A debut memoir describes how a small-town Christian girl ends up running a Las Vegas escort agency, charging up to $1,500 an hour.
Growing up in a charismatic Pentecostal sect, Rodman wasn’t allowed to cut her hair, wear pants, or play (even watch) sports. But she always had a strong interest in sexuality; by age 5, she was masturbating “for two or three hours every day.” (Rodman mentions childhood molestation by an unidentified person but doesn’t dwell on it.) Eager to leave home, she married at 17 but quickly divorced. Rodman earned an associate degree in cultural anthropology and worked at an Oregon mental health facility, but after a wild weekend in Las Vegas, she wanted more of that adventure and moved to the city. She started out waitressing, then tried stripping. Broke, she agreed to a “private dance” and then to prostitution; after earning $1,000 for an afternoon, she made it her profession. She eventually headed her own escort agency until one of her most popular girls was outed as the Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton. In her memoir, Rodman reveals how high-end escorting works, from first contact to final payment. Through candid vignettes, readers get the lowdown on typical clients and their desires, from companionship to kinky, as well as different levels of prostitution, including girls, clients, and pimps. Throughout the book, Rodman veers between celebrating this life (freedom, easy money, being the center of attention) and criticizing it (degradation, anomie, addiction). She never really resolves this contradiction, disingenuously characterizing her own agency as “a professional screening and marketing firm” that “helped men find intimacy again.” But what’s being sold, as she shows from her own experiences, isn’t the give-and-take of true intimacy: “I want to feel in control of something in my life,” she imagines her wealthy, married client saying during sex. Few readers are likely to muster the sympathy for him that Rodman does.
Not always sure of its own stance on escorts, this book still offers an effective behind-the-scenes tour.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)