Merry Wanderer of the Night + university of iowa grad

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper

I purchased this book when I graduated from high school about two years ago, but didn't get around to reading it until this summer. I mostly put it off because it says stripper on the cover and I didn't want my parents to freak out about what I was reading. Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper

is the memoir of Diablo Cody's (you probably know her as the screenwriter for Juno, I also know her as a University of Iowa graduate) experience moving from a "respectable job" where she has to wear nice clothes to a stripper job where she has to wear no clothes. I'll admit it, I've always been a little curious about what exactly happens in strip clubs and this book definitely lets you in on everything that goes on. And I mean everything, this is not a book for the squeamish. What makes the book great though, is that Diablo Cody is not a stripper, I mean, not what you picture in your mind when I say stripper. She has some body image issues in the book, she has tattoos, real breasts, a punk attitude, pale skin, dark hair, and I could go on. It's not like that girl you went to high school with became a stripper, it's like you yourself became a stripper (at least that is what it was like for me).

Cody's voice is clear and while some say she is just trying to come off as a hipster, anyone who has watched Juno or heard Cody speak knows that this is just the way she talks. And she does an awesome job translating it to the pages. She pulls out little details that give you a great sense of character, "The girls who behaved the most outrageously were rewarded with dollar bills, which the customers folded into miniature pyramids of Giza and placed on the tip rail. It reminded me of an auction. Vagina going once, going twice... SOLD to the fellow in the Timberwolves cap and Manwich stained fleece-pullover!" (82). She is also honest, and she talks about everything that happened, even the stuff that was stupid on her part. And I'll admit, a lot of the stuff was stupid on her part.

There were some parts of the memoir that made me uncomfortable, like when she went into detail about the acts they were paid to do in the strip clubs. She works in at least three strip clubs in this story and it's amazing how different they all actually are from each other. She worked in more of a blue collar joint, one where most of the stripper seemed to be kind of punks, and one where all of the strippers were blond and the clientele was a little more upscale. As research goes, I think she did a great job. But the book just wasn't quite perfect for me. Her boyfriend at the time was totally okay with her being a stripper and I would have liked to know a little bit more about that and why it was. I could pretty well understand her desire to be a stripper, she wanted to do something young stupid while she was still young, which is something I can totally relate to. I think any responsible college student gets that feeling sometimes. I still just wanted to know more about what her motivations were, why did she keep stripping, why did she go from amateur night to job, from part-timer to full-timer. I just wanted more of the why.

So, not quite a perfect memoir for me, but still pretty great. I'm giving it a B.

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Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper + university of iowa grad