The Price: My Rise and Fall as Natalia, New York's #1 Escort Hardcover – Oct 1 2008
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About the Author
Natalie “Natalia” McLennan was born in Montréal in 1980. An aspiring actress, she moved to New York and in 2004 started to work for New York Confidential as an escort, where she commanded rates as high as $2,000 an hour.
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If this kind of drivel sounds good to you you might like "The Price," at least if you've never read a hooker tell-all book. The book has neither the humor and intelligence of "Mayflower Madam" nor the gritty if depressing reality of "Going Down." McLennan isn't unlikeable, she's just not that interesting. You don't love her, you don't hate her. You just can't really care what happens to her because "The Price" is as phony as a prostitute pretending to be what she thinks you want. Even the descriptions of sex read like someone's idea of what a reader might think is hot -- I'd reproduce some of them here but Amazon's naughty word detector would probably ding them. Still, you can probably write them yourself: "He was so hot and huge," "My _____ was so wet," "Her ____s were so ______," "I couldn't keep myself from _____ing repeatedly at the sight of his/her _______ ________s." Yawn.
There is almost zero insight here into either the mind of a high-priced call girl or the men willing to pay four figures an hour for one. But then, how much insight can you expect from a woman who writes that her boyfriend who beat her up didn't deserve to to be arrested? No explanation why, no past tense involved, just that he didn't deserve it.
At least if this book were well-written, it might make up for its lack of depth. I probably could have overlooked the book's numerous grammatical errors if the author hadn't made such a big deal about how intelligent she is, and I can't imagine anyone other than serious fashionistas being interested in loving descriptions of designer clothing that go on for paragraphs at a time. The best I can say is that the writing is pretty good for a prostitute, but it's not very good for an author, and while the accounts of sex are, I suppose, not too bad for an author, they aren't very good for a prostitute.
As I said, if you've never read a call girl tell-all and are interested in some of the details, you might find this interesting. But given all the great books out there, including some truly good guilty-pleasure non-fiction (The Dirt comes to mind), why waste time with a book that seems like nothing more than a quickly dashed off attempt to cash in on the Spitzer scandal?
The book's "Prologue: When Natalia Met Ashley" introduces the two soon-to-be very high priced and successful call girls to each other and describes in minute detail how Ashley was easily recruited into the business by Natalia and her pimp Jason to become an important part of the "New York Confidential" Agency.
After that introduction of Ashely, Natalia begins her own tale of her journey into the Sex Escort business. As is the case with so many women caught up in the sex trade, her downfall was drug addiction. However, in Natalia's case she was pretty much a druggy before she began selling her body.
This is the story of relatively shy girl from Canada who dreams of becoming famous and eventually gets swallowed up the meat grinder of New York City. As the National Tap Dancing Champion of Canada she danced with Gregory Hines at the Montreal Jazz Festival and then began her "off-off Broadway" acting career. She is basically mesmerized by the shiny, false glitter of NYC nightlife. She was soon making $2,000 an hour by renting her body.
Anyone who finds this story interesting, which reads much like a Country Western Ballad, will probably enjoy reading "In Good Company: The Escort's Guide," "The Business Side of Escorting II: An Escorts Guide to Intelligently Running Her Business in the Cyber Age," "Call Girl" by Jeannette Angell and "The Last Madam: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld." All of these non-fiction books are surprising well written, as is this memoir. In all of those books the authors warn of the dangers of drugs and advise not falling prey to living the high life and to save money for their retirement, which will be arriving sooner than they think. (Feel free to read my Amazon Reviews of all those books). Even the most successful sex workers, some of whom actually make more money than the President of the United States is paid by the taxpayers, need to develop savings and retirement plans.
It's a shame that Natalie didn't benefit from this common sense advice, but like most people who have never made big money, she thought it would last forever. This is a good read and when Ashely's story is eventually published I'll read it as well. There are some very interesting and unexpected details about the life of a sex worker included in this volume. Sex always sells. Ask Eliot Spitzer!
But, the book was neither interesting or titillating. In short, the book is:
Had sex, made a lot of money
Did a lot of drugs
Had more sex, including with some famous people
Did even more drugs
More sex, more drugs, more famous people
Then everything falls apart
At least it doesn't try to have post facto judgements about 'the life' in either direction.
The problem is that the biggest empathy I felt towards the author is that my review wouldn't be good.
If you want to read a book about the horrors of drug abuse, read The Night of the Gun. It is much better written and much more interesting, and you'll walk away glad you read the book.
If you want to learn about prostitution from the safety of your couch, although it is historical, try Sin in the Second City. It is well written, interesting, and you'll walk away with lots to talk about.
To read about endless meaningless sex, try The Game. It gives a lot more view of the personalities involved, and includes some celebrities in it too (although by name, not just hinted)
If you want to read a stunning, moving autobiography about someone who has faced horrific adversity and persevered, try War Child.
In short, outside of some passages here and there, the final few chapters, and the nice cover photo, the book isn't worthwhile other than riding the Spitzer fame.
Reading the book I felt the author was trying to provide her own form of therapy, and/or score a new source of income. She didn't seem to be asking for pity which is something to respect. She took ownership of her decisions, and in retrospect seemed to gave a good grasp of her past. The one thing I wish she had covered was how she started doing drugs, from page one it seems they are always just there, and no big deal.
Overall this was a quick, illuminating read about a world most of us could not imagine existed.