Naked: On Sex, Work, and Other Burlesques

Algonquin. Oct. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781643752372. pap. $18.99. SOC SCI
This book’s author, a burlesque performer, sex educator, and social worker, explores these roles and industries in her electrifying debut collection of essays. The book transports readers through the gritty, glamorous (and often taboo) worlds she inhabits in essays that are equal parts memoir and cultural musings on sex, performance, and connection. Whether she is detailing the moments before taking the stage at a burlesque show (“Mistress of Ceremonies”), leading a sex toy workshop for cancer survivors (“Dildo Lady”), or starting the day at Rikers Island as a social worker student and ending it in a Metropolitan Opera production (“In the Field”), the author and her stories are captivating and infused with vulnerability and humor. Regardless of the setting, she affords each experience with care and striking attention to detail. Her essays are a powerful, entertaining testament to embracing all of the facets of oneself.
VERDICT A titillating, insightful essay collection. This standout title will attract both fans of literary nonfiction and readers interested in performance or sexuality studies. Those looking for other bold, witty essays may also enjoy Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby.
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