Monday, 2 February 2009

D is for Diablo

I love Juno. This is relevant because Diablo Cody wrote the sublime view of the teenager I wanted to be in a situation I could never imagine being in. It’s sweet without being saccharine, funny without being stupid and the soundtrack is just the right side of cool, without being pretentious. Well, overly pretentious, anyway.

“Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper” is a memoir (operative word here, people) about her time as a stripper. My own pre-conceptions tripped me up here, as I expected her stripping to be a necessity for survival, rather than a life choice. It was a bit of a shock for her to give up her stable job (where she does reasonably well) to strip, especially as she’s a new step mum to her new boyfriend’s little girl. I think I got defensive at this bit because she consciously rejected what is, essentially, my life.

Still, that’s me being all judge-y and I try not to do that. I guess I just didn’t understand why she wanted to strip. She has huge insecurities over her body but still manages to run around naked from practically the first night without any qualms. While stripping, she didn’t really enjoy it that much but she not only continued, she ‘graduated’ to a sex shop where she masturbated in a glass box for customers.
Basically, the main problem I had was that I expected the Juno writer to be like a friend I never had. Cool, quirky but generous and fun to hang around with. This character was way too cool for me, didn’t explain her life choices and liked bragging about her ‘day job’.

Nevertheless, the intricacies of stripping are fascinating. Some titbits I knew already, such as the fact that pole dancing gives you thighs of steel. Others were more surprising, like the way the strip clubs do not sell alcohol. Then you get into the murky underworld of her customers: foot fetishes, nun costumes, panty dances, curtained rooms and the person who licked the plastic booth clean of you know what.

Another thing I got defensive over was Diablo’s assertion that girls look down on strippers. Personally, if anyone has the focus to do so much stuff to themselves, top to toe, they should be applauded. The job itself – not something I’d want to do right at this moment, but I don’t look down on/get jealous of/hate girls or boys who do. It’s a bit like that time where I watched a TV programme about Jordan, who I’d been ambivalent about up until the point where she said “Girls don’t like me because they’re jealous”. If I recall correctly, she was wearing something in a shocking shade of pink which revealed her veins and lipo scars. She also had approximately three tonnes of make up, all in unflattering shades. I don’t dislike her because I’m jealous, I dislike her because she’s so arrogant she thinks everyone wants to look like her.

This book made me want to read a book about Diablo as a real person, rather than a stripper tourist who swings from loving it to hating it extremely quickly.
In summary, if you want to read an explicit book about the sex trade, read “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl” – she loves it, and when she stops loving it, she stops. Now, Belle would be a cool lady to hang out with.
Also, as I wikipediaed Diablo before writing this review, I found out that Diablo is not a birth name (pretty obvious, when I think about it) but neither is it her given name – it’s a pen name! However, she has published as Diablo so that’s what I’m using.

My E book is Elizabeth Goudge's "The Little White Horse", soon to be known as "The Secret of Moonacre", the film starring such national treasures as Ioan Gruffudd, Tim Curry and Dakota Blue Richards in the title role. Fancy reading with me?

1 comment:

Lisa Kielty said...

Hey Soo. This is actually a reply to something you asked on your blog a while back; "Which books do you go back to?".
I've read 'The Lord of The Rings' about 10 times since I was 18. I love re-reading old (published in the 1960's) Arthur C Clarke books over and over. The first time is for the story and the people and the following times are for the technology, to understand it, compare it to how it actually evolved in this, the 'future' and just to marvel at his sheer creativeness.
I like reading Dick Francis' early books (Bolt, Slay Ride, etc). They are excellent short books with very fanciable protagonists and some real villainous villains, not to mention fantastic motives and gruesome modus operandi. His later ones (90's - ) are sadly not so good, adding to the rumour that it was his late wife who ghost wrote them.
Stephen King gets more interesting as time goes on too, going for more character driven drama than ghosties and ghoulies like he has in the past. However, 'Misery' is a modern masterpiece and should be better thought of, as is 'The Green Mile'. His short stories are sublime with more than a hint of the mischief which infects the stories if Roald Dahl, as well as sharing the same tone of bitter darkness. At least King has stopped putting himself in his latest books, a terrible vanity that only seems to afflict writers who are very popular yet garner little critical acclaim. My favourite of his books are actually gentle fantasies and two that I am thinking of reading to my son, 'The Eyes of the Dragon' and 'The Talisman'. The latter would make a fantastic film and I believe a project was launched, but like so many King film adaps, it seemed hexxed from the get-go.
I regularly re visit 'Pride and Prejudice' especially when I have had to give up on reading a book for whatever reason. I always feel so discouraged when that happens, I feel like it's my fault, something to do with me or something that's missing that is preventing me from seeing what's good about the book I'm struggling with. Austen reminds me with it's easy charm and family in-jokes that some other books are just bad and don't deserve to be read.
I've read 'The Crow Road' by Iain Banks quite a lot too, have you read it? A fantastic study of a family with dark secrets, plenty of money and a a sexy wee hero who goes by the name of Prentice. Plus, it's set in Glasgow and by Loch Lomond so the setting is as familiar as wellies worn whenever it rains.
Lastly, I read The Time Traveller's wife. I re-read it as soon as the pain of the realisation that it has finished has gone away. It's a bit like childbirth - you endure it once and forget how much it hurts. You only remember when you are in the throes of it again and by then you are too far along to stop. That's how it is for Henry, Clare and me.