It was a mere 46 years ago that Harper Collins published the infamous “HAPPY HOOKER” book. And I finally read it cover to cover yesterday. I know…a little late for the party. Despite its being a huge hit at the time, I mostly found it to be a snore. I think I’d heard every one of the author’s stories in some form or another a hundred times before. The only reason I actually plowed through the entire narrative stemmed from the opening chapter in which we find the HH in familiar territory (at least for me) – a holding pen at (drum roll) the Tombs. I thought a catharsis might be in the offing but alas, it was not to be.
XAVIERA HOLLANDER is hardly a sympathetic character. She describes a life in which virtually anybody who attracts her feels likewise vice versa. For regular guys like me, that happens rarely if at all. And here this skank gets lucky in that realm constantly. Call me crazy but if I’m on a party boat (fishing that is), and I see the girl hauling up the pool fish, I might want to to cut her line. What can I say?
Worse, while Xaviera fucks her way through life, it is with little conscience as regards the boyfriends (or girlfriends) she hurts in the process of satisfying her selfish lust for sex. I understand that working girls get more hot sex in a day than I do in a year. But I don’t need it thrown in my face for hundreds of pages.
Ms. Hollander also has a bad habit of describing most of the penises she encounters. Which I find odd for a girl whose breasts would be a dealbreaker for me (small and saggy). I don’t think she’d like it if I wrote a book and said something like “And then I dated Xaviera, whose breasts were kind of small and flabby”…and went on to further elaborate on my relationship with her. It would be tasteless and indiscreet – as I found the author oft times.
On the plus side, there were two moments which I found almost too relatable. The first came in that opening chapter as Xaviera sits in jail with her girls, pondering the reality that she’ll have to get a new apartment and start the business all over again. Sounds a lot like someone I know – who by the way, I hear has had enough and won’t be continuing after her latest stay locked up.
The other “moment” came much later in the book when after a bust, X’s boyfriend is characterized in the press as her pimp despite the fact that he has no part in running or profiting in her business – and receives none of the money she earns as a madam. At my last federal status hearing, the judge stated “I take a dim view of pimping.” Normally, I’d have looked around to gawk the pimp to whom he was referring. But in that context I didn’t have to. You get the idea!
Occasional moments aside, I can’t say that The Happy Hooker was a work of art in any sense. Maybe it’s relevant material for housewife fantasy. But having lived in that world for 20 years, I hardly found it illuminating. Were it an incandescent bulb, it wouldn’t even throw off enough light to get a good look at my partner during a hot roll.