Saturday, September 10, 2011

Going Down by Jennifer Belle

Always something to laugh at when you’re a hooker in the big city

 A friend of mine suggested I read this and I like her too much to say, Don't you know I don't read genre novels? But this wasn’t a cliché genre novel – this was a assortment of flash fiction about a young New Yorker, Bennington Bloom, who blithely gets a job as a prostitute, and her adventures in the absurdity of New York. Much of it was hilarious. The hooker set up is just that, merely a hook to hang an assortment of sharply well written little scenes. Most of the stories don’t really have to do with prostitution. A true novel about prostitution needs to address the unbridgeable gulf between the sexes or the amoral capitalistic ethos or what is the deal with that Madonna/whore thing. I’m not sure that this book does. What I learned was – wow the receptionists in brothels are real bitches.

So the book I read last week was about a nineteen year old who can’t stop herself from letting people know she’s smarter than they are. Bennington Bloom has the same problem. She’s a girl rejected by her father and decides, without a lot of reflection, to join an escort service in order to pay for her sophomore year at NYU. Because the novel is episodic, the reader does not get a sense of any tension building, but is still entertained by the sprightly sarcastic prose . Near the end of the book, a boyfriend is injected so we get some conflict otherwise there seems no reason why Bennington could not have continued sex work. Apart from the police raids.

 The epigraph from Alice in Wonderland is fitting but I think Alice cogitates a bit more on her situation. All this same, this was a very enjoyable read.

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