SAVING THE HOOKER by Michael Adelberg

SAVING THE HOOKER

KIRKUS REVIEW

A mostly funny first-person tale of a lazy and unprincipled postdoc whose brain resides firmly in his crotch.

From a prison cell, Matthew Hristahalios relates how he landed there. He had proposed a postdoctoral research project to examine the lives of prostitutes and compare them to the concept of “the hooker with the heart of gold.” Is it indeed possible to “save” a hooker? The Manhattan University Center for Interdisciplinary Studies accepts his proposal, but he is slow to follow through in fulfilling the program’s requirements. In time, Matthew reaches out to a number of skeptical New York hookers and begins to overcome some of the growing doubts of his university colleagues. One of the hookers he calls Julia Roberts makes a special impression on him, and she’ll gladly help him with his research if he pays the same hourly rate her johns pay. Julia routinely cons, cajoles and flat out steals Matthew’s research money while introducing him to cocaine and first-rate sex. “Unprofessional” barely begins to describe his behavior, and he knows it. Through all this, he tries to convince his colleagues that he is making substantial progress while the demented Julia alternates between relative decency and vicious hostility toward him. While Matthew tries to scam everyone, Julia hurts and humiliates him to the best of her considerable ability. Most novels give the reader a protagonist to like and root for; this isn’t one of those. Only Matthew’s father, portrayed as a bumpkin from the Midwest, seems truly decent. All he wants is for his misbegotten son to come home to Illinois and find a nice girl to marry. There is plenty to like in Adelberg’s comic romp, which also has a serious undercurrent: Who says a hooker needs saving, anyway? And what business is it of a man?

This one’s well-crafted and enjoyable if you’re up for a rather raunchy read.

Pub Date: March 21st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-57962-368-5
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Permanent Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2014