Callgirl by Jenny Angell

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Callgirl by Jenny Angell

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: In a novel take on the hooker-lit genre, university professor Jenny becomes a very unlikely candidate for the role of lady of the night in Boston, but that's exactly the role this lady takes on.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: unknown Date: December 2007
Publisher: AVON
ISBN: 978-1847560650

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Jenny Angell, a university professor, is a bit screwed when her rat bastard boyfriend takes off leaving her penniless. Though she considers various other ways to supplement her meagre teaching income, the one that she eventually opts for is, as the title would suggest, that of call girl. Assuming the persona of Tia (an abbreviation of her college nickname, Tia Maria), she signs up to an agency who quickly have her working every night.

I love a good hooker book and have a good half dozen of them on my shelves - the rest are currently on loan to various friends because, as it would seem, I am not the only one in my circle who loves a good hooker book. And, I feel I know what a hooker book should be like - lots of gory details and brilliant couldn't-make-'em-up tales. In the end, I liked this book a lot, but it wasn't really what I was expecting. Most books in this vein don't have all that much of a story to them and tend to be along the lines of "I get paid for sex. This week, on Monday fat smelly guy made me do x, and then on Tuesday, fit millionaire man and I did some lines together before he made me do y". The way you score one over another is in the hilarity of the anecdotes, and the hilarity of the writing. I like things that are hilarious.

This book, though, is different. It focuses a lot on Jenny/Tia's own views of prostitution, her academic background and the other girls she meets while on the job, but there are relatively few anecdotes about her clients and the things they ask her to do. In the end, she manages to sell it as quite a legitimate career choice, at least on a temporary basis, and I couldn't help but wonder how much of this "true story" had been glossed over, or somehow understated, to make it seem like just something even nice girls do every once in a while, no biggie. Other books I've read have shown girls turning to prostitution in a way for an easier life - fewer hours for more money, paid daily, no tax to pay, and no, ahem, work to take home with you when you clock off. They tend to do this instead of a regular job, and enjoy spending their money on pretty things. Again, Jenny/Tia is different because she is working to pay off a debt, and not to treat herself to things, and is doing this alongside a proper job. What this book did touch on, however, was the drug scene in which many working girls find themselves enveloped. This is something I can definitely believe happens in the "real world" of prostitution, but which is very rarely touched upon in the books I have read, which like to keep it a nice world where your biggest danger is the odd, curable STD. When Jenny/Tia almost but not quite develops a drug problem, you do wonder again how true to the story this "true story" book is being - it just seems a bit too neat to think you could get to an edge, lean right over, but then not fall off as you would rightly expect.

Because of her day job, and her background and probably because of a number of other things too, this book doesn't end up being dirty, or wickedly funny, or even a bit fluffy - it actually achieves the unthinkable and borders on "serious" literature thanks to those aforementioned storylines. It's just like any other book about a young, single girl, except this young single girl also happens to have an unmentionable second job. It is a very easy to read book, seems well constructed and it sometimes a bit amusing too, and if you were thinking of breaking into hooker books but didn't want too graphic an introduction, then this could be a good place to start.

When I was researching this author after finishing the book I came across various sites which made reference to some kind of Oprah/James Frey-style scandal when this book was released in the States. I didn't want to ruin the story I had just enjoyed reading so I skipped over these, but if you like your true stories to be properly true, you might like to do your own research before or after reading

Thank you to the publishers for supplying this book. For further reading, Chelsea Handler would also like to tell you about her Horizontal Life or you might like to explore some of the gorier tales of this nature out there, my favourites of which are Going Down and Confessions of a Working Girl.

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Buy Callgirl by Jenny Angell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Callgirl by Jenny Angell at


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