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Legal Tender: True Tales of a Brothel Madam Hardcover – September 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
I did a lot of research on legal Nevada brothels while writing the screenplay for Lady Magdalene's earlier in 2006, and I wish I'd had Legal Tender to read when I was doing my research. It would have saved me a lot of time.
From my own research I knew about half of what Laraine Russo Harper writes about in her book on the topic of Nevada brothels. It's the half I couldn't get at -- even by interviewing several women who'd worked as legal prostitutes in the brothels -- that makes this book so valuable.
This book is, in many ways, a psychological profile of the legal sex industry in Nevada, and you learn a lot about why Nevada appears to be different from the other 49 states in its attitudes not only about prostitution but a lot of other social issues. This book gives a clear sense of how the political consensus that makes Nevada more libertarian in its social policies than other states has been maintained in an age where social conservatism and feminist liberalism have often combined to define inter-office dating as sexual harassment, sex-for-cash as oppression of women, and where gay politics has redefined a gay lifestyle as being just fine for anyone except, apparently, Roman Catholic clergy.Read more ›
Harper was recruited to run the brothel by a friend who had been impressed by her tact and commitment as a casino host. After visiting the dingy trailers that comprised the sex palace, Harper accepted and began a thorough renovation, transforming the brothel into a full-service resort.
Most of Legal Tender revolves around Harper's struggle to bring class to the tacky brothel scene. One chapter recounts the eccentricities of various "ladies" employed in the brothel, while another discusses the foibles of the customers. It's told in a humorous vein that tends toward the sophomoric side. Also, much of the humor is at the expense of the customers, or at least their personal hygiene and fashion sense-not exactly a selling point to the potential patron.
The details of how the brothel works are interesting from many perspectives, but Harper isn't content to just tell us about life as a madam. Instead, she wants us to believe that brothels are beautiful, egalitarian oases of fulfillment: "The ladies," she writes, " did not judge a person based on their looks as we, as a society, tend to do. It was a business and everyone was a potential customer." Harper goes on about how it doesn't matter what kind of car you drive or what you do for a living: the brothel ladies are there to make you happy. Couldn't you say that about any business? I'm sure the folks at Trader Joe's don't ring up my order because they like the cut of my jib. They've got stuff to sell, and I've got money. If I didn't give them money, they wouldn't let me walk out of the store with my groceries.Read more ›
I purchased the Kindle version of this book, and was annoyed to no end. Every three to four pages the sentences were cut off, and I had no idea what happened. I can "imagine" what she wrote, but it's not the same thing. This was through the WHOLE BOOK. Then the next page started a new thought, and I was lost. The other person that reviewed the book purchasing the Kindle version could not have read it, having giving book a glowing review, just because she knows Mrs. Harper.
Four stars for the book. Zero stars for the Kindle version of the book. I returned the Kindle edition of book for a refund, and will buy a print copy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is awesome, My wife worked for Lorraine -post Madame, and her style of running a business is unique. She's an amazing writer and this book reflects that. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tara
I worked for Laraine as a cook during this time. She has "the ranch" viewed perfectly. Well done.Published 10 months ago by dawne picciolo
My friend who lives in Pahrump, Nevada told me to get this book, because it was fun reading. Well she was right!Published on May 1, 2013 by Rosemary D. Tortes