A happy hooker

Belle De Jour: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Anonymous (McArthur), 294 pages, $19.95 paper..


Belle De Jour: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Anonymous (McArthur), 294 pages, $19.95 paper. Rating: NN

Rating: NN


Chick lit is zipping up the thigh-highs, and this time it’s for money.

Belle De Jour: The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl brims with unabashed exhibitionism. An alleged diarist, our brazen heroine, fresh from university, opens with a no-fuss introduction: “The first thing you should know about me is that I’m a whore.”

Read rich girl for hire – not a new phenomenon. In the 1967 film Belle De Jour, Catherine Deneuve plays Séverine, the gorgeous and totally bored surgeon’s wife who’s empowered by dabbling in the world’s oldest profession.

But if you ask the French realists about prostitution, they’ll tell you it’s the pits.

“Slavery still exists,” said Victor Hugo 200 years ago, “but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.”

Although Belle De Jour straddles two genres – fluffy page-turner and self-styled hero story – it does so without benefit of any brave insight. Pondering the finer points of feminist theory (she’s always telling us how much she reads), Belle concludes that the business isn’t half bad and the work hasn’t really changed her.

Belle De Jour’s kiddie-pool-deep philosophical musings include “Anal sex is the new black” and “No one values truth over perceived fidelity.” For all its irreverence and apparent subversion, this diary really is no different from online escort blogs (see NYHotties.com as an example), banal and not especially original.

Entertaining? Mildly. Exasperating? Like, even more so. Belle needs to take a sabbatical and read the French realists, Evelyn Lau and Valerie Solanas to learn the talk of the walk on the wild side.

Until then she gets a C for chick lit and an F for feminist theory.

Write Books at susanc@nowtoronto.com

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