Secret Diary of a Call Girl – brasher and more brutal than Billie Piper’s Belle

This book caught my eye when it was left behind at the book-swap table in the lobby of my block of flats. I’d watched the Billie Piper version on ITV (hence my using a picture of her in her underwear here rather than the boring pink chick-lit cover on the book I read) so I snapped it up with some curiosity.  She really does look great in underwear….but I digress.

The book seems rather different from the TV series. There’s a lot more fisting and a lot more urine for a start. One can’t genuinely imagine the silky underwear-clad Billie Piper doing that sort of thing. She seems to mainly have burlesque-inspired sex with good-looking men whilst still wearing a bra. Granted I’ve never visited a prostitute but I’m fairly sceptical of her portrayal of the business, much as she makes it look attractive (see above).

Belle de Jour’s diary, on the other hand, is a little more believable. Belle depicts prostitution as an art form rather than pure good fun. She is providing a service that is not just sex, it’s wish fulfilment. Her business is playing a different role every time and working out who she’s meant to be before she’s asked. It’s like acting, I suppose – complete with props, costumes, face-paint, carefully chosen lines and a lot of money, once you’re at the top of your game. The main differences seem to be the extra physicality and the fact that you can’t tell your parents what you do for a living.

But I digress (again). Secret Diary of a Call Girl is a good read – easy to get into on the tube too, as long as you don’t mind people noticing that you’re reading a prostitute’s diary. Belle is amusing, likeable and very – well – normal. This, presumably, is what catapulted her to stardom. She’s just like the sort of girl you’d go to uni with. She’d sit up late drinking cheap wine with you, she’d lend you a nice satin top for a date. She just happens not to get squeamish about being paid to have sex with strangers.  (It’s a bit like having a friend who works in sales – you envy the money but shudder at the thought of making the phonecalls.) It wouldn’t appeal to me as a career, I have to say. Belle’s assignations sound like rather a lot of hard work – but the book is worth a read.

Secret Diary of a Call Girl straddles the divide between chick lit and (here I reveal the pretentious kitty within) real literature. It leans more heavily on the chick lit side, of course, but it’s refreshingly free of cliché and tedious predictability. My verdict: mindless reading for the not-usually-mindless. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Buy this book

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1 Comment

Filed under fiction, non fiction

One response to “Secret Diary of a Call Girl – brasher and more brutal than Billie Piper’s Belle

  1. I really enjoyed this review.

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