, class, age and gender as relating to sexuality, as well as a look at the drug-scene that many callgirls find themselves trapped in.
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