MADAM by Jeannette Angell


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A fictionalized account of the making of a madam, by the author of the memoir Callgirl (2004).

Peach, known in private life as Abby, was raised in Charleston, S.C., and came north to attend Emerson College. Strapped for money, she took a job working the phones in a brothel, learned the ropes, then headed out to run her own escort service. Few of her clients, or the callgirls she sends out to them, ever meet her. She does her work by telephone, and, though she prides herself on being supportive of the “girls,” insisting they call her once they arrive and as they are leaving (and immediately if they encounter any trouble), she still has little sense of their lives or even what they look like. Meanwhile, Peach is having her own torrid time with men like Jesse, a California stud who treats her badly, and Benjamin, a musician she takes home one night. He stays around and by the end becomes a stabilizing force in her life. Along the way, Peach describes clients like the man who orders a blowjob and a newspaper delivered to his hotel room, a sweet fellow whose wife has recently died of cancer, and the steady client who is demanding, pathetic and clings onto the dream that a girl will fall in love with him, even though he behaves like a boor. “Jeannette,” a callgirl who has quit, married and become a writer (i.e., the author) makes several cameo appearances. Despite Peach’s references to Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty and other writers, her own tale is pedestrian. At the end, when Peach has married Benjamin and has a five-year-old, she’s just another working mom, juggling too many details and worried about keeping her clients loyal. The client’s “real relationship is with me, and he knows it,” she confides. “I’m part Mother Confessor, part dominatrix.”

Surprisingly dull for a book about a woman whose job it is to sell fantasies.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-57962-116-3
Page count: 212pp
Publisher: Permanent Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2005


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