The cartoonist Chester Brown documents his experiences seeing sex workers in a comic book. It’s primarily a memoir, with some essay at the end arguing for the unregulated legalization of sex work. Finally, the book closes with an addendum by one of Chester’s friends (who is a character in the book), who describes the author from an outside perspective, clarifies his recollections of what happened in the scenes in which he appears, and pushes back on Chester’s pro-sex work arguments.
The art is simple black and white, with no major effort to appear like-like; just functional, like Dilbert. I’m not sure how much was added to the story by telling it visually, but it’s unique and it makes sense for a cartoonist to tell his story this way.
The most interesting part of the book is the friend’s description of the author. He describes him as highly unusual, and “robotic” (or some similar term). He says that Brown’s emotional life is quite distinct from that of all the others he knows, and that this must influence his transactional perspective of sex work.
The author clearly seems unusual and unconventional throughout the book. But he also seems earnest—seemingly not exaggerating his eccentricities or stances for show, but really believing in them.
His pro-sex work position is supported by libertarian arguments against government intervention and regulation, support of property rights, and harm reduction. Some of these are standard arguments I’ve heard before. However Brown goes further are argues, almost verbatim, that so long as you respect the property rights of others, you’ll lead a moral and meaningful life, which reads like a parody of his own libertarian ideals.
Ideas per Page:1 3/10 (low)
Recommend to Others: No
Reread Personally: No
1 A measure of the number of new or distinct ideas introduced per page. 10/10 would be conceptually dense, like a textbook. 1/10 would be almost completely fluff.