Today is a day for endless cups of tea because wow the need for caffeine is real. But, I'm here and still catching up on 2018 reads, edging closer and closer to finally being able to review things straight after I finish them (the idea at this point seems absolutely unattainable, but it'll happen).
The life of a call girl in literature is, in my opinion, explored in a way that's both not very thorough and also, probably not very accurate. Call girls tend to be used as a foil to highlight certain aspects of someone else's character (e.g. making us realise a guy is a cheat on his wife), or they turn up as a murder victim. But there aren't many occasions where the main character in a book is a call girl, or at least, I haven't come across it very often.
Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl is written by Tracy Quan, an ex-call girl turned novelist, who uses her experiences to really tackle stereotypes around sex work. The main character of the book, Nancy Chan, is a prostitute who largely has sex with older gentlemen. She's reached a stage in her career where things are a little easier money-wise, but as she's getting older she's starting to face the idea of a future away from sex work. There's one other driving force for this: her fiancee Matt who has no idea what her real job is.
I found it pretty hard to engage with this book, and from the reviews I've read of it, it seems as though a lot of other people feel the same. The language is quite cold and distant, where it would work so well as a book filled with emotion. The stories she tells offer an interesting insight into life as a call girl, but don't delve into her feelings about it.
A good portion of the book is based around her lying to her fiancee about what she does, and it's not told in a way that's justified: the protagonist knows that what she's doing is wrong, but she's stringing this poor guy along leading a double life. The ending is also very abrupt: we never find out what happens with her deciding whether or not to tell him, and it all just tails off randomly.
I'm giving this three stars because it did offer an interesting insight into life as a call girl, told by someone who knows what she's talking about, but the whole idea of a plot or any kind of narrative flow seems to have been a bit lost along the way.