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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2012
I didn't really know what to expect when I started to read this book. I certainly could never have imagined the impression it has left on me.
It's fair to say that I had some, probably standard, generalised, pre-conceived ideas about what a brothel was and what the woman who made it her business must be like.
How wide of the mark could those ideas be?
Madam is an emotional rollercoaster of a read, full of wit and humility, not to mention a seriously interesting insight into people and their uniqueness (as they say, there's nought so queer as folk!)through the 24:7 routine of a brothel.
It's the story of a woman juggling a career and a family. It may not be everyone's choice of career, but what is certain is that it is the choice of many.
I loved Becky's tenacity and sense of humour in the face of adversity. I haven't been able to put the book down and would recommend it as a very interesting read indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2012
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK...if you have any plans in your diary for the next few days. That includes going to work, feeding children, any housework to do or even needing a shower...it won't be happening!
I had read previous comments on the un-put-down-able book that has just been published; I was now on chapter 20 and had to make the painful decision to put the book down!
The reason I had come to this traumatic decision was I could not bear it to end and knew I would probably end up in some kind of book rehab, so needed to save some for later.
Do not read this book in pubic either. Screaming with laughter on the number 7 bus (I had to go to work) was a very embarrassing moment for me.
If you are in any doubt if some of it's contents are fiction; the stories are so bizarre and funny, you could not make them up!
Do not look for this book in the comedy section though as it won't be there. This book is tinged with sadness, struggle and often very dark in places. It portrays a single mum doing right by her kids and pi**ing alot of people off along the way in the dreary backdrop of a grotty city, where not much ever happens...or so you'd think...!
The best 20 chapters I have ever read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Life has its ups and downs. But 'Madam' is the roller coaster ride from hell. Hang on tight because it is going to be a bumpy ride. Those looking for cheap titillation move along. This is a gutsy tale of what it takes to survive outside of the law and yet still subject to all the BS and bureaucracy that this country is drowning in. You will meet some amazing characters and some real officious arses, such is the mix of life. But through it all Madam Becky soldiers on determined to protect herself, her friends and family. There are tears and laughter along the way and some eye watering insights into what turns on your non average punter. From Transvestites, to fur fetishists, sports fanatics to pony play, all find their way to the welcoming boudoir of Madam Becky. The tea flows, biscuits are eaten, gossip discussed, as a steady stream of weird and wonderful people pass through the doors of Madam Becky's various business establishments.

Highly recommended if you really want to know what the sex industry of the UK is like to work in.

I look forward to reading more in the future, for if I have one criticism, it is that the book is too short. A real page turner, enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2012
I don't very often get around to writing a review but this one is a must!

Becky Adams is a warm and wonderful lady and this book just had it all for me - I couldn't put it down. An absolute page turner. It had me wanting to cry for Becky one minuter and howling with laughter the next.

For entertainment value and for a true and enlightening insight into the sex industry in our country I really recommend you set a day aside to read this. I say a day because once you start, you won't put it down!

Thank you so much Becky and I can't wait for the second book.

Vicki xx
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
Do you have misconceptions about the British sex industry? Have you ever been guilty of pre-judging, ignoring or dismissing any lady, you knew, to be involved in the game? Well too bad, because this book will literally blow your socks off.

Throw away the chains and whips for an evening, and perch yourself into a cosy chair or bed for that matter accompanied by Becky Adams, and her wonderful book - "Madam - Prostitutes, Punters and Puppets," which takes the reader into the very real journey of the British sex industry.

This book is an eye opening, page turning marvel, detailing one lady's time trying to run a brothel in supposed sexually conservative Britain. Do not be mistaken, the book is not full of sordid tell-tale stories. It is very much about one woman's amazing journey, to defy the odds time and time again, all the while, trying to afford a decent level of protection and discretion to those involved in the industry.

"Madam - Prostitutes, Punters and Puppets" is bursting with hilarious stories, dysfunctional, and the not so dysfunctional characters, and outright brilliant escapades at times. It literally choked me up with laughter in many parts, as Becky Adams shares stories about her first personal foray into the back of a Chinese oriental restaurant, through to a riotous trip to Royal Ascot, and the various dramatic forced relocations, while attempting to keep ahead of the law and authorities. There is a chuckle or a great laugh in this book for everyone however; if there ever was a book written to educate and inform people on why we should legalise the sex industry, this book is it.

What amazed me about the book and Becky Adams own personal story, is this lady's sheer determination, resilience, and ability, to overcome many difficult situations, to become a remarkable and outstandingly responsible business lady.

The reader will be surprised to see how in each and every situation - Becky Adams found a way to overcome the problem, keeping herself out of prison, trusting the right people, moving into the right direction, investing her money and in most cases, ending in the right place, most of the time despite the constant hounding.

Becky Adams displays a lateral form of thinking and dedication to customer care that most business people could only dream of delivering. She is a business leader, visionary and passionate about the welfare and security of her staff. I believe too many of us dismiss the argument for situational ethics. Yet, as I read this book, I realised that my thoughts on this came from a life different to many which the young girls who worked for Becky Adams had experienced, until they fortunately came under her guidance.

What struck me was how totally exposed these young girls working in this industry could be. While there are many ethical issues surrounding the issue of the legalisation of prostitution. One of the main arguments being that legalised prostitution would only result in an increase in human trafficking and crime. A view, I perhaps ignorantly held myself until I read this book. The very powerful and at times, shocking stories in this book, will make any reasonable person think and ponder for a moment. Clearly, were it not for Becky Adams intervention or protective motherly nature. Some of the girls throughout the book may have met with a very different ending or outcome in life.

The book is uniquely written, full of the very best of quirky British humour blended fantastically well with sadly, some of the very worst aspects of British society, and the darker sides of the sex industry. It politely depicts the double standards operated by police forces and local authorities in relation to the sex industry.
I would argue having read this truly fantastic book that this book will clear up any misconceptions people have about the sex industry. I also believe it will transform people's views on why we need a Madam Becky Adams in every brothel the length and breathe of the United Kingdom.

The book deftly highlights why we simply cannot afford to let crime gangs to keep running the brothels, or abusing and exploiting young girls like they currently do. We as a society need to stop judging and pretending that we know the very real dangers these girls are exposed to. We should listen and learn, how it could be operated professionally and tastefully, if given a decent chance by us all in modern society.

The truth is once I started reading, the dishes were piling up, the television muted and the coffee flowing aplenty, as I couldn't put the book down. The book is full of characters, life, personality and emotions. The stories and writing are remarkable, and you feel a deeper connection with all the characters by the time you finish the book. The book sucked me into this world far more readily than I expected it to.

"Madam - Prostitutes, Punters and Puppets" - by Becky Adams is a courageous, entertaining and above all, powerfully insightful book into the oldest trade in the world. I highly recommend this book regardless of what genre you normally read. This is one of those rare books that will have something in it for everyone.

I can say I've become a huge fan and admirer of Madam Becky Adams having read the book. I hope this is only the first, of what I hope, will be many books to follow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2013
This my first ever review and not usually the type of person who writes them but here goes
At first was not sure if this was a book I would enjoy thinking it would be all cheap innuendo and relying on titillation to keep you engrossed, taking just several days to Finnish the book my pre conceived ideas were completely changed. I found the book to be a fascinating insight to a much maligned profession great pathos and humour would recommend this book to everyone, as for Madam Becky I found her to be a warm caring human being.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2012
If there were ever an argument for the decriminalisation of prostitution, this is it. Madam Becky Adams' account traces her experiences of running massage parlours then sex shops and brothels in England from her middle-class upbringing to her media star status and 'retirement.' Interviewed on TV, Adams comes across as articulate and intelligent. Here she seems honest and endearing too. (How many ''legitimate'' employers take so much care over their employees' welfare and prospects?). Her account feels instantly authentic - from the elaborate lies the girls tell their partners to the nicknames they give their punters to their love of good shoes and taxis. Even before I finish the first chapter I find myself wishing I could sit down with Adams over a pot of tea and a packet of gingernuts for a good gossip.
Adams doesn't glamorise the profession. There's the real threat of violence, from competitors, from a rogue punter. But she does show us that it can be a lucrative choice for women, especially those with few other options. Though she stresses the mundane aspects of her job, she also reminds us the sex she witnessed was ridiculous at times. Her account is laugh-out-loud funny in places, peopled with memorable characters like Wiggy and Belinda. It's not always politically correct and probably the better for it. We see the men's quirks and fetishes (you will never drive through Milton Keynes again without smiling) but these are nearly always presented in a non-judgemental way. The laughter isn't cruel; it just reiterates the occasional absurdity of the human psyche.
It would have been easy to have focused on the more outrageous aspects of running a brothel but I love that Adams also uses her account to argue some serious points. Yes, she treads familiar themes: the overpopulation of the industry which has seen prices tumble; the stigmatisation of sex workers; the hypocrisy of tabloid newspapers who feel the need to simultaneously moralise and titillate; the idiotic laws surrounding sex work that endanger prostitutes by forcing them to work alone; the hysteria over sex trafficking that has annexed all discussion of prostitution; the absurdity of the Inland Revenue wanting to collect tax on an illegal enterprise... and so forth. But it doesn't matter that these aren't new. As long as society (and sadly many feminists) insist on dismissing sex workers' experiences, these arguments should be made over and over again.
Like the memoirs of that other great British madam - Cynthia Payne - Madam, Prostitutes and Punters would make a great film. Till then, it's a cracking read. Read it if you want to be entertained. Read it if you want to educate yourself about the sex industry. Reality is so much more interesting than the cliché.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2012
Buying this book was a bit of a punt so to speak and it turned out to be a very good one (Ba-dum-tish). Thankfully Becky Adams's book is much funnier than that joke and a lot better written. In fact it is better written than some authors who are inexplicably treated like literary royalty in this country.

The tale of her life is interesting, entertaining and intertwined with anecdotes that are told by someone who has taken the trouble to learn how to write. As a result the characters are three dimensional and the dialogue reflects their personalities without the usual stock in trade hyperbole and exclamations that quickly bore.

Sex and farce, which are an inevitable part of any book like this, are handled with a humour and lightness that is both refreshing and honest. Carry On Punting this isn't. The less pleasant aspects of her own life and those around her are also well written and the overall impression is that she can give balance and expression to experiences both good and bad. Given it's set in the twilight world of massage parlours, brothels and escorting this could easily have been a book of heavy puns and awful metaphors with winks and nudges on every page. It isn't and instead I often found it quick witted, clever and insightful.

There are some minor faults with the book to my mind. I found the main villainess and some of the scenes a little overplayed - I could almost see the horns sprouting from her head and hear the hisses rising from a panto audience as I read some passages. But that said the dramatic licence it contains is never truly outrageous and in many ways adds to the enjoyment. And whilst it gives an insight into many areas of the author's life and the world's oldest profession there are some aspects of both that remain tantalisingly closed to reader, probably for reasons best known to the author, m'learned friends and members of the constabulary. But these are very minor complaints in what is in almost every way a very entertaining and thought provoking read; and thanks to this book hand puppets are now much much funnier to me than they ever were before.

I hope you buy it and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2012
You know when the red top tabloids describe something sex-related as a `romp'? Well, Madam, a memoir by former brothel owner Becky Adams fits that description like a masseuse in a rubber catsuit.

Drop any preconceptions you may have of prostitution; there are no blank-eyed, drug-addicted sex slaves here. What there is, however, is the fascinating story of a middle-class, convent-educated woman who has decided to share with us the highs and lows of twenty years in the sex business.

Madam starts out with some background on Becky's childhood, the rather fraught relationship with her mother, the adoration of her rogueish dad with a bit of sibling rivalry thrown in. Teenage rebellion and unsuitable boyfriends follow and Becky looks set to follow so many young women down the road of petty crime, single motherhood and poverty. But instead she sets up a topless car wash, advertising itself memorably as `the best hand job in town'.

Acting as a minder for her friend who turned to prostitution to pay the bills when her husband left, Becky spots a distinct lack of professionalism and customer care in the escorting business and steps in to ensure client satisfaction. In every way. Before long, Madam Becky's Massage Parlour is born and Madam Becky becomes an unlikely TV star in ITV's Personal Services documentary, not to mention appearances on daytime television as she speaks out on behalf of sex workers and bares all the secrets of a suburban brothel.

Madam is tremendous fun to read; I will never look at a hand puppet in the same way again and the anecdotes of punters and girls are hilarious and endearing in a typically British Carry On fashion. I also now can't hear the word `annual' without being reminded of some of the services Becky's kittens offered!

The book also exposes a more unpleasant side to the business though - a bullying brothel manager, near-constant harassment by irate neighbours, police, Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue, violence from rival operations and a particularly shameful campaign of petty tyranny by Aylesbury Vale District Council. It all takes its toll on Becky and leads to her retirement and a new career as after dinner speaker and campaigner to provide a more balanced public view of sex workers.

If you're looking for an honest and witty account of a very British brothel, then settle down for a good old-fashioned romp with Madam Becky Adams, a nice cup of tea and a cake.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2012
For many people this book will be a revelation about a world they will have only heard of and perhaps heard nothing but ill-informed rumour. If you want to read it, you will not be admitting to a dark side of your character but a natural interest in a quite pervasive aspect of life. And Becky has written her account with Linda's help in an extremely effective way. There is structure, there is background, there are motifs that constantly reappear, there are very believable characters although no doubt the girls themselves are elements of different girls and there is the constantly interesting revelation of Becky's own character faced with the ups and downs (and yes the ins and outs) that make you realise the apparent disorganisation only survives because the woman in charge has such an instinctively knowing character that she can make decisions and choices that keep people wanting to be involved with her. I don't see there being a sequel as such as this book takes you from childhood to the end of Becky's brothel days. But Becky seems to be such a natural teller of tales there is surely a novel or two based on the world she knows so well. Read this and smile, gasp and rage.
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