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Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex Paperback – July 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; Original edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593762410
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762414
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A]n eye-opening, occasionally astonishing, brutally honest and frequently funny collection . . . unpolished, unpretentious, and riveting. . . [a] rare ability to tell the truth, an ability that education and sophistication often serve to conceal.” —The New York Times

"Sterry, author of sex-worker memoir Chicken (a fact he mentions often) compiles an exhaustive (and exhausting) collection of writing from sex workers of all stripes. The sprawling project, grouped loosely by topic (Life, Love, Money, Sex, etc.), offers insight into seemingly all aspects of the sex trade: high-profile celebrities like Xaviera “Happy Hooker” Hollander and Nina Hartley make notable contributors, but it’s the unknown writers who will stick. The selections from the book’s closing section alone, written by members of Sterry’s San Francisco writer’s workshop for sex workers, range from triumphant to harrowing, making up for a lack of style or form with passion. Aside from exposing the complex web of relationships among phone sex operators, dancers, massage parlor workers, prostitutes and their customers, the book is heavy with raw emotions ranging from celebratory to shameful, giving armchair sociologists plenty to ponder. It’s not all dark and heavy: Sterry’s own account of his experience as a birthday present for an 82-year-old grandmother is touching and sentimental; veteran performer Annie Sprinkle is characteristically blunt, funny and honest. Best consumed in small doses, this volume houses some real gems amongst a number of redundant space-fillers." —Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I devoured the book.
Katie Gal
The editors are careful to include introductions to many stories, adding a layer of personality by describing the author of each piece.
Moira King
This book is beautiful and I thank every writer for putting their stories in it so someone like me can read it.
SerenityRed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kemble Scott on August 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
I went to Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco to hear some of the contributors read from this remarkable anthology. These are people who reside on the front lines of humanity, experiencing life's extremes. There's no doubt these stories, poems and essays are naughty and provocative, but they are also ultimately revealing about America's obsession and hang-ups with sex. Putting this book together was a labor of love for David Henry Sterry and R. J. Martin (no strangers to hardscrabble lives themselves), and it's a tremendous achievement.
--Kemble Scott, bestselling author of SoMa and The Sower
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Palmisano on September 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A most interesting read.
A new view point of those in the sex industry, when you find out they are most times, the boy or girl next door. If your looking for a book full of trash, this is not for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James R. Holland VINE VOICE on January 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This anthology of writings by people who have all been part of the sex trade is much better than many of the others on the market that are simply porn masquerading as contemporary literature or research studies. The two previous books this reviewer was given to review went right into the trash where they belonged after reading only a portion of the stories and then checking the biographies of the contributors. The stated agendas of the writers didn't match the drivel contained in their books. Those books didn't have any redeeming values. This book, however, has real value.
One of the two editors of this book wrote a best selling book, "Chicken," but has long since retired from the sex trade and is now volunteering with a San Francisco mission-like organization called SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) "that offers medical, emotional, and vocational help to people who've worked in the sex business." As that editors says: "Since I was living in San Francisco at the time, I began by establishing a writing program in the basement."
"Every Tuesday afternoon in the basement of SAGE on Mission Street, in San Francisco, right across the street from a porn emporium, my ex-literary agent/now wife...ran a writer's workshop."
"My wife, who had absolutely never sold sex for money, was shocked to discover that the level of writing talent and story telling skill was often higher in that basement than it was among the published authors who sent her manuscripts in her capacity as a literary agent."
"Bear in mind that all the stories written at SAGE are first drafts, written in forty minutes. Which, to my mind, makes them even more remarkable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Slavin on September 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has six sections. It is comprised mostly of short stories as well as some poems written, by my count, 69 authors, some of whom remain anonymous. A significant number are by gay males. Any compendium featuring so many different perspectives is bound to be somewhat uneven in content. Some of the stories are quite compelling. Particularly those involving the abuse and exploitation of minors. The ingrained contempt held by some providers for customers is evidenced. Though several stories speak of some affection for some customers. A worthwhile read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Ray VINE VOICE on January 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys is a collection of essays, stories and poems by people who work or have previously worked in the sex industry. Unlike similar books, this one stands out by portraying the full spectrum of experiences: from the 'happy hooker' who feel empowered by her work, to the child fleeing sexual abuse from her father who finds herself forced into a life of prostitution at the cruel hands of a pimp. Representatives from just about every aspect of sex work are represented here, from phone entertainers to street hustlers to highly paid escorts.

Not all of the pieces focus on the work itself; one of the most moving is one woman's account of her mother's rejection when she reveals that she has been stripping. This book is a good place to start for the reader curious about what it is like working in the sex industry as it shows the good and bad but is always honest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sex workers speak for themselves in this blunt collection of essays, "Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys" edited by David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin, Jr. Sterry is best-known as the author of the memoir "Chicken" which describes the nine-month period he spent as a male prostitute at the age of 17 for wealthy and elderly women in San Francisco. Sterry points out in his introduction that participants in the sex industry range in character from the poor and abused who tend to be characterized as victims, to middle and upper-class women and men who enter the trade with their eyes open. He writes "[o]ne of the saddest things I discovered as I penetrated deeper and deeper [sic] into this sex business war was that neither side seems to be able to easily acknowledge the truth of the other." (p. 5)

The essays bring the perspectives of the abused to the seemingly empowered to bear on the timeless exchange of sex for money. Some of the essays are by sex workers who have earned advanced degrees and professions while others are by the most abused streetwalker. The essays describe the participants' attitudes towards their trade, their backgrounds, and their relationship to family friends, clients, coworkers, and pimps. Some of the essays show literary polish while others are raw. The latter essays have more of a sense if immediacy, passion, and, frequently, anger.

Sterry divides the collection into six chapters, the first four of which are captioned "life", "love", "money", and "sex". The final two chapters of the book differ in character from what proceeds. They consist of short paragraphs of largely anonymous writing which results from various outreach programs in which sex workers are encouraged to reflect upon their lives and put their thoughts on paper.
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