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Child No More: A Memoir

Child No More: A Memoir

by Xaviera Hollander

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In the bestselling The Happy Hooker and subsequent books, Xaviera Hollander became famous for her unforgettably candid and racy stories of life as a New York madam catering to a sophisticated international clientele during the 1960s and 70s. Yet this remarkable woman's sexual escapades form only a part of her own remarkable life story—a story she


In the bestselling The Happy Hooker and subsequent books, Xaviera Hollander became famous for her unforgettably candid and racy stories of life as a New York madam catering to a sophisticated international clientele during the 1960s and 70s. Yet this remarkable woman's sexual escapades form only a part of her own remarkable life story—a story she reveals for the first time in the pages of this literary memoir, Child No More. It was a life begun in terror: Two months after her birth, young Xaviera de Vries and her mother were confined in a prison camp during the WWII Japanese occupation of Indonesia; her father, a doctor, was imprisoned in another camp. Two years later, summoned to treat a sick child, he operated on his own daughter without realizing her identity. But that story is just the start of an extraordinary memoir in which she traces her own life—and sexuality—as it was influenced by the example of her parents: her father, a dapper and witty Jewish psychologist and intellectual, her mother the gorgeous daughter of conventional German parents, and a target of Nazi enmity for her association with a Jew. With breathtaking but entirely characteristic—frankness, Xaviera revisits how her parents' own tempestuous relationship (and her father's licentious lifestyle) shaped her own life story. As she chronicles her eventual departure for New York, her entree into the world of prostitution, and her years of international celebrity, she reveals for the first time how her parents' lives continued to entwine with her own, as she endured years of separation from her father, and even stood by her mother as she entered a fulfilling lesbian relationship in the last years of her life. Told in the utterly frank and unquenchably inquisitive voice that marks all her work—yet from an entirely new and ultimately more honest perspective—Child No More recounts a surprising and ultimately uplifting "voyage of discovery through three lives."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In chatty, colloquial style, Penthouse columnist and 1970s cult heroine Hollander (The Happy Hooker) details the nonhooker events of her life. The memoir begins and ends with the death of her mother, Germaine, and focuses on her relationship with her parents. The only child of a volatile and sensual couple (her father, Mick De Vries, was a Jewish-Dutch-Indonesian physician and Germaine was a German-French model 15 years younger), Hollander was infatuated with her father and jealous of her mother, yet loved both passionately. This family triangle defined Hollander's life, as did the harrowing experience of being interned by the Japanese in Indonesia during WWII, where all three of them were tortured and nearly killed. Readers expecting a juicy sexual tell-all will likely be disappointed. Hollander details a series of romances, including current lovers Romke (a man 25 years her junior) and Dia (a woman 15 years her junior). The most explicit memories, however, involve wishing to be mistaken for her father's lover, baths with Daddy and a spanking scene with her father to which she attributes her first orgasm. There is no exploration of why she became both prostitute and madam, exactly how she made her considerable fortune or whether she missed the Happy Hooker days after the success of her bestseller and her deportation from the U.S. and Canada. In Jerry Springer era America, this memoir seems terribly tame and, at 59, Hollander not so much past her prime as no longer in the sexual loop. B&w photos. (June 4) Forecast: Regan will simultaneously publish a 30th anniversary paperback edition of The Happy Hooker. While that book has a certain kitsch appeal, Child does not. This latest effort probably won't win Hollander new readers, despite a national broadcast and print media campaign, author appearances and a not-very-recent jacket photo of her in a leopard-print bikini. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The notorious madam returns with a memoir of her parents. Vivacious German model Germaine and Dutch psychiatrist Mick de Vries were married one month after they met in Amsterdam. They returned to his medical practice in Indonesia, where Xaviera was born in 1943. Two months later, the Japanese placed all European civilians in prison camps. Mick was tortured for smuggling medicine into the men's section; Germaine, caught trying to obtain drugs for her sick child, was severely beaten and thrown into the death house with a pile of corpses. She was allowed to return to the barracks several weeks later but never recovered from this separation from her child. At war's end, the family returned to Amsterdam, where Mick slowly rebuilt his practice. Interspersing her own account with narratives "by" her mother and father (but apparently written by her), the author shows how their WWII experiences haunted them for the rest of their lives. After Mick's death, Germaine embarked on a lesbian relationship with a woman who took on the role of warden, taping Germaine's telephone calls, forbidding visitors, and canceling plans. Xaviera also seemed unable to navigate romantic waters; she repeatedly became involved with people who treated her terribly, and she treated her partners none too well either. Her specialization in S&M practices was surely influenced by her childhood experiences, but for one so open about certain aspects of her life, the author is surprisingly non-introspective about the results of trauma. Expelled from the US and then Canada following publication of her first memoir, The Happy Hooker, Xaviera returned to Amsterdam and continued writing; in addition to her books, she pens a monthlycolumn for Penthouse. She has recently worked to bring English-language theater to Amsterdam. Published simultaneously with a 30th-anniversary edition of The Happy Hooker, which was a lot more fun.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Meet the Author

Xaviera Hollander's first book, The Happy Hooker, was published in 1972; since then it has been translated into fifteen languages and sold millions of copies around the world. Hollander began writing the column Call Me Madam in Penthouse that same year -- a role she fulfills to this day -- and has been named the magazine's most popular columnist. Now a promoter of the arts in her native Holland and the author of more than a dozen books, she divides her time between Spain and Amsterdam.

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