Overall, though, I really liked Cody s narrative voice She has a very clever way with words, and I read the book mostly in one go, largely due to the almost conversational style in which it was written I would absolutely read another book by her, and I do want to see Juno If I put aside my own concerns about the strip club industry and how the people who work in the clubs are depicted, the book was quite good It just wasn t totally what I was hoping for.
Some books are meant to be kept in sacred spaces Some books are so amazing, so wonderful, so full of personal meaning, that they can t even be kept on an ordinary bookshelf with the others, and need to occupy their own, special place Some books deserve such honors And some books deserve to be kept in the bathroom Which is exactly where the copy of Candy Girl currently resides in my apartment I can t claim responsibility for this placement the book actually belongs to my roommate, but as far as I m concerned any book kept next to the toilet is pretty much communal, so I helped myself Don t get me wrong the fact that Diablo Cody s memoir I use the word only because that is how it s described on the front cover is perfect bathroom reading isn t necessarily a criticism Candy Girl is, in fact, probably the most perfect example of a bathroom book I ve ever come across You can read little bits at a time without having to bother following a continous plot, and if you just skip to all the dirty parts where Cody is actually stripping or working at a peep show , you never miss anything important She had a boyfriend at the time the book was written, and I guess we hear a lot about him, but frankly any part of the story that didn t involve stripping and or frequent uses of the word pussy just bored me So, to sum up the book describes a year in which Diablo Cody decides to try being a stripper She spends several pages trying to rationalize this decision, but it can really be summed up in one sentence for shits and giggles, and so I can get a quasi memoir out of it my words Over the course of the story, she works at three different strip joints, a peep show, and also has a brief stint as a phone sex worker that s so brief I don t know why she bothered mentioning it at all In between there s lots of stuff about her boyfriend, his young daughter, and Cody s boring day job, but as I said, these parts can be easily skipped As for the writing itself, I ll just say that it s very easy to believe this woman wrote Juno Which is by no means a critique, but it does make it a bit jarring when Cody manages to produce writing that is actually well done, maybe even meaningful Luckily, this doesn t happen often and we quickly resume our regularly scheduled program of pop culture references and exclamations of shazbot Die J Hrige Diablo Cody Ist Ein Ph Nomen Mit Ihrem Internet Blog Machte Sie Sich Einen Namen, Dann Schoss Sie Raketenhaft In Den Himmel Der US Literatur F R Ihr Erstes Drehbuch Erhielt Sie Einen Oscar, Steven Spielberg Besch Ftigt Sie Als Dialogberaterin Besser Und H Her Kann Man Eigentlich Nicht Kommen Nackt Zeigt, Dass Cody Diesen Kometenhaften Aufstieg Mehr Als Verdient Hat Rasant, Packend Und Komisch Erz Hlt Sie, Wie Sie Oder Doch Zumindest Ihre Ich Erz Hlerin Trotz Einer Eher Biederen Biografie Die Leidenschaft F Rs Strippen Entdeckt Wie Sie Gleich Beim Ersten, G Nzlich Missgl Ckten Auftritt Durch Den Alltag Mit Menstruierenden Oder Gyn Kologisch Ausladenden Kolleginnen Alle Romantischen Vorstellungen Ihres Gewerbes Verliert Und Trotzdem Von Der Stripperstange Im Positiven Sinne Nicht Mehr Loskommt Und Sie Erz Hlt Von Ihrer Liebe Zu Ihrem Coolen, Fast Perfekten Partner Jonny Und Das, Ohne Auch Nur Eine Sekunde Dem Kitsch Zu Verfallen Nackt Gibt Sich Als Enth Llungsroman Aber Er Enth Lt Auch Unglaublich Lyrische Passagen Und Kapitel Wie Das Ber Die Zehn Besten Songs Zum Strippen So Kann Man Das Buch Auch Als Anleitung Zum Auftritt Bei Table Dance Partys Oder Burlesk Shows Lesen Aber Egal, Warum Man Nackt Zur Hand Nimmt So Frisch, Frech Und Frei Von Der Seele Oder Leber Weg Und Dabei Doch So Strukturiert Und Gemessen Wie Diablo Cody Hat Lange Niemand Mehr Geschrieben Das Ist Eine V Llig Neue, Von Teja Schwaner Im Brigen Blendend Ins Deutsche Bertragene Stimme Aus Amerika, Von Der Man Noch Oft Und Viel Lesen M ChteStefan Kellerer After a seven week layoff from reading or reviewing books, I was looking to break my fast with the literary equivalent of a French omelette cooked quickly in a greasy diner No Shakespeare, no epics, no complicated substitutions and no delayed gratification I wanted to finish something quickly and enjoy its deliciousness The book I pulled off my reading docket was Candy Girl A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody For the youngsters out there, Diablo Cody, aka Brook Busey Maurio, grabbed attention as author of the weblog Red Secretary in 2005, documenting the trials and tribulations of a surrogate office drone in Belarus Cody s verbosity and style with a word processor belied a brief career as a stripper in Minneapolis, which became the basis for this memoir, published in 2006 As a screenwriter, she hit the sweepstakes, winning an Oscar for Best original Screenplay with Juno in 2008 Never passing up an opportunity to spend time with strippers, even retired ones, journalists fell in love with Cody At the height of her prestige, she authored the screenplays for Jennifer s Body and Young Adult, created the Showtime series The United States of Tara and made her debut as a director with Paradise, none of which hit the zeitgeist like Juno did The media moved on to the New Kid in Town As a book designed to parachute all of us flyover state squares into the underworld of stripping and peepshows, then safely retrieve us with a happy ending, Candy Girl is A team caliber through and through Cody s experience as a blogger and columnist seem like the perfect field training for a mission like this, and if true, her fearlessness and threshold for skeeviness won me over This is a sharp, funny and hugely entertaining book.
Cody s adventure begins with her leaving her hometown of Chicago to move to Minneapolis for her beau Jonny, a fellow vintage record collector and music lover she meets over the Internet Cody finds work as a typist in an ad agency and segues into the unlikely role of stepmother to Jonny s daughter Faced with the prospect of becoming a real live adult in her mid twenties, she decides to show up for Amateur Night at one of the city s handful of strip clubs, the Skyway Lounge It takes her a year to get off the stage.
Shot glass wit on display I had always imagined all strippers as sinewy, exquisitely painted Jezebels, airbrushed by genetics and smelling of exotic fragrances like Elizabeth Taylor s Passion But there in the sallow light of the dressing room, I saw nails nibbled to the quick, prickly hedgehog vulvae, breasts that hung like worn athletic socks, and bodies of all makes and models, from Ford to Fuck d.
The only thing I lacked was a stage name before I could be a genuine wind up doll I needed something cheeky, yet alluring The kind of moniker that oozed molten sex, but satisfied my retro fix I decided on Roxanne, since that sounded like the kind of girl who lives in a boardinghouse, drinks Pink Squirrels and fucks old men for gold pocket watches Easy.
There was one inviolate principle that even I came to recognize Men dig white shoes A girl invariably made money when she wore shining white stripper stilts instead of black White shoes evoke summertime, innocence, the ruddy chested ICU nurse bearing post tonsillectomy marshmellow sundaes, the girl on the pier in seersucker shorts who remained 99.
44% pure until college, new roller skates Good girls wear white Men respond in kind.
I think I need a cigarette after typing these excerpts, and I don t even smoke I do not find sex trade workers alluring in the least Cody compares the strippers she worked with to bank tellers robotic, clocking in, engaging in dull and repetitive tasks, clocking out I hardly find this sexy As for whether strippers are feminists or an affront to feminism, Cody briefly addresses this topic as well Either can be rationalized depending on the immediate needs of the worker What I did find thrilling was Cody s jetpack writing, which in addition to being very funny, involves very little moralizing She seems well tailored to zoom through a story like this in blog sized bites, whereas if she were tackling an epic drama with this sort of Coco Puffs energy, I probably would ve given up after fifteen pages Highly recommended for anyone looking for a stylish, fast paced glimpse into the sort of dirty job that Mike Rowe has never gotten around to studying.
Diablo Cody wrote the Oscar winning screenplay for the smart and funny movie Juno As one might expect, her memoir about a year spent working as a stripper is also smart and funny, but much, much harder edged Cody was working as an office drone in Minneapolis when she spontaneously decided to try out Amateur Night at a nearby strip dive Though her first attempt garnered her all of nine dollars, she was so fascinated by the world she saw she got herself put on the schedule at an upscale strip club.
Driven in part by a last ditch rebellious desire to escape the cubicle farm hell of respectable adulthood as well as by an urge to master the secrets of a mysterious profession in which successful dancers could make thousands of dollars a night, Cody worked in half a dozen different clubs In her quest for sex industry success, she also transformed herself from a pink haired, punk nerd girl into a fake blond with hair extensions, lacquered death nails and make up than a circus clown Cody is unflinchingly honest as she describes the stripping profession from the inside Earning a living by removing one s clothes, it turns out, is nowhere near as easy as one might presume Bored customers, passive aggressive DJ s, and extortionist club quota policies that can leave dancers in debt to the house at the end of a slow night are just a few of the challenges she had to overcome Cody eventually figured out how to play the game well enough to sock away a down payment on a house, but that cash came at the expense of physical and emotional exhaustion, not to mention permanent foot damage from those towering stripper shoes While Cody s smart insights into this unfamiliar, forbidden world make for fascinating reading, much of what she relates is so graphic there were places I learned than I wanted to about what really goes on behind those blackened windows There is a decidedly un sexy reality behind the cold, hard commercialization of sex, one that even Diablo Cody s skilled storytelling and punchy humor is hard pressed to balance out.
The author s detachment is chilling Her need to present herself as a badass hipster is behavior worthy of an 8th grader She s a tourist slumming amongst the sex workers and tells the story with a note taking, photo snapping objectification of the locals sort of air that is inhumane at best Still another post feminist telling herself she s a sexy pin up type and confusing true subversiveness with her willingness to use and be used by the patriarchy In a clumsy wrap up that was obviously suggested by an editor who begged for a sliver of insight on Cody s part, Cody states that she knows she didn t become a stripper peep show girl phone sex worker because she was abused as a child She knows she wasn t sexually abused She knows this because she wasn t a very pretty little girl Ugh Yeah, Ms Cody, pedophiles only like the pretty ones.
None of this is about sex, it s about power Ms.
Cody, how can someone so witty be so stupid So why does Diablo Cody spend a year stripping Well, because she was bored with her all too ordinary life, and wanted to be rebellious At least, that s what I think she meant, in her last chapter where she sums things up And that kind of spoils the book for me If she needed the money, if she had a habit she needed to support you know, your everyday reasons for getting into stripping Or if she was introduced to it by a friend, rather than ardently pursuing it herself But her reasons were so flimsy that I kept wondering why on earth she kept going back to these strip joints, and getting ripped off by management.
The little window into the stripping life is kind of interesting, but without much reflection as to what it meant to Cody, or to her co strippers, there s not a lot of insight to be gained from this book Cody s dialogue at least, the dialogue she s writing for herself is painfully self conscious and witty Yeah, we get it, you re the educated stripper You re incredible Candy Girl is fluff without much substance.
Self involved, overeducated, privileged girl in the throes of post collegiate depression decides really self consciously to take a walk on the wild side Yawn a the side is not that wild, and she s not the real deal anyway and b who cares Only the titillating subject matter and haven t we all wondered about the economics of being an exotic dancer could have made this book such a hit with the crowds The writing itself was pretty painfulthe author doesn t let a paragraph go by without an appropriately self conscious figure of speech Look, ma I made a simile With a pop culture reference It s like she s trying to hit a quota or something Yikes.
Just a disclaimer here I recommended this book for book club and was thoroughly humiliated as a result Now, I don t consider myself a prude by any stretch of the imagination, and am usually willing to stand by my recommendations However When it came time to lead the discussion group, I felt myself groping for questions It seemed a little odd to open the session with, What was your reaction when the author was working peep shows and would watch men jisming over the plate glass Were you horrified Gratified Both Obviously, this was my bad I can t blame Cody for not having written a good book club book Actually, this probably goes in the plus column as far as its literary merit is concerned I don t know why I was shocked that a book about stripping would be so graphic, but there you have it I m an idiot.
That being said, I think Candy Girl suffers from Cody s stringent desire to defend her career choice While I understand this impulse I, myself, get a little tired of people painting EVERYONE who works in the sex industry as perverted, amoral, disturbed, etc , I still felt that Cody wasn t being honest about her motivations for working in an industry that is physically demanding, emotionally draining, and not even that financially rewarding I was shocked to learn how much the house takes from its strippers These gals have got to unionize After reading the book, I suspect Cody was testing the idea that the corporate workaday world is just as illegitimate and corrupt as the sex industry The only difference is that the former pretends to be decent while treating people like crap, while the latter is honest about exploiting its workers and customers This false distinction enrages me, too, and I m totally with Cody on that score.
Still, I did wince at some of the stuff the author was expected to do Somehow, I had an image of stripping that was akin to Gypsy Rose Lee coyly dancing behind a bubble, when in reality it involved laying spread eagled on a stage while college guys sprayed your vagina with water pistols An eye opener, to say the least I guess I was wanting a little vulnerability from the author One of the few times I felt her letting down her guard was when she described being devastated when a group of women come into her peep show and openly mock her as she lays prone on a chaise longue I guess the fact that there was a layer of glass between them made the ladies feel bold Still, it was an awful moment and I really liked how Cody described how hurt she was as a result I also adored the fact that she would do karate kicks to heavy metal standards during her dance routines She sounds like my kind of stripper I ve heard Diablo talk about how she thought the job would cultivate a strong bond among she and her fellow strippers Instead, the opposite was true Everybody became ultra competitive as a result of vying for dances I wish she would have written a little about that.
Anyway, I m glad to see that her movie Juno has done so well I suspect it s because she wasn t writing about herself In creating fictional characters, she was able to drop the tough girl act and expose their vulnerability And consequently, her own Personally, that s the incarnation of Cody I most enjoy I respectfully leave Cherish her stripper ID , back at the pole.
Here s the merest handful of the arcane for me Americana which bejewels the pages of Candy Girl, plus a translation in brackets It may be the sheltered life I lead but all these needed explanations for me.
Camacho a cigar, I think tuna sashimi a dish Samsonite luggage Pink Squirrel cocktail BaByliss Babylon hairdryer schmattes old rags, cf schmatter Gisele Bundchen Brazilian model Fuddruckers a hamburger Tawny Kitaen model who appeared in Whitesnake vids gopher guts gross from a revolting playground song Great Green Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts Compare with the British Green snot pie and a dead dog s eye which John Lennon quotes in I Am the Walrus disco biscuits ecstacy wide wale type of corduroy Old Navy careerwear lower class clothes squick The physical sense of repulsion upon encountering a concept or situation one finds disgusting The concept of the squick differs from the concept of disgust in that squick refers purely to the physical sensation of repulsion, and does not imply a moral component Thus says the Urban Dictionary dimbulb arm candy this is just an example of DC s way with words I get what she means Bonne Belle cosmetics Manwich American junk food I thought it might be a slang name for an attractive male, as in look at that by the bar, wouldn t mind chomping my way though that manwich but no Bob Dobbs from the Church of Subgenius need whole Wikipedia article to explain this Pez either confectionary or Austrian collector toys Pop Rocks low grade confectionary the glory spot don t know but might be able to guess That was just from twenty pages or so So I loved the way DC told her tale But what about what she was actually telling us, about, well, stripping and the sex biz and all I admit it was fascinating And gross You d have to be a grim faced Calvinist not to be carried along by DC s good natured insouciance And she also immediately removes the guilt you may have been fearing was it something grisly in her childhood and or a bad coke habit and or a gangster boyfriend which got her into the striptease business No, she says, no, and no Didn t do drugs okay, some grass stable whitebread middleclass background and gorgeous boyfriend who has a gorgeous little daughter So she should have been on some fast track young exec programme in a giant media conglomerate for sure And this feeling of enveloping strangulating cosiness is probably,maybe, the thing that made her decide to have a go at removing her clothes in public But you know, I m not so sure The way it reads, she did it for the hell of it But it s a hell of a thing to do for the hell of it It involved a lot of public nakedness, you know, which subdivides into polework not easy , floorwork easier but not as dignified , lapdances you know what they are and bed dances like lapdances but you and your client are on a bed huh And finally the one would imagine terminal humiliation and grossness that is the peep show, which is a euphemism, because no one has to peep If you need to know the gory details of what s involved, let me know and I ll goose up this review with pleasure.
So okay, Diablo Cody, what did you get out of this year of minimum clothing, these 12 months of hideous johns, this calendar of unspeakable secretions My modicum of success at the agency her straight office job meant nothing to me it wasn t an indicator of my worth as a person Whereas a single good night of stripping good she made a lot of money in tips could elevate my sense of self to Kilimanjaro altitudes That was real approval I knew precisely how much my body was worth per pound on any given night at the all girl charcuterie This concrete information was reassuring, much so than the bogus corporate praise I d garnered in the past.
Well, if you say so Diablo If you say so.