A fictionalized account of call girls craving commitment and genuine intimacy.
Saporta’s debut novel follows the lives of New York call girls Amanda Best and Mindy Blair as they service clients, confront violence and struggle to maintain conventional identities. Amanda arrives in New York at age 18, broke and unemployed. After a difficult period working odd jobs and living at the YWCA, she’s introduced to prostitution by a diner manager. She eventually becomes involved with a young Mafioso—a relationship that ends in betrayal and bloodshed. Mindy, a struggling apprentice proofreader, changes her life after her decision to lose her virginity to her long-term boyfriend has disastrous consequences. She moves to New York but avoids serious relationships, doing much of her socializing as an escort. As her high school reunion approaches, however, she decides to reconnect with the man who broke her heart. Saporta, in a brief author’s note, acknowledges that some elements of the work are based in reality. The pacing is swift and expert, and the plot has plenty of twists, including a truly explosive reveal. However, the two main characters are so relentlessly sexual that they seem one-dimensional. For example, Mindy wears “a black leather mini-skirt so tiny it came down to just below her crotch” for a date intended as a romantic reunion. Other characters, such as an abusive pimp, a wise and caring madam, a jealous blackmailer, a Mafia bruiser and an overweight gal pal who lives vicariously through stories of an escort’s exploits, are trite and uninspired. Readers hoping for titillating sex scenes will have to settle for near-clinical descriptions of various sex acts. Some overblown prose (“Tony intensified his evil plotting to win Amanda’s affections”) and misused words (“Lorraine tried to consul her”) further detract. Despite these shortcomings, however, the book is still good escapist fantasy that largely avoids getting bogged down in its subject matter’s more sordid aspects. In fact, its scenes between Amanda and Billy, a long-standing client, portraying their unfeigned, mutual affection, are among its best. Unfortunately, other scenes that might have had comparable emotional impact, including a family gathering in which an escort reveals her secret job, fall flat. The conclusion is credible and logical but lacks poignancy, power and resonance.
A fast, entertaining read but one with disappointingly little complexity.