THE EDUCATION OF A VERY YOUNG MADAM by Ma-Ling Lee

THE EDUCATION OF A VERY YOUNG MADAM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Purportedly the memoirs of a young Korean-American woman who found the key to success in the sex business.

Lee, whose formal education stopped in eighth grade, was assisted in this project by book packager Bourg. The first-person narration has a breezy, fast-paced tone that makes this read like a work of fiction. Lee was adopted at age six into an American family that disintegrated and by age 14 was a runaway from a group home in northern Maine. The adventures and misadventures that followed took her into a world of sex, drugs, dancing in strip clubs, gambling and moving around a lot: Massachusetts, New York, California, Baltimore, New Jersey and Canada. In Montreal, she writes, “everyone around us was some kind of hustler—pimps, hookers, dealers, gamblers, junkies, gangsters…you name it, they were around.” Lee, however, presents herself—or is presented by Bourg—as a self-taught, savvy entrepreneur, a professional businesswoman who knows how to set up a lucrative business, satisfy customers and keep employees happy and in line. At first she used newspaper ads, phone numbers and her contacts with women in the escort business, but then she learned how to do business on the Internet, creating a website and purchasing an e-mail list of potential clients. Major success followed. Friends and acquaintances (no last names, please) were killed or arrested, and Lee had some bad times with drugs and brushes with the law, but now, in her early 30s, she stays behind the scenes and runs her thriving business with a firm hand. An appendix reprints the employee handbook of her company, Girlfriend Experience, and features a “Pimp and Ho Glossary” of terms and abbreviations from the sex business.

Frank and funny but slim on verifiable facts.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7432-8975-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2008