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I wish it hadn t, but this book made me profoundly angry.When you read someone s account of their own experiences, you want to be nodding your head you want generally to feel like they are being frank with you, or at least frank with themself about themself Reading Prostitute Laundry is like being strapped to a chair while someone plays you a propaganda film about their own life Prostitute Laundry is a published collection of Tiny Letter email blasts taken from over the course of about a year and a half, authored by at the time sex worker Charlotte Shane It is full of sex, lots of sex, but you don t not sign up for that when you start reading a book with prostitute in the title, and anyways there s nothing wrong with that to begin with And it s not even the sex parts that offended me, because I live in 2017 and not Utah, it was the love parts Yes, the love was so, so offensive.Try this Seeing him somewhere other than his condo made me aware of his larger life, which made me curious about him, and so I asked if he got hit on a lot by guys at the gym I knew he did And it made me happy to think about all these people wanting my George Like when I told him it makes me jealous to think of him coming on another girl s face, but jealous in the fun way. My problem is that as I read Prostitute Laundry, I was forced to be complicit in the narrator s sense of herself, her rationalizations, her heavily cropped self characterizations, her explanations for each of her thoughts and actions and how they, even if they were selfish and she knew it, were actually not selfish because insert flouncy, self important metaphor that explains nothing but agreeably changes the subject People get so hot and bothered about Lena Dunham for being a naive navel gazer but at least she has the guts to be 1% self effacing.What is jealous in the fun way I felt like every other paragraph I was being sold a way of thinking around something I had assumed was good logic like how imagining someone you have feelings for having sex with someone else is going to make you feel weird, if not bad Or that if someone is trying to be an asshole to you, he is actually being an asshole to you George and I don t sex the way most people sex, and that s ok The fact that he d fuck someone while claiming to be in pain didn t, for me, negate his claims to care about me But because I have sex to comfort myself, not to damage someone else, I wouldn t use the fact of that sex cruelly I had no idea how else to interpret him bringing it up, though I wanted to Was he petty enough to hope to hurt me that way, or stupid enough to believe that was a good way to hurt me Me, who d never once objected to his many partners or shamed him or done anything other than encourage himIt is frustrating to experience someone go through a series of sexual and emotional roller coasters, most of which are self inflicted, and have them at every turn refuse to feel negative feelings.There are several annoying things at play that make this book almost completely unbearable for me Just one is the narrator s insistence on couching every feeling in terms to ensure that feeling comes across as extra different or cool or special See jealous in the fun way, or the passage below, after her and her new love, Max, have to simultaneously think about the fact that she is a sex workerI f I could have excised that part of my life then, on my back in the bed without him, I would have Not out of sexual shame or general propriety but because any part of me that hurt him, that couldn t be shared with him, might as well be gone for me, too. Reading this feels like I m being lied to Like she can t admit that she would feel an emotion as base and unenlightened and unfeminist as shame Like she can t admit to herself that the sex she has with the man she wants to marry is just really good, and not life altering, or infinitely better and special than everybody else s sex She seems almost confused by it it makes her anxious She acts confused too about the hurt that occurs when she and Max decide to sit in the unknowns of her sex work life and attempt to daintily avoid happening upon the topic, occasionally unsuccessfully You would think that a memoir from a sex worker would include a good example of the conversation you have with a new partner about the fact that you are a sex worker But somehow, it s avoided altogether, and he just knows, and it s okay.Over and over again Shane broadcasts her vulnerability without actually being vulnerable She is never disappointed, or hurt, or sad she is only incredulous, angry with herself, flinty and anxious, offering love to other people and then closing her eyes and turning away and telling them it doesn t matter what they say in return It s the worst kind of myopia It s self love treason Because if you can t really look yourself in the eyes Can you say anything about sex About relationships The back of the book boasts that the novel is one young woman s best attempt at understanding her own rich, conflicted life I would argue passionately the opposite This novel is one young woman s best attempts to never understand her own life To hide from understanding it at all costs.Virginia Woolf said, If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people I think that s the underlying wrong thing about this book, and what really makes it flatten as you read it, despite the many and rotating characters and sticky characterizations of sex and love it just does not do the ringing true thing, because ultimately it s probably not. I started reading Charlotte Shane s newsletter in August 2014, so I had read about half of these essays before But reading them consecutively, start to finish, was revelatory Prostitute Laundry changed the way I think and feel about intimacy and sex and love I snapped photos of and revisited so many passages that I almost want them tattooed on my body I was sorry to be hurting the people closest to me but those months were like shattering a glass bottle to get to something exquisite held inside But I still felt like my love for him had been in me like a vein of gold ore Sometimes I wondered if all the pain of the past years was me seeing the light glint off it but not knowing how to touch it Maybe it was so affecting because some of the letters spoke to almost the exact circumstances of my life right now, but I also don t think there will be a time in my life when I can t find some flashes of insight about interpersonal relationships in this book So I plan to re read it a million times, and I m trying to talk myself out of starting tonight. A modern day Ana s Nin opens her heart and dumps it out on the floor in front of us Intimate reflections on infatuation, love, sex and sex work, and their fallout in a young woman s day to day life Charlotte Shane is on an endless emotional roller coaster and this collection of chronological, diaristic personal essays takes us along with her.At times, the narrator is unlikeable, exhausting and neurotic, self obsessed and navel gazing and she s also intensely relatable and sympathetic Her raw and unflinching observations and admissions about the feeling of being in the eye of the storm that is being in love, or in lust, or both, are both witty and poetic I didn t agree with many of her choices, which made them frustrating to follow at times, and I m not sure whether she and I would get along in real life, but who cares As a modern woman navigating the rocky waters of loving men with varying degrees of success and fulfillment, I found much to relate to in these pages Whether or not sex work interests you doesn t really matter If you re interested in spending a few days trying on the emotional life of a keenly intelligent human female who feels everything to 11, pick this one up. Hmm, this was interesting but ultimately I wouldn t recommend There were some parts especially in the middle that were beautifully written passages that really hit you in the gut But there were lots of other parts where basically, our narrator is describing texts and e mails back and forth with her various lovers sex work customers My eyes glazed over just typing that out I mean, I understand how this book wanted to make an argument for how if you CHOOSE to go into sex work, it s a FEMINIST CHOICE and by god NO ONE SHOULD JUDGE YOU but I would have at least appreciated a chapter explaining why the narrator got into sex work in the first place I was dying to find out and I never did I think that s partly because there s a real contrarian streak in this book I could definitely feel it trying to RESIST the typical I m a sex worker here s my wild confessions angle But weirdly enough, we get this really conventional ending in which the narrator decides she s tired of sex work and she settles down with one guy And boy oh boy does she LUUURVE him Reading scores of pages about how much they LOVE each other is precisely as interesting as it sounds.Basically, I liked the mumblecore y aspects of this book but I think if she had reworked some of these e mail newsletters into polished essays, she would have had a real keeper But as it is, there are lots of boring bits. ( Kindle ) ⚐ Prostitute Laundry ♉ In The Winter Of , Writer And Sex Worker Charlotte Shane Sent Out Her Confessional Letter To A Small But Devoted Mailing List In The Months That Followed, Readership Grew To Over , Subscribers Who Followed Her Candid, Unstinting, Sometimes Heartbreaking Meditations Word Spread Quickly, Garnering The Project Recognition From Outlets Such As The Washington Post And NPRThis Intimate Investigation Is One Young Woman S Best Attempt At Understanding Her Own Rich, Conflicted Life, And The Forces That Act Upon It The Collection Is A Thoughtful Serial Memoir About Love, Sex, Money, And Identity How Those Forces Can Break Us, And How They Can Make Us Whole Again Shane is an incredible writer and has a real skill for discussing topics like intimacy, money, and sex in ways that dodge the tropes surrounding them The first two thirds of the book were especially captivating Things started to drag a little for me in the final third, when the focus shifts to Shane s relationship with a particular man Probably this is a consequence of the format reading the letters as they were originally sent, rather than one after another, probably wouldn t have produced the same sense of repetition that the book format does.That said, the work as a whole is a tremendous work of memoir that explores sex and work in a careful, unique way. I had a lot of mixed feelings about Prostitute Laundry, but kept pushing forward for Shane s writing Honest, thoughtful, and engaging, Shane is a master at explaining her thoughts and her heart Passages hit me in the gut, they made me laugh, they made me put the book down to process for a few seconds before I could continue.It was easy to blow through Prostitute Laundry, but I will say that it wasn t always enjoyable After all, it s a collection of Tiny Letters, so the narrative wasn t always linear or even concise There were times I was convinced I made a mistake in starting PL, that I was going to end up dissatisfied or disappointed.And I won t spoil the ending, but I will say that I wasn t dissatisfied or disappointed The ending was not neatly wrapped, which I appreciated It was thoughtful, it was poignant, and it was worth reading PL I absolutely will be reading PL again, and most likely update my rating accordingly. I can t remember the last time a book affected me this much Maybe never It took me a while to read because I kept having to stop and absorb after each email chapter sometimes in the middle of one Charlotte Shane is an incredible writer and so honest in her self reflection, it almost makes you feel like a liar by comparison This book was so thought provoking and beautiful that I actually read with a pencil for the first time I might go back and read it again It s pretty graphic, so I d skip it if that bothers you, but if not, oh my god I want to hand a copy to everyone. Charlotte Shane can deftly dissect a social situation with her soft and resolute author s voice This book, however, is not representative of her enormous talent This book features an addict, light years from any admission that a problem exists, living the emotion vomit coaster of sex addiction Addicts are narcissists and they bore.There s no insight here This is not Nightmare Brunette style prose Do read her other writing on anything eating disorders or feminism or caring or not caring Her other work is exquisite. Compelling subject matter and well written, but I think it could have been tightly edited what works for a chronological series of Tiny Letters doesn t necessarily work for a book you read from beginning to end By the time the story thread that proved to be climactic began, I was already losing track of the author s various relationships and it was hard for me to invest in a new one.