The Life of a Stripper by Romana Van Lissum, isn't a book I would typically choose to read, but after checking out some of the ratings and reviews for this story, and seeing they were almost all five star, I decided to give it a shot! Unfortunately, I will not be joining the others in giving this book two huge thumbs up. Now, I realize I previously stated this wasn't my usual kind of read but that had no influence on my rating or review. I just could not get myself interested in this book--At all!
The Life of a Stripper is a memoir; a behind the scenes look into the lives of 50 exotic dancers, sharing with us their stories in their own words. I've never had any preconceived notions about strippers, what they had been through or why they had chosen their profession. It's a job, sometimes a passion, and really, to each her own. However, this story is supposed to provide us all with an insight as to why these girls have chosen to go down this less than desirable path, telling of the tragedies and experiences they've lived through and so I couldn't help but be curious. Instead, the book seems to prove true to most dancer stereo-types, filling the pages with confessions of rampant drug use, broken homes, abusive relationships, and overall every day dysfunction. Granted there are a few women who have lived relatively happy and healthy lives, being brought up in a loving home with the support of friends and family, who have chosen this career simply because they enjoyed it. Kudos to them for having the confidence and drive to do what they love, but finding out that there were "normal" women working as exotic entertainers was not shocking, or news to me. Again, it's a job and the position is filled by many and all kinds.
I also wasn't a fan of how these confessions were collected. It reads like a questionaire, each story sharing the same set of specifics; What they can't leave home without, their worst on-stage experience, etc. I understand having the dancers fill out such a form, providing the author with enough material to fill the book, but I feel that the answers should have been jumbled a bit. Choose some to fill one story and then others for the next, this way we aren't stuck reading the same thing page after page. It got old very quickly and felt more impersonal than it should have.
I'm sure it sounds like I'm being overly picky, and harsher than need be, but I'm not. I read the book and promised to give an honest review, and this is it. I know there have been plenty of readers who have enjoyed this book, and I know there will be plenty more, but this just wasn't for me.