A vivid and erudite exploration of class struggle and gender identity.

NEON GIRLS

A STRIPPER'S EDUCATION IN PROTEST AND POWER

A former sex worker's chronicle of her days hustling at a legendary San Francisco peep show serves as a piercing examination of gender politics and a gritty insider’s account of union organizing.

Like many of her colleagues at the Lusty Lady Theatre, Worley, an English professor, had a greater vision for herself when she began working as an exotic dancer in the 1990s. Working on her doctoral degree, she had just embarked on a new career in academia, entered into a promising new relationship, and expanded her circle of friends. At the same time, she realized that stripping could theoretically give her the time she needed to advance her studies. What she did not fully understand, however, was just how much the Lusty Lady gig would demand of her body and soul. Worley adroitly captures the devastating dichotomy of feminist power running headlong into the realities of work built around the whims of men. “Despite my now-proficient skills combating licking...and bossing around, I was unprepared for this new indignity, this blatant, wholesale rejection,” she writes. “I felt a commingling of shame and fury at being discarded so perfunctorily by someone I was, after all, pretending to like in the first place.” The economic exploitation the author was to experience on the Lusty Lady stage and in its darkened, secluded side booths could not be ignored. Worley’s dynamic campaign to organize the performers into the Exotic Dancers Union could be used as a primer for unions nationwide, as her spot-on account of the battles between management and workers is as relevant now as it was 25 years ago. The author also demonstrates a deep understanding of trade unionism’s extensive roots in burlesque and respect for those who came before her, including iconic figures like blacklisted “communist” Gypsy Rose Lee.

A vivid and erudite exploration of class struggle and gender identity.

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297132-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

THE DEFENSE LAWYER

THE BARRY SLOTNICK STORY

The Patterson publishing machine clanks its way into the nonfiction aisles in this lumbering courtroom drama.

Barry Slotnick made a considerable fortune and reputation as a defense attorney who had a long list of controversial clients, including mob boss John Gotti and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. An “urbane lawyer known for his twenty-five-hundred-dollar Fioravanti suits, he was not unacquainted with violence,” write Patterson and Wallace. One of his early cases, indeed, involved a group of Jewish Defense League members who allegedly blew up a Broadway producer’s office, killing a woman who worked there. Slotnick’s defense was a standard confuse-the-jury ploy, but it worked. He put similar tactics to work in his defense of Bernhard Goetz, the “subway shooter” whose trial made international news. The authors open after that trial had concluded in yet another Slotnick win, and with a sensational incident: He was attacked by a masked man who beat him with a baseball bat. The evidence is sketchy, but it seems to place the attack in the hands of organized crime—perhaps even Gotti himself. No matter: Slotnick, “who saw himself as the foe of the all-powerful government” and “liberty’s last champion,” was soon back to representing clients including Radovan Karadžić, the murderous Bosnian Serb who was eventually imprisoned for having committed genocide; Dewi Sukarno, the widow of Indonesia’s similarly bloodstained president, “arrested for slashing the face of a fellow socialite with a broken champagne glass at a party in Aspen”; and Melania Trump, who had chosen Slotnick “to handle her prenup.” In the hands of a John Grisham, the story might have come to life, but while Patterson does a serviceable if cliché-ridden job of recounting Slotnick’s career, he fails to give readers much reason to admire the man.

For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49437-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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