Monday, April 21, 2014

SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL by Anonymous - Book Review

Rating: 3.5/5 - Great if you’re in the mood for it, only okay if you’re not.

Title: Secret Diary of a Call Girl

Author: Anonymous

Format: trade paperback

Published: 2006

Genre: Memoir

Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing

Landed in my hands: purchased myself

Summary (from cover blurb):

From the summer of 2003 to the autumn of 2004, Belle charted her day-to-day adventures in and out of the bedroom in a frank, funny, and award-winning blog. Now in this riveting international bestseller, Belle reveals (among other things) how she, a university-educated woman, became a working girl, what it feels like to have sex for money, and where to buy the best knickers for the job. From chatting about literature with naked clients to smuggling whips into luxury hotels, Belle offers a no-holds-barred account of the high-class sex trade that will open doors to places you’ve never seen before.


First and foremost: regarding sex (because that’s why everyone’s reading this review, right?). It’s not written as smut. It’s not a blow-by-blow (heh); she’s not recounting every brush of every hand. It’s more a gritty glimpse into what it takes to keep herself polished, traversing technicalities of being managed by a madam, and the cannon fodder that becomes her personal relationships—peppered with the occasional anecdote of clients’ tastes or odd requests (and they’re there—there’s definitely quirks and fetishes that give this book a voyeur flair for interest).

This, my friends, is a highly readable book. There’s an honesty in Belle’s voice that is reminiscent of chatting with a good friend.

In fact, she’s made me feel inadequate when it comes to language. Her vocabulary is quite extensive, and I’m waffling between that being a byproduct of the slight difference in colloquial English used in the UK versus North America, or whether it’s because Belle has a great vocabulary and I’m now slogging through an awareness of the general public’s laziness when it comes to daily communication.

Yes, we’re all remiss. And apparently it took a whore to remind me—but that’s fabulous (seriously—no snark here!), because it subverts the stereotypical ideology when one thinks of call girls.

And that, my friends, is why I picked up the book.

I wanted a peek into the world, and I got one—and it wasn’t what society had told me to expect, and that makes me happy!

Buck the trends! Surprise them!

My problem with this book overall is that I was waiting for one of the general themes to evolve into something that might give resolution or more of an ending. And I got frustrated with some of her musings which seemed to be promises to the reader (Chekhov’s guns all over the place), which were never delivered.

I suppose that’s the problem with publishing a diary—the tension and story arc is either there innately or it’s not. There are changes in the narrative, things happen, but I hesitate to call it plot as much of it simply happens to Belle, and she’s recounting. One area I hoped to see more resolution was her private life, and... well... without risking spoilers, I’ll say there’s some movement of interest, but it never truly evolves. Belle never actually changes—not that all protagonists must, but... yeah.

And this is where I realize I’m used to deliberately plotted novels, because the lack of change in the main character irks me, and this book could have kept meandering and I would’ve stayed for the ride... as in: I barely noticed we’d reached the end because there truly weren’t any signifying traits to indicate it was coming to a close.

Which I suppose is indicative of the format—the day to day dealings of life. A diary keeps on rolling, yes?

In conclusion: if you’re interested, give it a gander—you’ll find it entertaining in an anecdotal and conversational manner. But it’s not some gripping story that’ll stay with you forever (nor was that what I expected when I choose it from the shelf). Hence the rating: if you’re in the mood for it, it’s great.

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