Not for the faint of heart.



A walk through one young man's accidental year of teen prostitution in 1970s Los Angeles.

For young David Sterry, moving to the City of Angels was particularly rough. Enrolled as a freshman in Immaculate Heart College and expecting to live with his mother, he discovered in short order that his mother would not, in fact, be living in L.A., and that Immaculate Heart had nowhere for him to stay. Broke and suddenly homeless, the naïve kid was then raped and ripped off by a man offering him a steak. Sterry paints his desperation so clearly that it’s a relief when he finds a way to make a buck by working as a “chicken,” a young male prostitute hustling the women of Hollywood. After his pimp Sunny walks him through his initiation “like a black ’Enry ’Iggins,” Sterry's career is launched, and we're off on a crazy ride through a world where “GET THE MONEY UP FRONT” is the ruling philosophy. With a puzzling mixture of pride and shame, and a hole in his soul that grows bigger with every trick, Sterry wanders through a world populated by clients who range from run-of-the-mill lonely ladies to a hippy who introduces him to tantric sex and from the lesbian couple who pays him to shine silverware in the buff to the judge who hands over $500 to be spanked with a ruler. Vignettes from a not-so-bad childhood are interwoven as the author explores family relationships, his parents' crumbled marriage, and his inability to look for help from home, all related in a tumble of prose that is sometimes magical, sometimes distractingly messy. Although rarely played for thrills, the depictions of sex with men, women, and animals are nonetheless quite detailed.

Not for the faint of heart.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-039418-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?