Thursday, May 17, 2018


There are many movies, especially the exploitation ones in the 70's, that present prostitution and pimps in a heightened way, whether it's glorifying a pimp's excess, or soaking us in the tragedy of it all, like on HBO's Hookers at the Point.

This noir does something different, showing us a less melodramatic transition that two people take into the business and letting us see how easy it can be to get caught up. We follow Lester Banks, a depressed loser who is barely making it by driving a cab, and his apartment neighbor Chelsea, a college student who has equally terrible money problems and finds solace in the arms of lovers every night. They decide to team up and go into business together, selling Chelsea's sex to horny men online while Lester provides transportation and protection. And as you can guess, it doesn't take long at all for this situation to go bad really fast.

Cizak double dares you to judge these characters. There were many times in the book where I was tempted to, but realized that it would be too easy and unfair to dismiss these two as simply: the loose girl who doesn't respect herself and the asshole that takes advantage of her. Cizak even has a chorus of bench ladies who live in their apartment building who judge berate the two constantly and I didn't want to be like them. We see everything through the lens of a man who's too broke and broken to care about much of anything. Because of this, the book's tone is very nihilistic and bitter and makes it challenging to empathize.

And it was tragic witnessing Lester and Chelsea's increasing resentment toward one another as they fell deeper into self-loathing. My main issue with the book is the conclusion and the fact that it feels like there wasn't as big of a consequence for Lester's actions as there were for Chelsea's. Books like this almost always end in destruction, and it's unfair that the woman in this situation bears the brunt of it more than the guy. But hell, I don't know, maybe life ain't fair...

In the end, it's a tricky book and not for everyone, but I enjoy books that challenge me in this way, daring me to follow unlikable characters, forcing me to see them and understand them in all their complexity.


1 comment:

  1. Wish you had a follow your blog deal. Just found you today as the author shared your review on FB.


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