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Professional Review of “Eve: Memoirs of an International Sex Worker”

Eve Memoirs of an International Sex Worker
Monsoon Books

Despite the title brandishing “International Sex Worker,” most of this memoir takes place on Australian soil. This book is actually a revelation of how a fifteen year old turns to sex work and how a single mother supports herself and her child in this industry working from her own home whilst her baby sleeps or is in daycare to keep up with the spiraling expenses of a lifestyle she had become accustomed to. It covers interesting periods of time in Australia’s history: the Fitzgerald Inquiry (1987-89 into Queensland police corruption), Kings Cross (Sydney’s notorious red-light district) during the eighties where she writes firsthand about turf wars, club owners and rampant police corruption. Annika (a drug and alcohol free sex-worker) also offers many insights into how the drug scene is intricately linked to the sex industry. The international high class escort pages appear in the latter part of the book in a chapter called “Riding the Asian Tigers,” unfortunately there is a lack of information about the sex industry in Singapore. The memoir also touches upon Annika’s path to self-determination and commencing university studies as a mature age student during the latter part of her career and earning a string of qualifications that she refers to as an “alphabet soup.”
Annika is clear that she is not advocating this line of work: “Prostitution is never the first choice for young ladies contemplating their future careers.” (p9). In Annika’s case and often others she encounters it is a series of traumatic, abusive and desperate circumstances that would lead a fifteen year old to this kind of work. In Annika’s case two incidences of abuse, being estranged from her parents, a need for money to pay for rent and expenses, no ID… “I had been called a whore so many times that I figured I was already doing the time, I might as well do the crime.” P52. As shocking as this sounds it is also clear throughout the novel that she made this choice and this continued to be the preferred choice for eighteen years. It often seemed like a case of too easy to stay in the game and too hard to stay out in terms of money and running her own shop.  In fact her retirement seems like a little bit of a sore point as ultimately her hand was forced as she grew older and her daughter became a teenager making it more difficult to keep her work a secret. Annika also comments that peoples sexual preferences changed over the decades to become more extreme and uncomfortable and the internet boom essentially killed the call girl as Annika states herself in her Crikey (independent Australian news source) article: “No More Vanilla: how Internet killed the Call Girl.” Annika’s book does not glamourise the industry but exposes all the nuts and bolts in an almost how-to manual style fashion, the prose is fluid and flows along with some larger story arcs that keep it together: the on/off again relationship with her parents and an old childhood sweetheart and the birth and upbringing of her daughter. Sitting down and reading it the overall experience is like someone telling you a series of yarns which do not always tie up neatly and throw up some curly questions but are riveting none-the-less. The narrative is well written and the subject matter makes for compelling reading. It was hard to put down and enjoyable to read. I will be eager to see what Annika turns her pen to next.

Review by: Raelee Chapman

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