Book 56 of my 2014 Reading Challenge
Candy Girl by Diablo Cody
Summary (via the book jacket)Diablo Cody was twenty-four years old when she had a revelation - surely, there had to be more to life than typing copy at an ad agency. On a whim, she signed up for amateur night at Minneapolis's seedy Skyway Lounge. While she didn't win a prize that night, Diablo discovered a rush she had never felt before, and an experience she couldn't forget. Although she didn't quite fit the ordinary profile of a stripper - with a supportive boyfriend, equal parts brainpower and beauty, from a good family, and out to do a little soul searching - she soon immersed herself in this enticing life full time.
But don't be misled - this is not the story of a girl gone wrong who find herself stripping just to scrape by while living life on the wild side. Far from it. It's the captivating fish-out-of-water story of a young woman who tried something outrageously new, providing a behind-the-scenes look at this dark world while she keeps her wits - and wit - about her. Chronicling her descent into the skin trade - from quiet gentlemen's clubs to multilevel sex palaces - and the effect it had on her self-image and her relationship with her now-husband, Candy Girl will keep you entertained until the very end.
I love Diablo Cody's work. She's an excellent writer and her voice is so unique and entertaining. She's very descriptive; for example, she described a place as smelling "like an old rug that had been latch-hooked with navel lint and cigar butts" (yuck but I can picture it). She's full of witty quips as well, such as when she described veteran strippers as "punch-drunk on Haterade".
I was surprised to discover this book came out before her Juno success. Not because they're related in any way but because I assumed that she used the attention gained to generate interest in her unusual experiences. The book definitely stands on its own merits and I probably would've read and enjoyed it without the name recognition, but I'm just sharing my own assumption and how it was proven wrong. I can be wrong sometimes! (good thing my husband doesn't read my reviews...wouldn't want that admission to haunt me later)
My criticism is slightly tongue-in-cheek. Why call Iowa a "dank armpit"? I can expect Midwest scorn from other areas of the country but c'mon, it's hard to stomach in a book taking place in Minneapolis...Iowa is not inferior to Minnesota!
Based on the content I won't list this as a blanket recommendation for everyone. But if you can handle some squick, this book is well-written and very readable.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"...I'd always been a well-behaved human female. Evidence: I'd never ridden on a motorcycle, not even a weak Japanese one. I'd never gotten knocked up or vacuum-aspirated. I'd received every available Catholic sacrament with the exception of matrimony and last rites. I'd completed college in eight tidy semesters (one nervous breakdown per). I'd never thrown a glass of Delirium Tremens in anyone's face. I'd never even five-fingered a lipstick at the Ben Franklin. I was a drag, baby. I could feel my wild oats dwindling. My mid-twenties crisis weighted my gut like a cosmic double cheeseburger. I guess that's one reason I ended up half-naked at the Skyway Lounge."
"There was one inviolate principle that even I came to recognize: Men dig white shoes."
"The world of stripping is populated with such contradictions, suburban girls with bruised veins, ghetto girls on Atkins, innocents who strip to get dirty and dirty girls who strip to clean up. The whole scene is bananas."