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Ivy League Stripper Hardcover – May 31, 1995

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From a working-class family, Mattson was seriously in debt after two years at Brown University, where she wanted to remain to achieve her dream?an Ivy League education. Having tried her hand at a series of jobs that still left her unable to make ends meet, she took a shot at stripping, which, she quickly discovered, generated enough income to finance her education and then some. Moreover, she asserts, this career, which she embarked on with some trepidation, proved to be immensely empowering: drawing on the work of Camille Paglia, Mattson argues that men's desire for the female body empowers women who exploit this. While not all readers may agree with her version of gender politics, Mattson's account of how she negotiated an often bizarrely disjunctive double life during her remaining time at Brown is interesting and inspirational, and her commentary on the worlds between which she moved is clear-eyed and astute. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“An honest and thoughtful look at the business of sexual fantasy.” (Playboy)

“The saga of a girl who discovered the naked truth about financing an education.” (People)

“Interesting and inspirational.” (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; 1st edition (May 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559702907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559702904
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I find the incredibly negative reviews of Ivy League Stripper interesting. I almost wonder if I read a different book than some of these people. Perhaps they were written by some of her rivals. Who knows?
Heidi does not "advocate" stripping anywhere in the book that I can tell, nor did she when I saw her on Real Personal with Bob Berkowitz. In fact, she made a point of saying she did not recommend it as a way of earning money. On TV and in the book she made it quite clear that it is not an easy or safe way to make money, however addictive that money might be. My sense of the book was that she came across as just about the only undamaged person in the business. She did discuss topics like drug use, prostitution, money addiction, and self-esteem, but since the book was about her personal journey, she didn't dwell on the problems of others. Perhaps it didn't appeal to people who wanted a more dramatic, negative, and victimized approach. She never said anything to give even the slightest impression that she was attempting a tour de force of sex work in the US. (I recommend Susie Bright or Carol Queen for that sort of thing.) This was a book about her personal journey, not yours. If your experience was different, then write your own book so we can read it, too.
I'll admit that my experience with "exotic dancers" is somewhat limited. I have only been to the clubs a half dozen or so times, and I don't know any dancers personally. I do hear by second and third hand stories that the scene does have a high rate of drug (including alcohol - it is a drug) use, prostitution, and other unsavory activities. There would probably be far less of such things if sex work were not forced into marginal areas of towns and the people involved treated like garbage by so-called "good citizens.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book when I was 23 and thought, "Wow! Even I could be a stripper!" Heidi makes this profession seem easy, fun and extremely profitable. I worked part-time as a stripper for three years after that and it was nothing like her book. She shows the fantasy side of stripping but doesn't touch on the realistic side. Now that I have survived through that experience, I realize how misleading the book was. If you want a true-to-life account of stripping, read STRIP CITY. I would, however, enjoy reading about how Heidi's life turned out after college.
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Format: Hardcover
My review is on the content of the book, not my judgment of the author, or what work she performed for a living.

My first problem with the book is the writing. This is a college graduate, from Brown? Most high school students can write better sentences. The book is filled with run-on sentences, sentence fragments, etc. Was there not an editor for the book? The poor writing affected the readibility of the book. This was a major problem in the book, and the reason I could only give a two-star rating.

The subject matter of the book was intriguing. Heidi provided an insight into a world few of us will either know or experience. However, the book does suffer from a lack of credibility. At several points in the book I found myself not fully believing the story being told. I don't think the author lied about her experiences, but I also do not believe she told the "whole" truth. I never fully believed her version of the soap dish incident. If she told the truth, she must have had the worst lawyer in the country to lose that case.

The author stated many times that her stripping was just to earn money to pay for college and it would not change her, but it did. Not only did she become addicted to the glamour and money (how many times did she count her money?), but she continued to strip long after her college was paid for and she had graduated.

My next problem with the book was the disjointed thoughts. In mid-paragraph, she would switch from one thought to another for no apparent reason. One would have no relation to the other. There was no coherant theme or thought pattern to any chapter. It was like a child rambling and babbling one random thought after another.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Heidi's book was a real surprise. It is well written. I often do not read a book word for word, but I read this one that way. Fascinating story. It tells how corrupt the administration and one of the icons of Brown University can be. Heidi is a bright person, gifted with intelligence, ambition, and extraordinary blond/blue eyed beauty (even though she is not buxom) that is her free pass in life. That being the case, she still had to work hard for small wages before she became a dancer. She has to face cancer. It is interesting to watch her slide, almost seamlessly, into exotic dancing. Of course her primary and sole motive is making the money she needs for an Ivy university education. As she becomes accustomed to stripping for money--lots of it-- she begins to get sexually aroused by her dancing, she revels in her incredible power over horny men, has sex with macho Mafioso enforcers, and goes on a long self-righteous ego trip validating her dancing. This may sound somewhat seedy, and it is, but she is a strong, intelligent, focused woman whose story is well worth reading.
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