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3.4 out of 5 stars31
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 September 2005
This is the most recent book I've read and I would recommend it - with a word of caution. The ending is very unsatisfactory.
Overall the book was an entertaining read and went some way to making me question any stereotypes I might have had about 'working girls'. It was gritty without being filth, had good pace and made me laugh in places.
Unfortunately all the good work Quan had done in creating likeable and/or believable charachters whose lives are intertwined (in ways which even the charachters don't know) is wasted with the sudden ending in which few of the subplots are brought to a conclusion.
On balance I decided on four stars because three seemed a bit harsh for a book that kept me entertained and turning pages for a few well spent hours.
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on 29 March 2006
I never expected great meaning from this book, but what I did expect was some light reading with a few engrossing plots, and a 'gossipy' feeling to it. But I was disappointed. Hardly anything mildly interesting happens in the book, until a couple of half-baked storylines near the end which go frustratingly unconcluded. I kept waiting for something to emerge which would capture me, but this never happened. The main character, Nancy, is, for me, unlikeable and it is hard for the reader to empathise or be put in her position. Overall, the book is crammed with irrelevant little details and dialogues, and tends to drag on relentlessly. There were foundations in this book for several riveting plots, and it was exasperating to see that so many oppurtunities were wasted. I would have liked to see a little more description where emotion was concerned too.
As for the end, it was as if the author ran out of time in a high school English exam. A real train wreck of an ending-completely unsatisfying.
I hate to say that on the whole, this is a poor book, although it's marginally better than reading the back of your ticket when you're bored on the bus.
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on 20 July 2005
This is a fun, fast-paced novel. The action fizzes along, and the author seems to have an ear for naturalistic dialogue and believeable characters. I read this in 24hours, as it was an easy read and the plot really seems to speed by. The plot isn't the most original - a tart with a heart story meets Bridget Jones/Sex & The City; but as it's so engaging you don't really mind, and it would be ideal fodder for commuting or holiday reading. My only complaint is that I feel that the denouement was badly handled. Instead of tying up the strands of narrative, she abruptly pulls away from them, leaving a gap (as the story is in diary format) of several months, and the conclusion is far from satisfying. Ultimately, the conclusion of this book is the one thing that Nancy and the girls definately aren't - a tease!
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on 20 August 2006
I wouldn't have said that this is hard to get into but once I came to terms with the language used I found that it was quiet a enjoyable read. Not something your mother would approve of. It is in parts too graphic but that goes along with the story and bring contents to the book. Nancy is great and has a brilliant attitude that makes you like her but not really love her. Its not one that swept me along but good all the same.
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on 8 September 2005
Instantly engaging with gritty, honest and believable charachters. Easy to read with various storylines centering on the main charachter Nancy. Goes to some pretty deep places compared to the normal standard of Chick-Lit, However the ending was very abrupt, unrealistic and badly written. I got the impression that the author didn't know how to write her way out of all her strands of narrative. After reading you'll be hungry to know what happened to Allison, Jason, Matt, and Elspeth. Very Enjoyable until page 268.
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on 22 September 2005
As I left for work this morning, I was about to pop "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" into my bag but then I realised that I had actually finished it. The reason it took me a second to realise this is that I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending - it was kind of like a three-course meal where you get an entree and only half of a main course.
The beginning and majority of the book is great; witty, funny and interesting. It provides an informative and unpretentious insight into the world of being a private call-girl. But as another reviewer commented, it seems like Quan didn't know how to wrap up the strands of the narrative and opted for a cop-out instead.
Overall: Interesting but unsatisfying.
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on 16 April 2006
The title was the only part of this book that was "tantalising" and overall I found it frustrating, dull and lacking an ending.

It is the diary of a call girl, who seemingly lies to everyone around her and herself, and has no emotions or passion about anything. She talks about sex and relationships the way that other people talk about what they ate for breakfast. Her sex scenes have no erotic charge and no insight. You feel neither sympathy nor any identification with the character, and gain no understanding of why she does what she does.

There are then a whole set of implausible interwoven plotlines, in which her secret life as a whore overlaps with her plans to marry a normal guy, and her friends are stalked, blackmailed, get involved with sex-politics and investigated by the DA office. I cringed through 'normalised' descriptions of paedophilia and sexual exploitation.

I was glad to reach the end of this book, even if it was premature and unresolved. If this is autobiographical, I feel sorry for the author, not because of her lifestyle choices, but because of her lack of insight, trust or any relationships beyond the superficial level.
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on 22 January 2015
Having recently read both Belle De Jour's "Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl" and David Henry Sterry's "Chicken", it seemed that Tracy Quan's "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" was the next natural step. Especially having seen it advertised all over the London Underground. I was hoping it would prove to be yet another look into the world of prostitution from the point of view of the prostitute and would have the same effect of making it seem like they are simply normal people with a slightly abnormal job.

That said, knowing that the book had a predominantly pink cover with a drawing of a woman in her panties prominent on it did make me wonder what kinds of looks I'd get from the other passengers on the Tube. Even more so having got some sideways glances when I was reading nothing more risqué than "Bridget Jones's Diary".

Nancy leads something of a double life. In one life, she is a call girl in New York, who seems to have very few friends or acquaintances who she hasn't met through her work. In the other, she is a supposedly respectable fiancée to Matt and, as far as he and his sisters are concerned, works in a far more respectable job.

"Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" is four months in Nancy's life. She leads us through her working days and nights and the time she spends with Matt and her friends. We get to find out how she juggles both sides of her existence and the trials she faces keeping them apart. We hear her conversations at work, at the gym and with her therapist.

As with "Belle De Jour", this is written in a diary format and, again similar to that book, some of the entries are pretty long. Unlike that, however, this does not deviate from that format. Indeed, there is no variation of style here and the only real break from the present is the small bit of back story where Nancy explains how she first became a call girl and what she did before she became a call girl in Manhattan.

Before I had even started reading the story, I had my misgivings. With the previous books I'd read on the subject, the covers were a little more discreet, whereas this shouts out to everyone what you're reading with the colour scheme and the cover picture. The way the book is divided into chapters and the slightly corny titles some of them have been given suggests this isn't taking itself as seriously as "Belle De Jour" did and the way the type on some of the pages is shaped like a woman's body suggests it's trying a little too hard to impress.

Sadly, it does seem that this book is a victory of style over substance. Although it's worth noting that this book is marketed as a work of fiction, whereas both "Chicken" and "Belle De Jour" claimed to be true stories, it is really only the subject matter than links the three books. "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" has none of the gritty realism and the shocking impact of those earlier books. It's really a watered down version of the genre, perhaps falling part way between "Belle De Jour" and "Bridget Jones's Diary".

Worst of all is the ending of the book. Having built up to an unresolved situation, Quan commits the cardinal sin of dodging the issue at the end. Had you actually succeeded in building up a relationship with Nancy through these pages, this would be a huge let down. Fortunately, I was never that involved in the story, so I didn't find it much more than a disappointment, albeit a pretty massive one.

This is a book for someone who enjoyed "Bridget Jones's Diary" and wants something with a slight edge to it. This would also be suitable reading for someone who was disgusted or shocked by "Belle De Jour". I saw a lady on a train recently reading that book with an expression on her face that covered both shock and disgust. She would probably have felt more at home with this book. For me, personally, having loved the on the edge feel of "Belle De Jour", this felt horribly watered down and not quite real.

I suspect that anyone reading this as their first foray into the subject may not be as disappointed as I was. The stories of call girls and the like seem to be coming more into the mainstream than ever before, with "Belle De Jour" seemingly leading the way. Sadly, this book proves that bandwagon jumping isn't always (or, indeed, often) a good thing and that Quan isn't fit to lace Belle De Jour's knee high boots.

This review may also appear under my name at any or all of,,, and
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on 4 April 2006
I was really disappointed with this book. It didn't really have much of a story line or plot and was just the same thing page after page ("how can I stop my fiancee finding out I'm a hooker?"), and not alot else. In a nut shell, it was just a porn book with no plot and a dreadful ending. I thought I'd blacked out and missed a huge section of the ending. Did the author just get lazy and try and wrap it up quickly, or did she too black out and imagine she'd wrote it?
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on 1 June 2015
I bought this book second hand as I generally like to read anything about call girls / escorts. Plus they tend to be easy reads and relatively quick reads.
At first I found the book to be quite a "page-turner", I really enjoyed getting to know the characters.
However, I did find the main character a bit annoying at times and massively self-obsessed (and vain).
I felt like the ratio of racy scenes to plot was about right.
I agree with a lot of the reviews on here that the ending is abrupt! VERY ABRUPT!
The last chapter or so feel totally rushed in order to set it up for the sequel, which I found very disappointing and wanting to know more of the (skipped) detail.
Anyhow, I will be reading the second book (which I also bought second hand) as I want to find out what happens with the characters :)
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