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[personal profile] ed_rex posting in [community profile] littleknownbooks

You're a dirty whore-monger, Chester Brown

Autobiography is a risky endeavour at the best of times; not only will the memoirist's craft be scrutinized and judged, but so too will his or her character. So it is probably a good thing for Chester Brown that he is one of the best cartoonists of his generation, because he really does have sex with prostitutes.

In fact, his latest book, Paying For It, is all about his decision to give up on romantic love in favour of sex for money.

It has become almost trendy to dabble in the sex-trade. Bookshelves groan beneath mounds of tell-all memoirs and fictions, and even relatively mainstream television has gotten into act, with no less than one-time Doctor Who companion Billie Piper disrobing on a regular business as Belle du Jour. But memoirs and fictions glamorizing the life of johns?

Maybe not so much

It is one thing to admit to taking money for sex; to confess paying for sex, on the other hand, remains quite outside the bounds of polite society.

If Brown doesn't make an explicit analogy between his "coming-out" as a john and the struggles of gay men and lesbians who braved arrest and assault when they refused to any longer closet their sexual natures, Paying For It certainly implicitly invites the comparison, if only by Brown's refusal to be ashamed.

As Brown's friend (and ex-girlfriend) Kris tells him, to most people, johns are "... creeps. Who knows what they're capable of? If I had a daughter I'd be worried about what would happen if she was in the same elevator as one of those guys."

So would you want to read a comic book by and about one?

Click here for my full review, with inevitable spoilers — not safe for work.

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