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The range and variation of the stories in this book was stunning, and David Sterry's deftness in collecting and arranging them is impressive; stories of triumph, finding one's place, frequent foibles, and the occasional descent into tragedy.
Many of the buyers and sellers seem happy with their lot, others less so; the business of sex is not always sexy, and "There but for the grace of God" walks side by side with "God, why is this never me?" The tales are always raw, whether warm or cynical, heartbreaking or hilarious. The motivations of the actors are generally surprisingly familiar, and always utterly fascinating, even as they take us beyond our comfort zone.
Sterry's own contribution, "Do You Love Mommy" happened to be one of the first I turned to, and is, as you might guess form the title, one of the most disquieting, but it set the tone for the above mentioned qualities of rawness and discomfort. Also of particular note are the poignancy of "How To Date a Stripper in Five Easy Steps" by Essence Revealed "Elegy for Tony King" by R.J, Martin, Jr., which chronicles the rise and fall of a pimp, overlaid on the macrocosm of the pimp lifestyle of the 70s.
On the lighter side, Alithea Howes' "The Sweater Fetish" stands out as a dominatrix recounts her strangest request; so does Hawk Kinkaid's "Ice Cream", and the upbeat reminiscences of sex work legend Dr. Annie Sprinkle.
Most of the stories are neither is tragedy nor light. "Dating for Dollars" is a cynical look at the business, but Jodi Sh. Doff seems pleased with her work. "Dirty Tricks and Happy Endings", by Dominick, offers exactly what the title advertises, and The sad/sweetness Shawna Kenney's "Duplicity" is in a similar vein.
The above stories were high points for me, but not at all the only draw; rubies on a tray of other gems.
What an entertaining read! I couldn't put it down. "Johns, Marks, Tricks..." was funny and poignant cover to cover, but most of all, very real, completely honest. This expertly curated anthology of interviews, memoirs, and confessions includes the low down (& the high down) about sex workers (& sex customers) from luxury hotels to dungeons, to cyberspace. And places you never thought of! I enjoyed every page. Worth every penny.
One of the best books about sex work and the life of sex workers ever. It contains stuff by the more famous; Nina Hartley. Madison Young, Dylan Ryan as well as those on the street. Stuff to make you laugh , cry and think. Real voices not civilians moralising.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book but I was completely surprised by the rawness, the honesty and integrity. Many of the writers didn't glamorize sex work (it is a job) and showed at times the stresses, the fears, the fun and most of all the humor in their experiences. Some stories had me laughing so hard I had tears. It was a pleasure to read and a great look at an industry I had no real knowledge of. Thank you for bringing together some amazing individuals who were willing to share their stories.
Sterry has an eye for finding the folks who have something real to say about the subject of sex work. He has delivered once again: love this new anthology with a broad selection of writers and stories. Nicely done, and thanks for continuing to make the sex work real and accessible.