Nothing Personal : The Business of Sex

by Donald McRae | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0340601167 Global Overview for this book
Registered by pumpkin-head of Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on 3/22/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by pumpkin-head from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Mandy, the Terminator Angel.
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.

Journal Entry 2 by pumpkin-head from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Thursday, February 22, 2007
Sending out as a BookRing.


nyassa(UK / France)
adrienne10 (USA)

Journal Entry 3 by pumpkin-head from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, March 09, 2007
This is a book about the women who work as prostitutes rather than about prostitutes, it's also about the journey the author made into their world and how his expectations were challenged.

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.

Journal Entry 4 by notingnothing from Sidcup, Kent United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Arrived safely - thank you.

Journal Entry 5 by notingnothing from Sidcup, Kent United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 27, 2007
An interesting read. Thank you pumpkin-head. Now on its way to celticstar.


Journal Entry 7 by celticstar from Denbighshire, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Arrived this morning, many thanks.

Journal Entry 8 by celticstar from Denbighshire, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Thank you pumkin-head for letting me have this with me for so long and to the people after me in the ring for your patience.

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.

Journal Entry 9 by celticstar from Denbighshire, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Just to update, I didn't get any response from nyassa so I'm sending on to PussInBoots.

Journal Entry 10 by PussInBooks from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Received today, looking forward to reading.

Journal Entry 11 by PussInBooks from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom on Monday, July 14, 2008
Read a bit of this and quickly realised it wasn't for me. Not because of the subject matter (wouldn't have joined the ring if that had bothered me!), but I really didn't like the style of writing (overblown, too flowery and laboured) and I could tell by a quick flick it was going to be sensationalist rather than sociological. So will pass it on to the next participant.

Journal Entry 12 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Friday, August 01, 2008
This book arrived about a week ago and I forgot to journal it immediately as I usually do. Mea culpa.
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.

Journal Entry 13 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Thursday, August 07, 2008
It's a pity that Donald McRae's writing - in this particular book - does not do justice to the subject matter. (He won the "William Hill Sports Book of the Year" award twice & taught English literature before switching to journalism). It was impossible not to be irritated by the mixing of metaphors and the transposition of emotional values onto inanimate entities to produce strained phrases, such as: "the veins standing out in purple welts", "the skin on the masochistic back of his body", "the Cross was an area of dark tumult", "he watched me through the filmy flare of smoke", "one reliable totem in the swirling storm of chaos which framed her dark nights out on the streets", "dinner with the gushingly Gish-flushed Greta", "a human dustbin fit only to be dumped on in some kind of raging wasteland", etc.
(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.

Journal Entry 14 by okyrhoe at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, August 11, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (8/11/2008 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



On its way to Sirah in Finland.

Journal Entry 15 by Sirah from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sorry for not journaling earlier, I totally forgot to inform that I received the book some time ago and read it as well.

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.

Journal Entry 16 by book-man-8 from Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Monday, October 13, 2008
Sorry for the late JE, but I was away rom home as the book arrived several days ago. It's now on my Mount TBR, not far from the top...
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.

Journal Entry 17 by book-man-8 at on Sunday, October 19, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (10/20/2008 UTC) at



It's off to "nicolesinger".Enjoy

Journal Entry 18 by nicolesinger from Newport, North Carolina USA on Saturday, October 25, 2008
This book has had a quick trip across the Atlantic - thank you, book-man-8 for mailing it and for the lovely postcard. And thanks, pumpkin-head, for starting the ring.

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!

Journal Entry 19 by nicolesinger from Newport, North Carolina USA on Saturday, November 15, 2008
Donald McRae has picked a titillating subject I'd like to know more about, encounters and interviews fascinating individuals, and clearly has a lot of personal involvement with his subject. I really expected to enjoy this book.

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!

Journal Entry 20 by nicolesinger at Morehead City, North Carolina USA on Saturday, November 15, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (11/15/2008 UTC) at Morehead City, North Carolina USA



On its way to adrienne10 - safe travels!

Journal Entry 21 by wingadrienne10wing from Seattle, Washington USA on Friday, November 21, 2008
Thanks for sharing this! I have one book ahead of it on a ring and then I will read this.

Journal Entry 22 by wingadrienne10wing from Seattle, Washington USA on Monday, January 12, 2009
This was a very interesting read. I am wondering what, if anything, has changed in 15 years since the publishing of this book. It seems as though the 15 years prior to the book also had seen many changes.

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.

Journal Entry 23 by wingperryfranwing from Elk Grove, California USA on Friday, January 16, 2009
Received in the mail today. Thanks! I have a few bookrings in front of this so may not get to it for a month or two.

Edit 2/18/09: Decided to pass this one on. I have too many other books on my TBR stack!

Journal Entry 24 by wingperryfranwing at RABCK, RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Released 11 yrs ago (2/18/2009 UTC) at RABCK, RABCK -- Controlled Releases



Pumpkin-head does not want this book returned so am sending as a RABCK to Savotar in Finland. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 25 by Savotar from Turku, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland on Friday, February 27, 2009
Thank you so much for this RABCK, perryfran! Looks like a well-read and interesting book.

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