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Everything You Wanted to Know...
Date of Review: 
Aug.10.2009
Reviewer: 
Lulamae
Source: 
Blog

Sterry and Martin have managed to bring together a crazy quilt of essays, and work the fabric of the anthology into a rich tapestry. Their successful collaboration initially grew out of workshops conducted at SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) and came to fruition in part, due to determination to give back to a community to which they swear allegiance, if no longer active participation. The entries are loosely grouped under the book's subtitle: life, love, money and sex; though they could be categorized interchangeably since all are inextricably connected. Some of the narratives are polished and savvy, or wonderfully matter of fact about the all too often hushed and vilified matters of fact under consideration. Some are as hard and rough as drug addiction that dogs a body and soul. Others reveal a tarnished realism about the painful truths of being in the life. Many include family relations issues that are not exclusive to hos, hookers, call girls and rent boys; to one degree or another we all know mothers who are witches and fathers who are brutes, lovers and others who berate or betray. The most compelling are those which give voice to the most vulnerable, in the chapter written by sexually exploited youth. Helping Daddy Pay the Rent is a devastating indictment of societal neglect and despicable acts of parental desperation combust in one abused child that will tear at your heart.

The writing is diverse and eclectic, a mirror into the nature of the industry itself. Sex workers with advanced academic degrees, porn stars and anonymous phone operators, exotic dancers in various states of gender and undress, have more in common than sex for money; they are united in their courage to tell their stories. They unabashedly relate their emotions, actions and reactions, in situations from victimization to domination, hunger to satiation; size twelve stiletto wearing cross dressers, full body massage providers, plaster casted exhibitionists all tell their tales in gripping first person I-live(d)-it-so-there's-no-sugar-coating-it manner. Hearts, heads and other assorted body parts, seedy strip joints, broken down bars and spirits, upscale hotels and high rollers are exposed with unflinching candor and gritty authenticity, bringing to light the world of industrial sex workers.

This book is more than an interesting and affecting read. In its entirety, in its insistence that the gamut of personal histories about sex/money/power/frailty is a reflection of the human condition, it speaks to a broad audience. A bit of paraphrasing may serve to place the content in its most valuable context: Roman philosopher, Terence, said nothing in humanity can be alien to man; and renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung said that light is revealed by uncovering shadow. HHCG&RB presents the universality of ancient archetypal themes playing out in modern day scenes, and in doing so, uncovers shadow for all.