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The Last of the Live Nude Girls: A Memoir Paperback – August 9, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593764006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593764005
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,483,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Last of the Live Nude Girls:

"The most compelling aspect of Last of the Live Nude Girls is that it illustrates just how easily one can wind up living a life outside the margins." —Portland Mercury

"McClear writes about her secret peep-show existence with the ribald expertise of a natural storyteller, but it’s her deeper exploration, into the motivations behind her actions, that makes the book both memorable and highly relevant." -Daily Beast

"Sheila McClear's sharp, sweetly personal account of New York's vanished tenderloin asks the question if such supposedly degrading places are such a blight, why do we remember them with such fondness? A fascinating and honest read." —Mark Jacobson, author of The Lampshade andAmerican Gangster

"McClear is most convincing and most moving, in fact, on the complex relationship between the sex trade and her own frustrated sex life." -Public Books

"Sheila McClear's beautifully detailed account of her life as a peep-show girl reads as both a eulogy and a paean to the freaks and misfits who have long given their souls to the city. Filled with psychological insight, metaphor, and — above all — empathy, this book should be read by anyone who has ever taken or even contemplated extreme measures to escape the pain and tedium of life, with the hope of finding some meaning or redemption along the way." —Matthew Gallaway, author of The Metropolis Case

“Ms. McClear’s closeness to the material most enriches her reporting when it comes to her coworkers. Despite their outsized personalities, they could have wound up sounding as interchangeable as their stage names, but with Ms. McClear’s writing, even their tattoos are memorable. Their substance abuse becomes familiar, occasionally even endearing, in a madcap way. Ms. McClear also has a keen ear for dialogue.” —New York Observer

“Sheila McClear is a reminder that kids can still arrive in New York City from Nowheresville and break in with some serious grit, hard work, and talent.” —Out Magazine

"Everyone is required to buy two copies." —Gawker

"Eye-opening, gritty, and compelling." —The Paris Review Online

"A collection of disciplined and rewarding New York tales." -The L Magazine

About the Author

Sheila McClear is a reporter at the New York Daily News. Her writing has also appeared on Gawker.com and the New York Post. She lives in Brooklyn.

More About the Author

Sheila McClear is a reporter at the New York Daily News. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Post and on Gawker.com. She lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

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Sheila McClear tells a great personal story.
bookhungry
McClear unflinchingly undresses one last time for this book, recounting her coming of age and sexuality.
Ophelia
I loved this book and heartily recommend it.
Linda Linguvic

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Times Square in New York City is not what it used to be just a few years ago. Even under the strictness of Mayor Giuliani's anti-porn drive starting in 1999, though, there were still peep shows, places where a guy could pay some money and watch a naked woman behind a window. Peeps shows are still there. To them in 2006 came Sheila McClear, a college graduate who fled a punk collective in Detroit and just wanted to see New York. Her experiences in the booths, the guys on the other side of the window, the women she worked with, and the men she worked for are all subjects in _The Last of the Live Nude Girls: A Memoir_ (Soft Skull Press). McClear thus joins the memoirists of the sex trade like Lily Burana and Diablo Cody, but her experiences in New York are unique, and she recalls them with clarity and even sweetness, a becoming objectivity (perhaps borne of that glass shield between herself and the outside world), and good humor, and also without a shred of judgmentality. This is hardly an uplifting account, but is superb as readable memories of a time, place, and shared activity that are worth preserving.

With zero money and zero prospects in the big city, and having failed to find work as a waitress, barista, or telemarketer, McClear answered a Craigslist ad for dancers, and failed at lapdancing because it required too much socializing. It was easier to get in the box at the peep shows. The deal is, there is the woman in a closet-sized booth with a big glass window. There are curtains or other devices to obscure the view from the customer until he pays. Send money through the slot and the curtain gets raised for a few minutes.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ophelia on July 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
McClear unflinchingly undresses one last time for this book, recounting her coming of age and sexuality. First from a small town, then to Detroit, before fleeing the dying, once great leviathan of the Motor City, and onwards to the bright lights of New York. She unflinchingly tells of her times in the Peeps trying to make it by while describing what is was like to work in a quickly dying genre of smut. I supposed if video killed the radio star, internet porn killed the peep shows. This memoir is witty and very well written, at times funny and sad, that shines a light into a interesting, albeit dark corner of NYC and an educated girl searching for something who stayed there a time. Well worth the read. [...] for a longer, professional review. Well worth the fifteen bucks to buy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Larosa on June 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In her first year or so upon arriving in NYC, Sheila McClear, now a journalist, logged a fair amount of time dancing nude behind a glass wall in a couple of notorious Times Square peep shows. It is a world fast fading now but it was still alive as recently as 2005 which is when McClear did her prancing and dancing. This book is a look behind the glass and into a world few of us will ever enter.

For that reason alone, this book is valuable -- just to get into the mind set of why a young, intelligent woman would take up this lifestyle. McClear explains that and so much more in clear, engaging prose that draws you into a world most of us would shun. It is dark, sometimes depressing, funny, touching -- in short, the gamut of human emotions.

Her writing seems to grow as the book unfolds until the last few paragraphs which are absolutely entrancing. I'm glad she made her way out of there to a lifestyle she might have thought impossible back then.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RSelective on December 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Indeed excellent material and glad someone cared enough. They were young girls who put themselves through college too. Some who were murdered and never had a chance to achieve the better life they searched. It was nostalgic and riveting. A tale well described though in a different era. Not that of Show World but never the less interesting to read. Must get book of the year for Sheila McClear tells it as she sees it and kept my attention. Thank God she found success and blessings to her again for even writing about it. Allowing others too observe the taboo life so many igno
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writer of this memoir worked the "live nude" booths in several sleazy Times Square establishments a few years ago. Her job consisted of performing a short nude erotic show behind a glass partition of a booth for a man who paid $30 for the privilege. She had come to New York from Michigan, hoping to be a writer, but soon she was caught up in the need to make a living, got involved in this lifestyle and spent several years living the seedy existence of the women who had no other skills but using their bodies for men's enjoyment.

Now a writer for the New York Post, Ms. McClear has put together a book which brings the world she formerly lived in to the curious reader, especially those who walked past those establishments often but never really understood what they were about or the way the job impacted the women and distorted their worldview.

So well written that I couldn't put stop reading, I soon identified with the author as she changed into a street smart victim of this unique lifestyle. Nobody forced her to do this. She made her choices herself. And, for a while she enjoyed it but was wise enough to leave when she saw the effect it had her.

There are also sections of the book about this sleaze business in general and the history of the politics of New York regarding this kind of entertainment. I loved this book and heartily recommend it.
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