Dancing for Your Life: The True Story of Maria de la Torre and Her Secret Life in a Hong Kong Go-Go Bar [NOOK Book]

Overview

Dancing for Your Life chronicles the true story of a beautiful, young Filipina who, in order to help her family financially, leaves her home in the quiet Philippines countryside to work as a dancer in Hong Kong's red-light district of Wan Chai. This book will hold special appeal for readers interested in gaining a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of an Asian go-go bar and will serve as a companion guide for individuals interested in cultural studies, gender studies, or spirituality. It presents a rare ...
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Dancing for Your Life: The True Story of Maria de la Torre and Her Secret Life in a Hong Kong Go-Go Bar

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Overview

Dancing for Your Life chronicles the true story of a beautiful, young Filipina who, in order to help her family financially, leaves her home in the quiet Philippines countryside to work as a dancer in Hong Kong's red-light district of Wan Chai. This book will hold special appeal for readers interested in gaining a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of an Asian go-go bar and will serve as a companion guide for individuals interested in cultural studies, gender studies, or spirituality. It presents a rare first-person account that is thought provoking and controversial. Here is the “untold story” of faith, friendship, and sacrifice, but also of triumph and forgiveness.

This book lends itself to classroom or group discussion and would be a welcomed companion for courses in sociology, social science, or multicultural studies. It provides a platform to explore the complexity of terms such as “freewill,” “freedom,” “duty,” “obligation,” “sacrifice,” and “exploitation.”
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Editorial Reviews

Karl Taro Greenfeld, former Editor, Time Asia magazine
“Straightforward. Honest. Storytelling that works because it bleeds truth on every page.”
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940016561424
  • Publisher: Maven Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 584 KB

Meet the Author

Brandon Royal is an award-winning writer whose educational authorship includes The Little Red Writing Book, The Little Gold Grammar Book, The Little Green Math Book, and The Little Blue Reasoning Book, as well as the fictional works The Map Maker and Paradise Island. A Canadian by birth and graduate of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, his interest in writing began after completing fiction and scriptwriting courses at Harvard University. Since then he has authored a dozen books and reviews of his books have appeared in Time Asia magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal of America, Midwest Book Review, The Asian Review of Books, Choice Reviews Online, Asia Times Online, and About.com. Brandon is a five-time winner of the International Book Awards, a five-time gold medalist at the President’s Book Awards, as well as a winner of the Global eBook Awards, the USA Book News “Best Book Awards,” and recipient of the 2011 “Educational Book of the Year” award as presented by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Paul Strahan is the author of several children's books including The Farm Girl and the Butterflies (Bronze Medal Winner - Moonbeam Book Awards), The Woodcutter Prince, and The Never-Ending Bag of Crisps, as well as the fiction novel Empty Playgrounds. After a globe-trotting career as a corporate executive for giants such as AIG, Philips, and Bank of America, Strahan now lives in Hong Kong where he spends his time revitalizing a long-held passion for creating works of fiction. An accomplished poet who describes himself as “a storyteller rather than a writer,” he continues to draw inspiration from everyday life, as well as from a wealth of experience gained from working in technology and traveling the world.
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 1 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2011

    "Maria's voice is pitch perfect"

    This story has a wonderfully consistent tone and the voice of Maria ("Mary") is pitch perfect. You'll never doubt you're right there with her as her saga unfolds.

    From the Philippines to Hong Kong and back again, this true account weaves intimate personal details with cultural tidbits. Chapter 1 (Simpler Times) sets the stage, showing the close bonds between members of a large Filipino family, particularly the maternal relationships between Mary, her eldest sister, and their mother. The story is set in motion when the elder sister becomes pregnant, ensuring that Mary will have to go to Hong Kong to work as a dancer and make money for the family. Chapter 9 (Mudslide) and Chapter 10 (Barking Dogs) are the "pressure cooker" chapters. Mary has mounting problems, desperately needs money, and is being bullied by the Chinese mamasans. She is in over her head. Mary becomes smarter as the novel unfolds but her ability to live life on her own terms is a cloud that she can't hold onto.

    I especially enjoy books that affect me on an emotional level and also give me a chance to ponder social issues. Bars of Steel forced me to question who was responsible for the situation Mary finds herself in when working in the bar. By the end of the story I came to realize that everyone has a share of the blame, as each participant in this story has contributed to it both positively and negatively. Mary and her family are benefactors of the money she earns. Can we really call Mary or her fellow bar girls victims? Bar mates Sheena and Baby are by her side throughout, but they and the other bar girls are also a source of the problem--they exert peer pressure to go out on bar-fines and make even more money to send home to their families. The organizers of the promotion in the Philippines, who send the girls to Hong Kong, could not operate if the girls' parents did not give their okay. The Chinese mamasans are obvious antagonists, but they are only facilitators; they did not create the bar system nor could they continue it by themselves even if they wanted to. The foreign businessmen who frequent the bars are obvious participants, but their patronage hardly qualifies them as perpetrators.

    Some years back, I saw the movie El Callejon de los Milagros ("Miracle Alley"). It tells the story of a woman named Alma who "works" the streets of downtown Mexico City. The movie celebrated the different perspectives of each of several main characters. I loved this film (debuting Salma Hayek), but the idea of telling a story from multiple perspectives has been cinematically overdone. Bars of Steel is refreshing in its approach. Telling the story from a single viewpoint makes the transformation from naïve girl to guarded heroine psychologically revealing. I think this book should be considered a top read for anyone wanting to understand the plight of an Asian woman caught in the grips of "grey" prostitution.

    This book is memoir at its best. The story stays with you. You'll find yourself thinking back upon the story with a shared sense of wonder and optimism about Mary's conflicted days spent as a bar girl.

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