Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely StripperCandy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a weird trip. It does not unfold as do others of its ilk, a fact acknowledged by the author in a little afterword (which redeemed the whole thing for me). Cody fooled me. So, let me explain.

This is a nice, white, middle class girl's trip into the dark side, only she doesn't quite know why she does it and neither do we (at least, until that final 6-8 pages). We get, in equal portions, funny, raw, wry, cruel, sickening, too-hip, trying-too-hard, and painfully-honest. She's not trying to make a political point. She's not on a feminist soap box. She's not handing out excuses or explanations, or accusations or blame. She's just telling us "Hey, I did this. This is what I saw. This is what I did. Boo-ya."

And it works. At times I didn't think it was going to work. Really, I almost stopped reading a time or two because (read my status notes!), trained as I am by other memoirs in which a Nice Girl/Guy does Something Transgressive and Has A Crisis, I was waiting for the big boom, the disaster, the Horrible Thing. Didn't happen. What I thought was a build up toward a climax wasn't anything but time going by. My bad. Cody maybe didn't know where she was going until she got there, but it Once we both got there, I was good with it.

You could, if you wanted, take this book apart and use it in a number of ways, but you'd be pushing. Cody isn't going there. You'd have to pause at some points and put some words in her mouth or translate her unambiguous text through some version of Babelfish. There are no big lessons here, no realizations about culture, no sociopolitical conclusions. It is, to borrow a hackneyed phrase, what it is. And I like it a lot more because of that.

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