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Patpong Sisters: An American Woman's View Of The Bangkok Sex World

3.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Cleo Odzer, a young American anthropologist, spent three years studying Bangkok's red-light district, Patpong, an area of a few blocks teeming with bars and explicit sex shows. Patpong is now world-famous for its available and extremely attractive young women and men, who cater mainly to farangs - foreigners, most of them men but some women, who come from Europe, Australia ...more
Paperback, First Edition, 313 pages
Published October 17th 1994 by Arcade Publishing
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Oct 10, 2011 Suphatra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Right away you realize Odzer is an idiot. She uses no method for her research, is rejected by the non-profit group that is helping sex workers, and she writes about Thai culture the way a young girl at an overnight co-ed summer camp would. As a Thai-American, I was deeply offended and horrified how so many stereotypes of my culture were perpetuated by her shoddy research and ethnocentric rants. Even more disturbing was her intimate sexual relationship with a Thai pimp, of which she regards like ...more
Nov 22, 2009 Tracy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
I've known workers in anti-sex trade organizations from several countries, and not one of them would be happy with this book.

What we have here is proof that money (in this case, a grant) allows people to be "experts" on things they know nothing about. As I once heard a woman from a war-torn African country say, people in poor countries get tired of being research projects for people from the rich global North, opening themselves up but get nothing in return after the book or report gets publishe
Wow, is this ever a bad book.

It's not just bad; it's aggressively bad. Not boring bad, or amateurishly-written bad. More like morally bad, thematically vacant bad, conceptually barren bad. It is a fundamentally dishonest & affirmatively stupid book. The author is perhaps the least self-critical and most self-absorbed writer I have ever read. A boring or poorly-written book I could cast aside with a sigh, but a book this bad demands denunciation.

One doesn't know quite where to begin. I do not
Nov 25, 2012 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the Worst book I've ever read.

The title of this book is utterly misleading. Ms. Odzer goes to Thailand to study women in the sex trade, but she quickly reveals that she is revolted by the work they do and that she is squeamish about stepping into the sex clubs in which they work. Instead, she spends the rest of the book going on about an affair she had with a married Thai man. How angry she is at his wife. How unfairly life is treating her. And on and on. It is boring, not even remotely
Very frustrating, but educational all the same. The cover declares that the book is based on the author's dissertation in anthropology, but it's really about her personal experiences interacting with the sex workers in the Patpong area of Bangkok. This includes her unplanned approach to the people, what I would call unethical behavior in some instances and just plain stupidity in others. Was it really necessary to fall for a pimp and not use protection? She was surprised he'd slept with "Patpong ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Seligne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thailand
This is a terrible book. Odzer has the sensibilities of a 14 year old, but does not write as well as one. This book is a) dated (late-1980s), b) transliteration of Thai words is inaccurate and inconsistent, c) there is no intelligent analysis of what her "research" has taught her.

I was so blown away by the gormlessness of this book that I tried to find her dissertation in Dissertation Abstracts to see how the New School could possibly award her a PhD at the conclusion of this "field study". (No
Jun 10, 2015 Jaclynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author advertises this as her PhD dissertation, an in-depth look at the Bangkok sex trade industry. What a load of crap! Save yourself the time and don't bother reading this. I nearly threw the book down on several occasions, but I loath starting and not finishing a novel. Odzer is a total airhead, she's judgmental and she's reckless. The story honestly revolves around her pathetic, self-absorbed sex life with, first, a Thai pimp...whom she engages in unprotected sex with, even after finding ...more
Katrina Dula
Apr 14, 2009 Katrina Dula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these books! The writing is sub-par and the author is clearly a narcissist, but I love them anyway!
Jun 29, 2012 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very superficial and adds nothing to the debate on the sex trade.
Jan 29, 2011 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Read this for a women's studies class in college. A little sad and icky, but the parts about Thai cultural differences were fascinating (e.g., a Thai prostitute is treated with reverence because she can support her whole family with her earnings).
Michael Palkowski
Mar 26, 2013 Michael Palkowski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The main problem with this book is the lack of analysis regarding the observations that are being made. Something occasionally is mentioned through the heaps of narrative fat which if focused on could provide a pertinent or culturally significant aspect of the sex industry in Thailand but instead as a reader, we merely get hints at what could become something interesting or relevant if backed up by the right methodological and theoretical analysis and of course a competent researcher.

The book is
Feb 16, 2008 doreen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women's studies majors and minors
I used to live in Thailand, so I was interested in seeing Cleo Odzer's point of view and work with the sex workers of Thailand. I found the book's perspective fairly agreeable, however I was a little more annoyed with the author's frequent segues into her love life with one of the hustlers of the Bangkok underworld.

This is a good book if you want to read about sex work and a particular part of Thai culture (which is by no means indicative of its wonderful whole), provided that you make allowance
Jan 20, 2011 Wanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2008 Manatee rated it really liked it
I could not read all of this book because our library copy had been damaged on very strategic pages.

Interesting but sometimes superficial look at Thai sex industry from the woman's point of view. Fascinating.
Saya Hashimoto
A pretty readable non-fiction based on an American woman's PhD thesis for anthro. Helped me put my finger on my moral objection to going to a pingpong show, something I was having trouble clarifying.
Jun 17, 2010 Juliet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, thailand
I would really like to read her dissertation on this subject instead of just relying on the book. The book mostly details her sexual Thai exploits and personal encounters in Thailand.
Kathy Chung
Kinda interesting reads but not sure about this being a well researched book. It's more like its all about her experience living there.
Apr 21, 2008 Saira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
some feel her research methods were a bit unprofessional. still a good eye into the exploitation of SE Asian sex industry.
Sharon James
Jun 22, 2012 Sharon James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating insight not only into Patpong women but also the culture towards women and life in rural thailand
Aug 26, 2008 Fifi rated it it was amazing
I went to Patpong because of this book.
Feb 06, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing read- good story, even if the ethics of the study she is describing are questionable...
Maddie Taslim
Maddie Taslim marked it as to-read
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