Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book #10: "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" by Tracy Quan

Oh, sweet Jeebus on a cracker, what a terrible turd of a book this was. Let me tell you the many, many ways in which this book quickly launched itself to the very top of my Trash list.

Our protagonist, Nancy Chan, is a high-end call-girl. She has always wanted to be a prostitute (um...ok, whatever), and at 20 something she's raking in the money by having sex with creepy, rich, old guys. She is also -oh, no! the conundrum!- engaged to a rich, incredibly bland dude (more like a cardboard cutout for all the personality he has) and is being pressured by her ditzy friend to join a group that promotes the rights of sex-workers.

That should least kind of fun to read, wouldn't you think? After all, the cover quoted "Cosmopolitan" (oh that bastion of high literature and fun, fun times!) saying that it was "chock full of dirty secrets!" (or some shit like that), so you really shouldn't expect more than a bunch of dirty sex scenes and fun in the high life of sex with balding men in their 60s! The cover had a BUTT on it! How could we go wrong in our pursuit of a mindlessly fun book to read quickly in boring moments? HOW!

By doing every single thing that you could possibly do wrong in writing a book. First: Make your book into a "diary", because God knows that shit isn't done to death, especially in chick-lit. Hey, it worked for Bridget Jones, and how hard can it be? Start by making your protagonist into an insufferable, spineless, whiny little victim who goes to the therapist a lot to whine about her stupid little problems that she could easily get out of if she had even the slightest bit of self-respect. Then, have her pepper her journal entries with inane little asides, a lot of "dirty" words (Oh, my! she said "pussy"! How naughty!) and a lot of boring stories about having sex with disgusting old men who want to have sex with young girls and pay to do it in fancy hotels in between business meetings. Have her friends be walking, reprehensible female stereotypes of the worst sort (Allison is ditzy! Jasmine is a total power slut! Her fiance's sister is a bitch because she's got a powerful job!) , and add a fiance who seems to be a complete fuckwit who somehow hasn't discovered that his fiance is a prostitute. Add to it a painfully boring subplot involving a bunch of bra-burning feminist stereotypes, a lot of seriously pathetic 'dramatic' moments (oh, no! she forgot to bring condoms! WHAT IS SHE TO DO!) and you have just one big painful insult to not only women and prostitutes, but to the entire world and very existence of books.

Just...holy hell, this book was irritating. Worse, it was boring. It starts off with one of those stupid little sex scenes that seem to have been written by a 15 year old girl who isn't quite sure how sex works but thinks that saying 'pussy' and 'cock' and 'whore' a lot immediately makes something titillating. But, no. It's just boring. You might as well be reading a recipe book for all the excitement that's in it. Nothing even remotely exciting happens to this chick, but somehow she does nothing but whine about how difficult her life is, mostly because she has incredibly stupid friends. I wanted to take this girl aside and just tell it plain to her face: If something in your life is giving you shit, get the fuck rid of it. If your friend is a pain in the ass who makes you do things you don't want to do, and she irritates the hell out of you, why are you friends with her? If you are conflicted about keeping your whoring life secret from your fiance, whom you don't really seem to have any real connection with, why don't you either tell him or break it off? You, young lady, are a spineless coward and need to get your life straight. It's not that fucking hard.

I'm devoting way too much time to this book, and I know it. But like I said in my last entry, when you hate something, you can pretty easily think of a million different reasons why you hated it. Believe me, I could keep going on and on with this, but suffice it to say that this book was a waste of my time and a perfect 99 cents. I could have bought a cup of tea with that money, and it would have been an infinitely more entertaining exercise. I could use it as a doorstop and it would serve a better purpose than as literature.

Oh, here's a fun tidbit I found out after I read the book. Apparently, Tracy Quan started this whole turd of a 'series' by writing it as a column for Salon, she's a former call-girl herself and probably most of the book was written from experience. Thanks, wikipedia. Now I have an even bigger reason to dislike this woman--you have all this wealth of probably great stories in your life, and this is what you chose to unleash on the world? Maybe you could have been better off selling your stories to someone who could actually write a sentence without sounding like a whiny teenager. Because, lady, your book sucked.


Denesteak said...

Bleh. I guess I'm skipping this one.

Stella Marr said...

As a woman who was a call girl in Manhattan for nearly ten years, I found this book incredibly phony. It feels written from the viewpoint of a madam rather than a call girl. Blech.

Anonymous said...

Lol, this review is both hilarious and on point. Tried to read this book today and I couldn't agree more. Gave up 30 pages in.