Nothing Personal : The Business of Sex
11 journalers for this copy...
Leather-clad purveyor of very special services.
Simone, the Bitch of Pain in her sound-proofed cellar.
Jackie, the £15 Chinatown whore.
Vickie, the £1-a-peep Soho stripper.
Time, the slinky Madonna transvestite.
Nameless, underage and homeless boys at Kings Cross.
And Sara Dale, aka Miss Whiplash, sex therapist and former tenant of Norman Lamont.
Just some of the exraordinary people Donald McRae talked to at length in his very personal investigation of the business of sex.
Because, behind the statistics and the court reports, are real people: prostitutes and pimps, gigolos and rent boys, customers and entrepreneurs, gays and straights.
I thought it was very interesting and sympathetically written, not in the least sensationalist, it certainly made me think about it from a different angle.
On it's way to notingnothing.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
It is a very interesting read, well written and emotive. It certainly leaves you with a lot to think about, most of which I'm sure I'll never fully understand. It leaves us with Mandy leaving prostitution and Alice choosing to return to work and saying "woman have to start paying their dues to prostitutes because it's whores who see men stripped of all pretence. We know them. We take on their rage and their hang-ups and we control them. And that's why I'm going back. It's not just for the money. I'm going to take an active part in a campaign for the decrminalization of prostitution."
After reading this book I believe control is the last thing these girls have. I concede that some of the laws only serve to make their lives more difficult but I'm honestly not sure about decriminalization.
I'm sure there were lots of things I could/wanted to comment on but one of the saddest parts of this book was hearing about the underage rent boys. Messing around just like any other teenage boys would but instead of heading off home for their dinner they spot a couple of prospective clients, briefcase wielding businessmen, lurking around the toilets. 'selling butt' in London is better than the beatings they used to get at home.
Also very sad is the threats and beatings the author received because someone didn't want this book published.
Thanks pumpkin-head for adding me to the reading list, and PussInBooks for posting the book.
I've already read to page 260, which is 2/3 of the book.
I'm sorry to say that the narrative style is getting on my nerves. But I'm curious to see how the 'story' concludes. I'd like to finish the book and will journal again with detailed comments.
(And for a long-time sports writer, it's unfortunate that he mispells "Evil Kinevil.")
But I stuck it to the very end, hoping to find value in this unnecessarily lengthy 440-page book. I do believe that the main 'body' of the facts could have been adequately conveyed in half the space.
On the one hand, it's actually quite a relief that there is hardly any 'sociological' commentary. There is an unending stream of feminist tracts for/against prostitution to deal with the finer points of the subject (a few of which actually use this book as reference, eg. Sex, Work, and Sex Work & Consumption and the Management of Identity in Sex Work).
What impressed me in this volume is the realization that the subject of prostitution goes beyond issues of gender politics and gender power struggle. In the cases of gay escorts, boxing fists for hire, and teenage rent-boys portrayed in the second half of the book, one realizes that certain constructs regarding prostitution don't stand up to multifaceted complex social reality. It's refreshing - if such a thing can be said about the matter - to read about the male 'professionals' in the prostitution industry and their varying experiences.
But here, too, the faults of the investigative journalism are evident. I wish McRae would continue further on the male prostitute profiles. While the author provides ample background information on the pre-prostitution personal (and yet stereotypical) 'histories' of the female prostitutes, those type of details (& motivations) are glossed over in the most glaring example of exploitation, that of the underage & sometimes homeless boys "selling butt" in the public lavatories of railway stations. Whether McRae respectfully refrains from overstepping into the Fassbinder wanna-be Matti McLean's documentary film project, or whether he honestly doesn't know how to interpret these kids' activities, it's here where the most problematic aspects of prostitution are staring him (and us) in the face. Like Matti's romanticizing on the beauty of these youths, McRae obviously lacks the (intellectual) curious to pursue a more comprehensive understanding on this particularly disturbing social phenomenon. Instead, he returns to Mandy, his original source, and closes the investigation with her 'retirement.' And so, even after 440 pages, I feel there is more that remains to be documented & understood...
Trivia: Sara Dale's Sensual Massage.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On its way to Sirah in Finland.
It was an interesting read, informative and realistic. Some parts made me very sad like the story of Jackie or the one of the skater boys selling their body just for a burger or two, but the part of Leila showed me that there´s always hope for better future no matter how hard your life is.
I´ll send the book to the next reader since I got his address today.
Thank you Pumpkin-head for sharing the book with us.
I classify this kind of book as a "time-document". As with the internet, the times they have been a-changing. But anywaay: they are people like you and me.
Released 11 yrs ago (10/20/2008 UTC) at
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
It's off to "nicolesinger".Enjoy
I'm currently reading another bookring*, and in a week I start NaNoWriMo - an attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days - but I think I'll be able to read this within a reasonable time and pass it on expediently.
*And how strange is it that that bookring is Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women? I really do read a much wider range of subjects!
However, for some reason (could be me) I really had to struggle with it, and it moved very slowly for me. I finally hung up on p. 242 and gave in. I wanted to know about some of the people in later chapters, but I'm clearly the wrong reader for this book at this time.
I'm sending this out to adrienne10 in this morning's mail.
Thanks for including me!
On its way to adrienne10 - safe travels!
I liked how everything was woven together. I expected chapters that were their own microchasm with no relation to each other except for the overall theme. But each level wrapped into each other. Some were obvious literary devices, but others seemed serendipity.
This is now moving onto the next reader.
Edit 2/18/09: Decided to pass this one on. I have too many other books on my TBR stack!
Pumpkin-head does not want this book returned so am sending as a RABCK to Savotar in Finland. Enjoy!