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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Bar Girl
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 12 August 2017
I downloaded this having heard of the author when he submitted a different book to Kindle Scout. Despite my initials thoughts of this book just being about bar girls in Thailand, it's so much better than that. It's very much a feel good story, with well developed characters that you care about, a story that ties together and a feeling that there is good in the world. So as long as the backdrop doesn't bother you (with some shortish but not graphic abuse scenes) and if you enjoy a powerful and moving drama you may well be very surprised at this satisfying read, as I was.

The main character, Siswan, escapes an abusive background and makes a life for herself in the Asian beaches where bars are frequented by farangs (foreigners) who drink a lot and pay for sex with the bar girls. Siswan doesn't want to be a bar girl; she wants to improve her life so she watches and learns and tries to make a difference, becoming a strong woman in the process.

It may not be the most realistic portrayal of a young Asian girl (after all it is written by a western man) but it's pretty darn good escapism with some insight into the plight of the bar girls. It is all wrapped up a little too cleanly at the end but I don't care, I enjoyed it.

There is some swearing but only where appropriate and there's certainly not a lot of it. Considering the subject matter naturally there's talk of sex but nothing graphic and of course there's violence but again it's all in context. Well done David Thompson, you surprised me, I have downloaded some of your other books now. One suggestion, get a better cover, this one implies trash and this is not a trashy or sleazy read.
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on 17 May 2017
Probably the best book I have read about bar girls and their life styles . A great read and highly recommended.
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on 7 July 2014
couldn,t put this book down.thought it would end as these sort of books usually do.but what an unexpected twist.great reaf
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on 24 November 2015
An interesting read, I wonder how to true to life it would actually be?
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on 26 April 2014
Mike is a disillusioned British expat running a seedy bar in Thailand, a front for prostitution in the form of 'bar girls'. His business is collapsing and he can't afford the fare back to England. One day, a stunningly beautiful Thai girl called Siswan walks into his bar and begins a series of changes to his life and his business that he could never have dreamt of.

I really enjoyed this book. I was really interested in the lives and stories of the characters and what would happen to them. I know nothing about Thailand or the bar-girl culture but the author painted a very convincing picture.

I only have two small problems with the book. As others have pointed out, the ending is a little bit too 'fairy tale' and seems slightly disjointed from the rest of the book. I won't reveal the details, but it was somewhat unrealistic because it seemed as if Mike and Siswan were trying to solve a social problem while simultaneously profiting from it.

Also, although the writer's style is very readable and professional, there are a number of typographical and grammatical errors which suggest the book lacked professional copy editor to give it a final polish. For example, I lost count of the times I read sentences such as 'Her and Mike were sat at the table' instead of 'she and Mike were sitting at the table.' These are small details but I think they mark the difference between a professional and an amateur writer.

Overall though a highly enjoyable book, perfect for a holiday read and I look forward to trying some of Mr Thompson's other books.
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on 27 August 2015
Pretty unbelievable story and unbelievable characters. Girl gets abused, runs away from home, works in a washer houser and then as a cashier in a girly bar - learning so much that at only 17 years of age she can turn around a failing bar into a huge money maker in less than a year and a multi-million empire in only a few years plus open up a chain of care homes. Because thats how easy it is in. Well at least it is in something as false and silly as this tiresome book.
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on 23 January 2014
This book was available free through my Kindle and I thought twice about downloading it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not the prudish type but its cover made me think this may be yet another story of the bar-girl-did-me-wrong genre but I was wrong. Follow the protagonist, Siswan, as a little girl in a village, defenceless, hopeless and penniless, who eventually escapes to chase a better future but actually finding more pain and heartache along the way which the author cleverly reveals little by little by mixing the present story telling with flashbacks. Allow yourself to be moved by Siswan’s ambitious dreams that one day she will achieve what no bar girl before her has ever achieved. This is a plausible story but as much as I loved the finale it may be pretty unlikely to happen for real. If you are expecting a book full of sex, sleaze and cheap vulgarity then this is not a story that will satisfy that interest. If, on the contrary you wish to begin to understand the plight of bar girls this may provide a welcome educational insight into a world most of us know little or nothing.
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on 10 February 2015
An excellent 'story' which had me hooked from about page 6. As per another reviewer, I finished the book in 2 days. I didn't want to put it down.
I say 'story' because this fictional tale is written based on the reality of what can, and does happen, in Thailand's bar girl industry.

For those who know Thailand, the writer's understanding of the corruption, the truth behind the smiles in the 'land of smiles', village life and much more, will add to the authenticity of the story. For those who want to learn about Thailand's bar scene, an eye opener.

As for the 'fairy tale' ending, I enjoyed it. I think 'happy ending' would be a more accurate description. I notice those who were a little disappointed with the happy ending, seemed to have no complaints about any suffering certain characters endured.
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on 12 December 2016
I've always spent a lot of time reading, everything from Penguin Classics to Andy McNab. Without a shred of irony or embarrassment, I can say that I believe this to be one of the best books I've ever read. Yes, it's a bit cheesy in places, yes, the premise requires a bit of a stretch of the imagination and yes, the ending is a bit rushed and doesn't really do justice to the rest of the book. But I don't think I've ever read a book from cover to cover without a break before. That's how absorbing it is: seven and a half hours straight.

I highly recommend this book. If anyone is put off by the content on the first few pages, be assured that, while it's certainly gritty, it's not as unpalatable as the very beginning may suggest.
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on 20 February 2015
Well written book. Worth reading. If true reflection of women's lives , I hope things are much better now. The chapters are not overlong and story line reflects on essential parts to bring it all together. I thought alcohol was more a problem in Britain , so this book has surprised me . Although a sad account of many women's lives, one leaves the book on a positive note of an improving lifestyle for some unfortunate women.
First time in a long time that I have read a book from start to finish, I wanted to see the outcome before I went to bed. So had a late-night/ early morning.
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