When Leigh Hopkinson was a university student in Christchurch she worked at a succession of low-paying jobs that paid the rent and fit in around her degree. None of them fit so well, however, as stripping. She figured it couldn’t be that difficult – she was just going to dance on stage in front of a bunch of strangers. She’d show them a bit of skin, but the gig wasn’t going to last that long. Or so she imagined.
While stripping was harder than Leigh thought it would be, she hadn’t counted on it being so exhilarating – or lucrative. So when she moved to Melbourne and needed to make a living, the lure of her old job was strong. The world of the strip club had become familiar, even reassuring, though some of the people she met during the course of her job didn’t exactly give her faith in the future of humanity. Over the course of Leigh’s career, she learnt a lot about other people and even more about herself, and the result is a story that delves into a world that not everyone visits but everyone finds fascinating.
What I thought:
To be perfectly honest, I put my hand up to review this book out of sheer voyeurism. It’s a lifestyle that is fascinating, and I think we all tend to buy into the idea of strippers either as poor drug-addled, sexually abused women who know no better, single mums with no other options, or sexually empowered females bringing men to their knees with their allure and prowess. We seem to think of strippers as sluts, victims, or opportunists. I was interested to see what Leigh’s take on the subject was.
Ultimately, this is a tale of addiction – not about drugs necessarily, but addiction to the feeling of power and the money. Leigh starts dancing, partly out of curiosity, as a temporary measure but finds it hard to leave the lifestyle once she’s started. I really wanted this to be a tale of empowerment, of a woman who knew exactly who she was and stripped because it’s what she loved to do. Ultimately though, I felt a bit grubby and saddened. It was definitely an interesting read!
(Book supplied by Hachette NZ)