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Paying for It: A Comic-Strip Memoir about Being a Johnby Chester Brown
Synopses & Reviews
The critically lauded memoir about being a john, available in paperback for the first time!
Paying for It was easily the most talked-about and controversial graphic novel of 2011, a critical success so innovative and complex that it received two rave reviews in The New York Times and sold out of its first print run in just six months. Chester Browns eloquent, spare artwork stands out in this paperback edition.
Paying for It combines the personal and sexual aspects of Browns autobiographical work (I Never Liked You, The Playboy) with the polemical drive of Louis Riel. He calmly lays out the facts of how he became not only a willing participant in but also a vocal proponent of one of the worlds most hot-button topics—prostitution. While this may appear overly sensational and just plain implausible to some, Browns story stands for itself. Paying for It offers an entirely contemporary exploration of sex work—from the timid john who rides his bike to his escorts, wonders how to tip so as not to offend, and reads Dan Savage for advice, to the modern-day transactions complete with online reviews, seemingly willing participants, and clean apartments devoid of clichéd street corners, drugs, or pimps.
Complete with a surprise ending, Paying for It continues to provide endless debate and conversation about sex work.
"A compelling look into one man's history of employing prostitutes as a replacement for romantic love, this graphic novel is sure to create controversy. Brown has produced acclaimed but brutally honest autobiographical works before, but here he adds a new didactic element. In June 1996 Brown's then girlfriend broke up with him. After three years of celibacy and his growing conviction that romantic love is destructively possessive, Brown works up the courage to see a legal prostitute and finds the 'burden' of anxiety over whether to pursue a relationship with any particular woman forever removed. The next 200 pages are an explicit — but far from erotic — dossier of the various women he did business with, until he meets one that he ends up with in a monogamous — but still financial — relationship. Although Brown intends the work to be a compassionate look at a profession that helps people, he unfortunately goes out of his way to anonymize the sex workers — never showing their faces and telling the story in tiny, cramped panels, giving the whole thing a voyeuristic feel. A lengthy appendix arguing that a system where paying for sex is preferable to romance-based methods is unlikely to persuade many readers. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Chester Brown lives in Toronto, where he ran for parliament in the general election as a member of the Libertarian Party of Canada. He is the author of I Never Liked You, Louis Riel, and The Playboy.
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