Fingers were pointed at jobbing hacks, and her prose fingered for clues. When she promised to give up the day job and write a proper novel, it was intriguing. Her writing was full of refreshing comedy and eye-watering advice. But had the mysterious Belle gone too far on our first date? Or could she offer more?
It is disappointing, then, to see the author still turning the same tricks. This is someone who has made a living, she says, from knowing how to please, and she is not going to give up her old faithfuls: the shocking candour, the comedy lists or the clever comparisons that disarm a snobby reader as quickly as a judo throw.
Sienna Lewis - Penguin Books New Zealand
She is surprisingly zealous in defence of the working girl. Regarding the "romances" of nice girls from the Shires, she hisses that "Emily" will bury her own holiday indiscretions "but she'll judge me Like her less uninhibited diarist predecessor, Bridget Jones, Belle has the knack of appearing to be Everywoman. And few readers will fail to grin awkwardly in agreement with something in the novel. The violating drudgery of her respectable new job will be eerily familiar to anyone who has worked in an office, and you have to admire the way she subtly compares working life to "working life", with the little rituals and the etiquette of the office tea smartly juxtaposed with the prostitute's routine.
All this hint-dropping is such an awful tease. While Belle's candid humour is compulsive, it is hard to find anything more meaningful in her further adventures. There's a dichotomy some enterprising academic could But unfortunately this book fails to prove there is more to Belle than a very amusing, scatological dissertation.
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Belle de Jour : The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl
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Jeremy Corbyn. She likes the freedom it gives her, and the opportunity to dress up, elaborate underwear being very much her thing. She even likes her clients. Occasionally she posts her CV to some more suitable employer, but these efforts are distinctly half-hearted. Belle is nothing if not pragmatic.
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I thought I should feel a pang of regret or surprise at being used. But it was nothing like that. So what do we learn about life on the game? Thrush and cystitis are a problem, obviously, and the top-class call girl is compelled to wax more often than you or I floss. She must also be enthusiastic, agile and aware that anal sex now comes as standard on the menu of any hooker's delights.
For safety reasons, she should always ring the office once she is in a taxi and on her way home. I expect you are wondering about the book's dirty bits come on, be honest. Well, once you are used to the idea of the more outre acts a prostitute may perform - self-fisting, anyone? Like any girl, Belle has lovers some know about her "career", others do not and a gang of pals.
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But perhaps because she is determined to protect her identity, these creatures don't live on the page. The same, alas, goes for her clients. What Belle does best is reveal the scant, prosaic motivations of men who pay for sex; and it is this lack of embellishment that finally convinces you of the authenticity of her strangely banal document. Belle is quick-witted, funny and keen to establish her academic credentials she is a graduate and wide range of reference Martin Amis, Le Petit Prince and The Singing Ringing Tree all get name-checks.
The sex is frequent, conscientiously filthy and at the same time, curiously sanitary. None of her clients ever appears to be ugly, bad-tempered, violent or smelly.
In short, either this is an engaging piece of chick-lit with added whips and dildos, or else Thomas Hardy's insouciant whore was right: "'One's pretty lively when ruined,' said she. Love puzzles? Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles. Books on Amazon. A collection of the best contributions and reports from the Telegraph focussing on the key events, decisions and moments in Churchill's life.
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