Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour

A collection of blogs from an anonymous 20-something London Call Girl. If you enjoy reading a diary style book this is for you. Lots of extra bits, the lists are hilarious. It's the blog of Belle who couldn't find a job after University, accidentally got paid for a sexual encounter and realised she could make a living doing something she enjoys!

Belle's blog switches seamlessly between on-the-job stories and her personal life, its almost like reading observational comedy with advice and tips:
"A few things I have learnt on the job: Fact. In a world of twelve-year-olds in sexy boots and grannies in sparkly mini dresses the surest way to tell the prostitute walking into a hotel at Heathrow is to look for the lady in the designer suit."

I thought it was well written, Belle is intelligent, insightful, erotic and witty - she has a dark sense of humour I related to. I have no moral objections to the subject matter but realise it won't be to everyone's taste. It is graphic in parts although I found Belle's personal relationships more distasteful and flat than her working life! It is light hearted entertainment, this is not a memoir about a victim that is helpless or exploited. The anonymous feel of the blog entries appealed to me.

Belle is an independant woman, very much a female of her generation. I found myself thinking this book would have been subject to censorship and a lot of judgement 20 years ago. The nature of a weblog automatically moves it outside any type of decency parameters set by society because of the subject matter. It's interesting that I just accepted buying the book (and watching the tv series) and didn't give it a second thought. It wasn't until I got a strange look on the bus as I was reading it that it registered how taboo, or distasteful, some may find a book about prostitution.

I watched the first series of the UK drama based on this book, Billie Piper was great as Belle. The book was more "real", Belle is a call girl on the high priced side of the road - the tv series is more high-high priced, Belle is more of a courtesan. The to-camera speeches seemed unnecessary but probably helped it to retain the diary structure of the book.

The UK press did a lot of investigative/tabloid stories trying to uncover who Belle is, one story I read said the author was male. My gut instinct is the author is a female. There was also controversy about the authenticity of the blog, probably after the James Frey debacle. I don't really care if it's true or false, it entertained me!

In summation I give it 3 stars out of 5. Amusing but not earth-shattering, a great book to read in one sitting or in small doses because of its diary-like nature. I'll probably read the second book "Further Adventures of a London Call Girl". I've passed the book onto Penny, hopefully she'll add her impressions.

No comments: