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

( 85 )

Overview

Decreed by David Letterman (tongue in cheek) on CBS TV’s The Late Show to be the pick of “Dave’s Book Club 2006,” Candy Girl is the story of a young writer who dared to bare it all as a stripper. At the age of twenty-four, Diablo Cody decided there had to be more to life than typing copy at an ad agency. She soon managed to find inspiration from a most unlikely source— amateur night at the seedy Skyway Lounge. While she doesn’t take home the prize that night, Diablo discovers to...

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

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Overview

Decreed by David Letterman (tongue in cheek) on CBS TV’s The Late Show to be the pick of “Dave’s Book Club 2006,” Candy Girl is the story of a young writer who dared to bare it all as a stripper. At the age of twenty-four, Diablo Cody decided there had to be more to life than typing copy at an ad agency. She soon managed to find inspiration from a most unlikely source— amateur night at the seedy Skyway Lounge. While she doesn’t take home the prize that night, Diablo discovers to her surprise the act of stripping is an absolute thrill.

This is Diablo’s captivating fish-out-of-water story of her yearlong walk on the wild side, from quiet gentlemen’s clubs to multilevel sex palaces and glassed-in peep shows. In witty prose she gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at this industry through a writer’s keen eye, chronicling her descent into the skin trade and the effect it had on her self-image and her relationship with her now husband.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Why, you might ask, would a healthy, college-educated young woman start stripping for a living, when she could work in a nice, clean office? Cody, now an arts editor for Minneapolis's alternative weekly, had spent her whole life (all 24 years) "choking on normalcy, decency and Jif sandwiches with the crusts amputated." When she moved from Chicago to Minnesota to live with the new boyfriend she'd found on the "World Wide Waste of Time," she took a job at an ad agency-a setup with good "porn shui" (desk well angled for undetected online porn surfing) but not much else. Attracted by a local bar's amateur stripping contest, Cody soon moved from stage stripping to lap dancing, from tableside to bedside customer service and, finally, peep-show sex. Removing her clothes and dry-humping strangers in sex clubs had become her way of escaping premature respectability. Quite inexplicably, her boyfriend was completely cool with her new occupation, even joining her on occasional sex jaunts. When the inevitable burnout set in, Cody switched to phone sex, until that, too, got old, and the 9-to-5 straight world beckoned. Cody's so alarmingly entertaining, readers will wish the book were longer, though they'll be glad it ends before anything really ugly happens. Agent, Paula Balzer. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
As a college graduate from a stable family, with a boring job at a Minneapolis advertising agency and a supportive boyfriend (now husband), Cody decided to become a stripper. She jumped in on an amateur night at a local bar and then pursued her interest at several different venues, from so-called gentlemen's clubs to peep shows. Cody, now an arts editor with Minneapolis's alternative weekly, City Pages, describes in explicit detail her experiences stripping, lap dancing, and masturbating for clients. She has a fondness for the other strippers, who range from teenagers to thirtysomething mothers, but Cody has only disdain for the clubs, which generally treated the women badly and demanded a large portion of their pay. Cody tries to explain her attraction to stripping, but her descriptions of her encounters and the physical toll the work took on her body leave readers wondering why she kept going back-despite the fact that she earned enough to buy a house. Still, a very readable account of life in the sex trade. Recommended for public libraries.-Debra Moore, Cerritos Coll., Norwalk, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Geeky girl from the 'burbs enters a life of sin . . . for a little while, at least. Cody grew up nice just outside Chicago during the 1980s. (Since her equally nice Catholic parents presumably would not have named her after evil incarnate, readers may assume that "Diablo" is her own invention.) Her childhood "was a stainless suburban ideal," but by 2002, a "mid-twenties crisis weighted [her] gut like a cosmic cheeseburger" as she shuffled papers at a downtown law firm. Within a short space of time, however, this "card-carrying dweeb" got involved in an Internet romance with an equally geeky musician from Minneapolis, moved in with him, got a job in a space-age advertising firm and, on a whim, entered Amateur Night at a seedy downtown strip club. Cody doesn't depict her seemingly random decision to get up on a stage and bare herself to paunchy men (who were usually lousy tippers) as either the inevitable result of some tortured childhood or a grand experiment in feminine self-empowerment. She simply reveals herself as a gawky young woman who never had a chance for excitement. Cody's quick, self-deprecating wit proves invaluable in relating the year during which she moved from the low-rent Skyway Lounge to the laughably "upscale" Schiecks and then to the adult toy and entertainment emporium Sex World, which is rendered in off-kilter, David Lynch-ian tones. Although at the beginning and end of her book she strains too hard for the baroque, snarky tone of an overactive alt-weekly (Cody is currently an editor at Minneapolis's City Pages), for the most part this is an honest and amusing memoir that trades in neither pathos nor down-and-out freakery. Likable to a fault, an anthem of independencefor geeks everywhere.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592402731
  • Publisher: Gotham
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 489,435
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.05 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Diablo Cody is a freelance journalist and is currently the associate arts editor for City Pages, Minneapolis’ alternative weekly. Her now defunct website, “The Pussy Ranch,” scored over one million page views in its seventeen-month run, garnering acclaim from The Village Voice, among others. Her first screenplay, "Juno," is being produced by Mandate Pictures, and she has two other screenplays in development with Warner Brothers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 85 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 85 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2009

    Uh...

    To the ones like "Disturbing"....You thought it would be a funny li'l look into the life of a stripper. A little jaunt? A little foray? Are you kidding?! Do you honestly think being a stripper would be a laugh out loud thrill ride? You were disturbed by the tale? Well golly gee pope on a sammich. Darndest thing. I would imagine that stripping, like many other careers, has its ups and downs, and it's too bad that it provided too much real life and not enough diversion for you. Good lord.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    a good bedside table book

    i became interested in this book, first because the writer of the movie Junow wrote this book. second because of the title and third, because of what the book is about. <BR/><BR/>right from the beginning diablo lets you know that this isn't a book that you read dying to know what the end result is. this is a book that you read for the tale, rather then what happens because of the tale. its quite good, provocative in a funny, sexual sense and truthful. the honesty captured within the tale is funny but relatable and diable makes the tale easy to understand once you sense who the narrator is - diablo. her persona and outlook is very effective because she is a different but strong type of woman - determined at any cost to do what she feels uncontrollably drawn too and woman enough to work until she feels she has done her best.<BR/><BR/>the most comical part is her then boyfriends perception of her career choice and the fact that he supports it so willingly, all while joking. he makes a good supporting character and helps put the story in perspective.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    A reviewer

    The author found herself turning 25 and in need of excitement beyond what her ad agency job could provide. So begins her one year sojourn into the legal sex industry, starting at a strip club. Writing in the vernacular of trade, details the gritty realities of the industry and quickly dispels myths of 'glamour' in the business. She also finds humor in obscure places, like the handwritten sign in a peep show back room, and finds poetry in stickers placed by strippers on their lockers. All the while, she receives emotional support from a sympathetic fiancee whom she later marries. The book is a quick read and interesting in a vouyeristic way, and if you've ever been to a strip club, this book reveals the ruthless hustle going on under the veneer of glamour. Given the author's education, however, I was disappointed that she resorted to stripper's vernacular throughout her work. Her work is neither an overview of the sex industry nor a study on what motivates the owners, workers, and customers in the business. Instead it is a 212 page ramble of how she bounced more or less randomly from one club to another over a year, while also working at a day job. In short, enjoy this book for a quick read on one girl's experience as a stripper, then pass it on.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Reading Diablo Cody's tale is like deliciously masticating on a pink-colored mash of bubble gum, endlessly sugary, even throughout the bunions-and-foot-blisters descriptions of Cody's hilarious journey from geeky copy typist to full-fledged stripper.

    Beginning the novel with how she met her later-to-be boyfriend, Jonny, online, Diablo Cody jauntily describes how the love affair brought the world of stripping came to cross her path. When she moved from Chicago to cold-snap Minnesota and settled into a comfortable domestic sphere with her Beach-Boys adoring lover, Cody never imagined she would land a gig in the local, quasi-urban atmosphere - less because of Minnesota's frosty, and hence anti-stripping, weather and more because of her own self-doubts about her ability to rise to the challenge. After a series of hilarious mishaps in her attempts - one of which involved her heel getting stuck on the pole at an Amateur Night - and a continuous feeling that she dislikes her mechanized approaches towards entertaining her customers, Cody decides to switch things up a bit. After club-hopping several times, she settles on a voyeuristic gig at the Sex World (a "twenty-four hour circus-themed porn emporium featuring 'live' nude models," she quotes). Indeed, Cody's exploits in the sex industry become so much more indulgent in the sexually arcane (aka what most of society would deem as sexually perverse), that it would be difficult to continue divulging more information without breaking the review guidelines about no "profanity, obscenities, or vulgarities." Something to keep in mind when you're asking yourself whether or not to hide this book from the children (if you have any).
    Diablo Cody's stripping memoir delights the mind with her potpourri of starkly shameless language, strobe-lights imagery, and laidback lingo, not to mention endless and searingly funny pop culture allusions. The trick of the Cody trade is to slather the novel with the lubricant grime and the glittery playsuits, the dirty underwear and the physics-defeating pole-acrobatics, which creates an element of glamour, albeit in a stick, mysterious-substance sort of way. By juxtaposing the - there's no better word for it - gross and the escapist, Cody not only peels away 1) the glamorization of stripping or 2) the stereotypes that characterize stripping as a slovenly job without considering the hardships of the women who take on stripping. The latter, however, becomes a sideline theme, and thus Cody's novel is ultimately bereft of much intellectual sustenance, or at least profound stimulation. The humor, she peppers over her clumsy rise to becoming a bona fide stripper, however, and the originality of description become the crowning glories of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Raunchy Good!!

    Ok so the irony about my reading this book is that it was suggested to me by a dear friend who is an extremely dignified social doyen. The book reads like a bad history of a free clinic so you can imagine my amusement upon finishing it.
    My only issues with Candy Girl are Cody's obsessive need to rip on Minneapolis and its locals (I'm from here and, no, my skin does not look like silken tofu nor do I have an insatiable appetite for Manwich), and her tendency to write as though this book was intended to be read by an angry emo at a poetry slam (it has a choppy rhythm and she's constantly speaking in metaphor).
    Aside from that, Candy Girl is wickedly delicious! Readers beware; it is EXTREMELY raunchy!! I love anything to do with train wreck pornography and even I was squirming at certain points. All in all, I loved it and I certainly have a whole new respect for my "lily white" friend!
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Suggested With: A dirty mind

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This chick is the real deal.

    Her and I actually worked together doing peep shows. Not in the same booth, but in the area that the perverts would select us from behind the glass. I was so young and immature at the time, and she - was so cool to me. I did wonder sometimes why she worked there. I actually saw her a few times, walking up the block to work, and she did not look the type whatsoever. It was such an amazing transformation while she was at work. Either way, she was beautiful. And working with her, was always fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    Everywoman's hijinks in the strip-o-shere

    Candy Girl is a well-written, rolicking ride through Cody's year of (mis)adventures in the world of stripping, peep-show, and phone-sex girl. Her writing elicits a chuckle along with every subtle triggering of the gag reflex. She provides a look at the good times and the psyche of the practice of being a stripper.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2006

    Phenomenal!

    This is one of the most well-written works of new fiction I've read in a while - very witty and 100% irreverant. The main character and her story are so compelling that I couldn't put it down! While not for the faint of heart, this book will challenge your current perspective of the sex industry, without trying to persuade you to support it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2006

    Outstanding Book!!

    This book is really mind blowing, among the best I have read in quite a while. Diablo totally puts it all out there, and can have you cringing and laughing simultaneously. Thank you to the author for sharing her unique experiences in such an entertaining and eye opening way. Trust me, you will read this one cover to cover in one sitting, and wish there was a 2nd installment! Bravo for Candy Girl!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    The start of a great career

    This was written by diablo cody before she became the academy award winning screenwriter of Juno. Candy Girl is an entertaining read and shows that this writer had a strong voice from the begining. - review by Curt Wiser author of suspense novels.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Of all the books written on the sex trade, this has to be the be

    Of all the books written on the sex trade, this has to be the best. It is no surprise that the author went on to be the famed screenwriter of Juno and Young Adult. The details of the stripping scene are very well written. This story also shows the emotional toll that a job like this can have on the women. It was a major part of my research for my novel BOX CUTTER KILLER since is was about a cam-girl.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    Her story about being a stripper is interesting. There were som

    Her story about being a stripper is interesting. There were some parts that I thought were a little too detailed. Not sure I would really recommend unless you are interested in hearing about the stripper life in Minnesota.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    interesting

    A good look at the real life and thought process of a stripper. A fun book, but a little raunchy in spots

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    A must read!

    Finally an open and honest look at the real life and thoughts of a stripper. Especially juicy if you live in or know the Twin Cities!

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    Fun read

    Enjoyed it from start to finish. Diablo is open, honest and witty. Tough to put down.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Incredible story

    I found this book fascinating, well written, captivating and providing a deep insight into this world. I am from the Minneapolis area and around the time the author was working the two main strip clubs in the city, me and my coworkers were frequent guests at these establishments. Going to the club was almost an addiction and only ended when I left the company for another job. While reading the perception I found was of the author struggling with her own addiction - at least when she first began to dance - to the clubs. I you find yourself often visiting these clubs or have friends that are dancers such as I did then this is a must read.

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    love candy girl!

    As soon as I heard about Diablo Cody, I wanted to read her work. I am so glad i did! Being from Minnesota, i loved this story. It's all about a woman who get's sucked into the porn and stripping business. Yet, its more then that. It's a whole story on her stripping 'obsession' and the people she meets there. My personal favorite was in the peep show windows, i love the people she talked about and the experiences. Now, i wouldn't recommend this to my mom, grandma, or even my nieces, but its a great story to share with a friend who has the same ideas as you. I suggest a read to everyone, its definately a book you cannot put down!

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  • Posted April 15, 2010

    easy read.

    I kept thinking this book reminded me of a blog. It turns out it was, though it doesn't say this anyewhere in the book. Interesting story but it is missing essential peices about her life that I would have enjoyed. It was nice being from MN and recognizing places...

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Naked Truth about Stripping

    An entertaining memoir about Cody's progressively experimental foray into sex-based professions. The writing is clever and frequently hilarious, as one would expect from the screenwriter of "Juno." If you have the stomach for the graphic (so, so graphic) descriptions, this is a fun way to indulge your curiosity about just what goes on behind those darkened "Gentleman's Club" windows--or if you've peeked behind the windows, what goes on backstage. I found the lack of a moral agenda refreshing. For this author, stripping was just a way to make money and a way to inject some excitement into an otherwise mundane life. And later, a way to sell a lot of books. Good deal.

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  • Posted December 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Diablo Cody is a genius!!!

    This is my favorite book ever! Diablo Cody is a genius! She gives outsiders a look into the dark, yet fascinating world that she once worked in. She is a genius! This was a truly fascinating read! I recommend to everyone!

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