Candy Girl by Diablo Cody

Review also posted at Books. Lists. Life.

Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Candy Girl? Subtitled A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, Candy Girl is the memoir of Diablo Cody, a nice girl who started stripping in order to challenge herself to something scary and a little dangerous. She had a good job, a good boyfriend, didn’t have a background of prostitution, or drugs, or sexual assault or abuse. One day she walked past a strip club advertising for Amateur Night and decided to give it a go. This book is a recounting of that year.

I admit to a little bit of fascination with strippers (along with a lot of other people, judging by the rash of stripper/call girl memoirs I’ve seen around lately.) Like most everything I read, I requested this one from Paperbackswap and it sat on the shelves for a good long while. With the recent spotlight on Cody due to the success of Juno, I was inspired to pick it up. I brought it out to the living room and it sat here on my end table for a while. Last night (yes, just last night!) I picked it up and started it. I was a bit dubious during the first chapter. Cody uses a lot of slang and it really felt a bit overdone. I have so many books that I considered just giving up that quick, but I decided I owed it a couple of chapters at least. After the first two chapters she really cuts back on the slang and it becomes a lot more readable. (There is still a lot of slang, just not like in the first chapters- or the last chapter. It’s almost like she wrote those to pitch the book and then her style smoothed out during the actual writing of it.)

The book is a bit of an eye opener. I admit, I’ve never been in a strip club. I’ve never seen Showgirls.* I have no interest in male strippers. I have been in Video Blue exactly once- as part of a Bachelorette party, a phenomenon she addresses in the book. I am amazed at the line between legal and illegal and how closely the clubs skirt that line. I was fascinated by what works and what is sexy and what isn’t (Dayglo bikini gets you lapdances but fishnets are for the waitress, who knew??) Obviously, if I read the book so quickly, I ended up enjoying it. It’s not hard to read at all, no thought to it. If you’re at all offended by sex or nudity you should certainly stay away (if you didn’t know that already, I’ll just state the obvious.) If you’re looking for an account of how a “nice girl” could possibly find herself stripping, this is a good place to start.

*This reminds me, is anyone else watching Step it up & Dance on Bravo? I didn’t recognize Elizabeth Berkley at first.

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