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Paying for It Hardcover – May 10, 2011
Frequently Bought Together
From Publishers Weekly
A compelling look into one man's history of employing prostitutes as a replacement for romantic love, this graphic novel is sure to create controversy. Brown has produced acclaimed but brutally honest autobiographical works before, but here he adds a new didactic element. In June 1996 Brown's then girlfriend broke up with him. After three years of celibacy and his growing conviction that romantic love is destructively possessive, Brown works up the courage to see a legal prostitute and finds the "burden" of anxiety over whether to pursue a relationship with any particular woman forever removed. The next 200 pages are an explicit—but far from erotic—dossier of the various women he did business with, until he meets one that he ends up with in a monogamous—but still financial—relationship. Although Brown intends the work to be a compassionate look at a profession that helps people, he unfortunately goes out of his way to anonymize the sex workers—never showing their faces and telling the story in tiny, cramped panels, giving the whole thing a voyeuristic feel. A lengthy appendix arguing that a system where paying for sex is preferable to romance-based methods is unlikely to persuade many readers. (May)
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“It has the thoroughness of a history book yet reads with the personalized vision of a novel.” ―Time on Louis Riel
“If you love to read a gripping story, if you are awed by the talent of an artist, then look no further:Chester Brown's Louis Riel is comix history in the making, and with it, history never looked so good.” ―The Globe and Mail Book Review on Louis Riel
Top Customer Reviews
Most men might find this sort of domestic arrangement unacceptable, but Brown seems to casually accept it with no hard feelings. As underground comics legend Robert Crumb notes in his Introduction, and Brown's friend Seth observes in Appendix 23, the author is a rather cold fish with "a very limited emotional range compared to most people." So, after enduring two years of celibacy following his break-up with Sook-Yin, Brown decides that "paying for it" is the best way to reconcile his desire to have sex with his determination to NOT have a girlfriend. It's an odd choice, but one he believes is the most appropriate for him, given his disillusionment with even the concept of romantic love.
Unfortunately for Brown, prostitution is just as illegal in his native Canada as it is in the United States. This makes him more than a bit paranoid when it comes to trying to arrange his first appointments with the female escorts he sees advertising in some of Toronto's weekly newspapers. Brown's fumbling initial experiences are amusing, and even somewhat touching in an awkward way. But he eventually figures out how it all works.
From there it's onward to a revolving menu of carnal comfort food, at least as he describes it. Brown circulates among roughly two dozen different partners, before finally settling into monogamy with one.Read more ›
Seth called Chester a robot with a limited emotional range. However, the part that hit home was when Seth talked about an argument depicted in the book where Chester comes off better in his book than he did in real life and if Seth wasn't as good of a debater as he could have been it's because he isn't thinking about libertarian politics 24/7 and it's exhausting talking the Chester because Chester thoroughly researches libertarian politics.
This is what kills the book for me. It's a modestly interesting story about a man who decides that he is sick of romantic love but still wants sex. Then it dovetails into these encounters but also the reaction of his friends when he tells them about it.
The problem with the book is that Chester won't keep attempting to argue for the completely unfettered free market in terms of prostitution. Even reasonable arguments like legalization with taxation or legalization with regulation are too much for him.
By the appendix, he's arguing against everything that is not the complete free prostitution and his arguments began to start stretching things. He believes that prostitution is not wrong because even if sex is sacred, churches make money from sacred objects.Read more ›
Brown has obviously had it with the notion of "romantic love", yet still wants to have sex. He decides to peruse the services of a prostitute, yet has no idea how to go about this task. After cruising streets he believes prostitutes would hang out, he goes online to find one. He has quite a few encounters with different ladies... some with regularity, some only once. He encounters many problems... fear he might get assaulted, concern for their working conditions, age, etc... wrestling with certain moral dilemma, even feelings of attachment that comes up for one of the ladies. Brown pulls no punches and doesn't hesitate to portray himself badly. He's particularly hung up about age, as a woman in her late 20s is deemed "too old".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The subject of prostitution is so charged with gender-conflict that I was amazed to read a book that approaches the subject with cool compassion rather than -- take your pick --... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Manjula Padmanabhan
DON'T WASTE YOUR $ & TIME WITH THIS CRAP! This is the most STUPID book I ever read in my life!Published 5 months ago by THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!
What a sad commentary of a person's life. It is sad that a person has pay for such an sacred intimate act of love and justify it with banal justification for it. I hope that Mr. Read morePublished 5 months ago by The Reader
The positive points of Brown's narrative are undermined by the needless appendix. I was particularly troubled by his views on sexual slavery and human trafficking.Published 8 months ago by NEG P
The story is good and realistic. The drawings add a special soul to it.
I really enjoyed it.
Very fun and interesting read. But wow, I read half the book in one hour. It reads like an adult comic book. Might be a little overpriced for that reason. Read morePublished 11 months ago by kcoffin73
Radical and outstanding! Argues the case for the morality and practicality of prostitution as a sometimes-wonderful form of dating. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kyrel Z.