Review by: Moira Richards

May 2003

Slay Me Tender
By Jenny Scholten
ISBN: 1-892281-15-5

Slay Me Tender's protagonist, Aubrey Lyle, holds a bachelor's degree in history, but finds that she can earn herself a more lucrative living in the sex business. Most nights she can be found dancing (stage and lap--strictly no touching) for the Naughtyland strip club in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.

Slay Me Tender's author, Jenny Scholten, was a student at the University of Maryland before she went on to spend five happy years working as an exotic dancer. So there seems to be good reason to assume that her novel is set fairly authentically into its background of life on the red-light side of the tracks.

Scholten's narrator is a straight talking, no frills, no illusions, woman who has a delightfully wry sense of humour. She relates this fast-paced mystery, peopled with a slightly over-the-top cast of porn stars, ageing queens and a missing size-H breast implant, with an understated matter-of-factness that contrasts beautifully with the zaniness of her tale and its cast. The story will make you wonder whether predatory Yuppies or petty drug dealers are the bigger blight on society.

This novel offers escapism aplenty but it also deconstructs many common myths and misconceptions about the sex-trade and its underlying gender politic. Scholten critiques many of the societal assumptions and prejudices that abound about the women who choose to work in an industry that most people prefer to pretend does not exist. She makes a strong case for the right of women to be able to choose, without censure, such a career. But she does not neglect to remind the reader too, of the really seamy side of the business -- of the horrors of trafficking in women and forced prostitution.


Also by Scholten: Day Stripper

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