Patpong Sisters: An American Woman's View of the Bangkok Sex World


Cleo Odzer, a young American anthropologist, spent three years studying Bangkok’s red-light district, Patpong, an area of a few blocks teeming with bars and explicit sex shows. Patpong is now world famous for its available and extremely attractive y

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Cleo Odzer, a young American anthropologist, spent three years studying Bangkok’s red-light district, Patpong, an area of a few blocks teeming with bars and explicit sex shows. Patpong is now world famous for its available and extremely attractive y

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal Asia
“Controversial . . . peopled with interesting characters.”
From the Publisher
"Controversial . . . peopled with interesting characters." —Wall Street Journal Asia
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As an anthropology graduate student, Odzer was in Thailand in 1988-90 studying its prostitution industry, centered in the Patpong district of Bangkok. Because of the culture's particularly repressive views of women's rights and female sexuality, according to the author, prostitution thrives, attracting many foreign male tourists. Studies estimate that between 15 and 30% of Thai women work in the sex industry, and Odzer's goal was to assess the impact of such a career on their lives. She discovered that, while prostitution is in many respects demeaning, its practitioners are nevertheless more ``liberated'' and more self-assertive than more traditional Thai women. The book is shorter on analysis than on narrative accounts of Odzer's interaction with various Patpong women and men, which, while lacking the academic rigor she initially promises, are engrossing. At times tales of her own romantic adventures all but subsume discussion of her research project. Illustrations. (Nov.)
Odzer offers a personal account of her three years in Thailand studying prostitution in a Bangkok red light district catering to foreigners. She interviews bar girls and bar boys, describes their families and lives outside of the district, and reveals her romantic involvement with a Thai pimp. She discusses AIDS and economic oppression of women in Thailand, and concludes that some of the workers are intelligent and entrepreneurial. Includes b&w photos. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611458817
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/2/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,375,234
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Cleo Odzer was an adventurous American writer born in 1950 in New York. She received a PhD in anthropology from The New School for Social Research. After studying the sex culture in Bangkok, Thailand, she then traveled to Goa, India, and would later write about the hippie culture there in her second book, Goa Freaks. Odzer died in 2001 in Goa, India.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    This book was definitely worth the read and was insightful. It was interesting how Cleo described Western men viewing the sex clubs and bars of Patpong as their own personal sexual paradise. Then, I found it hypocritical of her to discuss the dangers of sex with prostitutes and then to read about her sleeping with a married man who may have been a male prostitute. At times it was frustrating to read this book and see how naive many of the Westerners were to scams being run on them. It was also understandable to see why many of the men and women of Patpong didn't trust outsiders, but by the end of the book no one looked morally superior.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2002

    good book on thailand

    the book is very good. buy it if you want to learn about the relationships western men have with southeast asian women

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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