Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody. Published in 2006.
Synopsis: Diablo Cody had a college education, a great relationship with her boyfriend, and a secure job at an advertising agency that she wasn’t all too thrilled with. After trying out stripping during ‘amateur night’ in her then-home of Minneapolis, she was hooked. This humorous tell-all memoir traces a year in her 24/25-year-old life, where she worked the full gamut of the stripper industry.
About the Author: Diablo Cody (aka Brook Busey) is best-known as the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of the indie-success film Juno. Prior to her screenwriting success, she enjoyed success blogging at The Pussy Ranch, from which she was allegedly discovered by a Hollywood film producer and talent manager. Other screenwriting talents include the 2009 horror flick Jennifer’s Body and the television show United States of Tara.
My Initial Reactions
I’ll admit that, prior to reading this book, I was already in love with Diablo Cody. Ok, maybe she is one of my heroines. As a current student of screenwriting, how cool is going from unknown blog writer to Oscar-winning screenwriter of a bad-ass movie in a few short years? It gives me hope.
As this is Cody’s only book, I didn’t know what to expect from her writing, and I admit that I was a little annoyed by her too-frequent use of similies and metaphors. That pet peeve aside, I pretty much enjoyed this book. Although I am from Vegas, prior to reading this book, I didn’t know that much about the stripping industry. Now I feel enlightened.
I was impressed that, over the course of a single year, Cody managed to work the full gamut of the stripper industry – amateur night at a seedy club, a high-end topless club, a totally nude ‘chain’ strip club (we have a Deju Vu in Vegas too), the aquarium like peepshow circuit, and even as the voice of a phone sex pro. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea just how much work being a stripper at a club was, with the lap dance quotas, physical fitness required, and the possibility of owing the house at the end of the night. That being said, I was also intrigued by the ‘independent contractor’ side of the industry, the flexibility to set your own hours, and the ability to earn several thousand dollars in one week.
While reading this book, I frequently thought to myself, “Could I be a stripper?” The answer is, probably not. If Cody was an ‘oldie’ at 25, I would be a super geriatric stripper at 31 and I am way too introverted. However, I did relate to Cody’s dissatisfaction with the ‘normal life,’ her restlessness and rebelliousness, and her quest to push herself into unknown waters.
So what did up think of the book? Were you entertained by it and/or grossed out a little bit? Did you try to imagine yourself as a stripper in Cody’s shoes? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below.
Next Up: Another ‘book club classics’ selection – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
I might be one of the few people on the planet who didn’t like Juno. I thought it was kind of sappy, so I didn’t know what to expect from Candy Girl. I ended up liking it until I thought, you know, Diablo Cody kind of sounds like a stripper name. So, I did a bit of googling and found that Cody is a bit of a Kevin Costner (meaning that she divorced the husband she married after her stripper year as soon as she became famous).
As soon as my disappointment subsides, I’ll probably go back to liking the book. Although I’ve never been a stripper myself, I’ve had a co-worker or two over the years who danced, and Cody’s descriptions of the bruises she got from stripping rang true to me.
Candy Girl reminded me of a book a read a few years ago called Brothel which is written by a doctor who spends years researching the prostitutes who worked at the Mustang Ranch near Reno, Nevada. I don’t know if women in the sex industry are always objectified, but after reading Candy Girl and Brothel, I have to say that the work seems pretty soul crushing.