“Funny, exuberant, outrageous, and tender WORKING STIFF is an erotic and comedic page-turner.”
“Grant Stoddard’s debut is a sex memoir with heart: an American (wet) dream come true.”
“Stoddard takes on the city with poignancy and hilarity...and triumphs.”
“[A] brave, moving, and, yes, seductive story”
“HUCK FINN at the Playboy Mansion...you’ll have a fantastically fun frolic in Grant’s world.”
“[H]ard to put back on the shelf…remarkably endearing.”
“[R]elayed with self-deprecating wit, a surprising sweetness, and an unceasing sense of amazement.”
TOP PICK FOR 2007
The Vancouver Province (British Columbia)
“[O]ne of the best works of creative nonfiction since Joan Didon’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem.”
“At it’s finest, his work is an antidote to the swaggering misogyny of the genre dubbed “fratire.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“[H}ilarious, occasionally disturbing and utterly impossible to put down...wrtingand not fornicatingis Stoddard’s true calling.”
It's difficult to describe Grant Stoddard's
Working Stiff without exploding into laughter or retelling stories that would curl your mother's hair. This perversely enjoyable memoir introduces us to a ne'er-do-well Londoner who ends up begging for jobs and scrounging for food in America. Grant's Big Break arrives in the form of X-rated online contest prize that circuitously lands him a position (no pun intended) as the sex columnist of Nerve.com. As an only recently deflowered virgin, Stoddard is decidedly not the best man for the job, but he gropes (again, no pun) his way through his new assignments, wading into orgies, porno films, and hard-core gay bars. This devilishly unconventional memoir will amuse all those it doesn't scandalize.
Readers of Grant Stoddard's popular Nerve.com column "I Did It for Science" won't be surprised that Stoddard opens his memoir with a description of himself, down on all fours, about to be anally penetrated by a latex replica of his own phallus. For three years, Stoddard's was the thinking pervert's go-to guy for behind-the-scenes reporting on everything from chin-mounted dildos to group sex. Now, in this consistently hilarious exploration of the life of an accidental sexpert, Stoddard combines adventures from his dot-com days with a portrait of the artist as a young virgin, growing up luckless and loveless in London. Stoddard would probably balk at the suggestion that he has a "typically English" sense of humor, but whatever he'd choose to call it, his self-deprecating style and wonderful appreciation of the absurd serves him well, whether he's describing his highly unusual university flatmate (an octogenarian named Mrs. Montague) or a more recent stint as a terrified extra in a pornographic movie. If the book has a weakness it's in the pacing: toward the end the narrative threatens to stall, and an over-long description of Stoddard's failed attempt to woo a visiting French teenager falls flat. Fortunately, though, these slightly uneven interludes don't significantly diminish the pleasures of this smart and appealing book. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Undereducated, undernourished, underemployed git from Essex shows up in Manhattan and falls into job as sex columnist for hot website. To say that Stoddard is the absolute last guy one would imagine to end up in the job he did would be an understatement of staggering proportions. After a raucous flash-forward detailing in graphic terms his experience having sex with himself (it involves plaster of Paris, a mold and a willing female friend with a harness) at a California ranch, Stoddard's memoir winds back to his modest roots in the benighted borough of Thurrock, Essex, one of England's "cultural blind spots." Initially possessed of absolutely no luck with the opposite sex-those years at Thames Valley University are cringingly hilarious-Stoddard finally loses his virginity to a friend he visits in the US. His New York visits begin to stretch out, and he's soon a bona fide Manhattanite, working for a small record label, conniving for cheap rent and getting as much mileage out of his British accent as he can. Although the meat of the book involves Stoddard's almost accidental hiring at the sex website Nerve.com at the height of the Internet boom-and his misadventures as the site's wacky columnist-his low-key writer's voice is better suited to the sad-sack persona he develops early on. Stoddard's descriptions of his increasingly edgy sex misadventures (bondage summer camp, public orgies, working out a closetful of kinks with an apparently endless stream of ready-and-willing New York girls) are enjoyable for their geek-out-of-geekdom charm. But the appeal here winds down as his career amps up. This odyssey of luck is often charmingly relayed. However, by the time the formerly mousy Brit findshimself in California shooting a pilot for VH1 and sleeping with teenagers, it all loses its luster.