Sometimes, I feel compelled to read books like this (see also: Skinny Bitch) because I worry I read too much feminist stuff and am becoming biased, an...moreSometimes, I feel compelled to read books like this (see also: Skinny Bitch) because I worry I read too much feminist stuff and am becoming biased, and unaware of "what's out there". Then I remember. (less)
**spoiler alert** I liked how candid and open she was about her past and her life's story. The candor with which she told her story was refreshing, an...more**spoiler alert** I liked how candid and open she was about her past and her life's story. The candor with which she told her story was refreshing, and there was no shame or sense of caring if the reader judged her.
However, there were some things about this book, mainly Hollander's hypocrisy and class issues, that I found very angering. She discusses at length her deliberate seduction of her brother-in-law, with no scruples or regrets. Yet later, as a madam, a cardinal house rule is "no messing with Xaviera's man". Hmmm. Also, there is a detailed list of different races she has worked with, and how endowed each is and specific details about how they pay, act in bed, etc., which is racist and dated. Finally, she mentions over and over her intelligence and worldliness and how she speaks seven languages blah blah, but judges and distances herself from the "First Avenue whores" who are always African-American, poor, drug addicted, and violent. It's like Hollander is immune to being judged because she is white, wealthy, and educated, and chooses to be a prostitute because she loves it; she's not like those "whores" who don't have her privilege.
Overall, I can understand how this book is groundbreaking and pioneering, but it was so steeped in class and race issues and parts of it were so dated, it probably could have been boiled down to 150 pages and been far more intriguing.(less)
I loved this book. The stories in it were compelling and thoughtful, and demonstrated the shades of gray in relationships. Some of the women were gay,...moreI loved this book. The stories in it were compelling and thoughtful, and demonstrated the shades of gray in relationships. Some of the women were gay, some straight, some were cheaters, some were cheated on, but everyone in the book had a distinct voice, thoughtful perspective, and wonderful writing voice. Definitely worth checking out, especially for Mary Jo Eustace, Dani Shapiro, Ellen Sussman, Caroline Leavitt, Connie May Fowler, Aviva Layton, and Gayle Brandeis.(less)
Klausner is insightful about and critical of her own behavior, and while I see reviews on this site full of slut-shaming, I think those...moreI loved this.
Klausner is insightful about and critical of her own behavior, and while I see reviews on this site full of slut-shaming, I think those people missed the point. She doesn't have low self-esteem, she doesn't "subject" herself to these men like some 19th century belle with a case of the vapors, she isn't all sad, desperate and Cathy cartoon-esque about "why can't I find a great guy?" Klausner instead uses the touchstone of 20-something post-third-wave feminist angst to connect with her audience. In examining a gender schism that has expanded options for women and muddied the waters for men, she makes some really valid, interesting points (her discussion of the Rules, and her numerous observations about mens' manners & etiquette). She never really talked about her body, either; which I thought was really refreshing in a dating memoir; it was all about her smarts and her decision-making, which could be questionable, but was completely transparent regarding her motivation.
I was really proud to identify with the last chapter, about "saying no" in your thirties, and about how aging is not like clawing at the underside of a coffin lid for her. Also, we totally share a brain regarding Williamsburg.(less)
Really well done. I have read lots of zines and memoirs of female sex workers, but nothing from the john's perspective. I found the graphic novel appr...moreReally well done. I have read lots of zines and memoirs of female sex workers, but nothing from the john's perspective. I found the graphic novel approach refreshing. I did not agree with many of his points in the (very extensive) appendices, and feel that he is short-sighted and almost naive in some of his philosophy, but that doesn't mean his work doesn't stand on its own as a really great accomplishment. Also, huge kudos for putting a photograph of himself in the back of the book. To me, that was a touch that underscored his sincerity and lack of hypocrisy in thinking paying for sex isn't a big deal.(less)