Monday, March 11, 2013

Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex edited by David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin, Jr.

When I promised you strippers, I also promised you hookers. This collection of about 90 short stories and poems covers a broad range of issues related to the work and lives of sex workers (a few stories are about dancers instead of prostitutes). Most are first-person, the focus being on experiences rather than hard information. It found its way onto my Amazon wishlist a few years ago, and I was excited to find a copy at Borders during the first bankruptcy sale (can't remember which location). I hadn't heard of most contributors with the notable exceptions of Xaviera Hollander and Nina Hartley.

I have a hard time getting into anthologies. I find the changes in voice to be disruptive and it takes 75-100 pages for me to adjust. Most of this book is interesting, though Sterry's author introductions can be long-winded. Its weakest chapter is "The SAGE Stories". I understand that Sterry is proud of the writers in the program he taught at San Francisco's Standing Against Global Exploitation, but a lot of the subject matter in that chapter is irrelevant to the theme of the book. Just because something is written by a sex worker doesn't mean it belongs in a book about sex work.

This book even managed to be topical. Around the time I was reading it, I saw this story from the University of Illinois: "The creation of Annie Sprinkle: Porn star, ecosexual speaks on campus". I recognized the name; Sprinkle leads off the first chapter with "40 Reasons Why Whores Are My Heroes".

UPDATE 12/12/2013 - Sterry released a sequel, Johns, Marks, Tricks and Chickenhawks: Professionals & Their Clients Writing about Each Other, about a month after I wrote this review. See Amazon links below.


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