"I walk all the way up Hollywood Boulevard to Grauman's Chinese Theatre: past tourists snapping shots; wannabe starlets sparkling by in miniskirts with head shots in their hands and moondust in their eyes; rowdy cowboys drinking with drunken Indians; black businessmen bustling by briskly in crisp suits; ladies who do not lunch with nylons rolled ...
"I walk all the way up Hollywood Boulevard to Grauman's Chinese Theatre: past tourists snapping shots; wannabe starlets sparkling by in miniskirts with head shots in their hands and moondust in their eyes; rowdy cowboys drinking with drunken Indians; black businessmen bustling by briskly in crisp suits; ladies who do not lunch with nylons rolled up below the knee pushing shopping carts full of everything they own; Mustangs rubbing up against muscular Mercedes and Hell's Angels hogs. It's a sick twisted Wonderland, and I'm Alice." Here is a story like no other: The unforgettable chronicle of a season spent walking the razor-sharp line between painful innocence and the allure of the abyss. David Sterry was a wide-eyed son of 1970s suburbia, but within his first week looking for off-campus housing on Sunset Boulevard he was lured into a much darker world -- servicing the lonely women of Hollywood by night. "Chicken"--the word is slang for a young male prostitute--revisits this year of living dangerously, in a narrative of dazzling inventiveness and searing candor. Shifting back and forth from tales of Sterry's youth--spent in the awkward bosom of a disintegrating dysfunctional family--to his fascinating account of the Neverland of post--sixties sexual excess, Chicken teems with Felliniesque characters and set pieces worthy of Dionysus. And when the life finally overwhelms Sterry, his retreat from the profession will leave an indelible mark on readers' minds and hearts.
Publishers Weekly, 2013-09-02 Ten years ago, this debut memoir from Sterry burst upon the literary scene with an energy and inventiveness that captured his little-known subject matter-teenage life in Los Angeles as a rent boy working for a benevolent pimp named Sunny whose "rich, generous, horny friends," Sterry explains, "pay good money to party with a boy like me." Now back in print, Sterry's memoir still crackles with its unsparingly honest approach: "I catch myself in the mirror, seventeen-year-old hardbody belly, pitprop legs, zero body fat, and huge hands. I'm seduced by the glitter of my own flesh." Scenes from Sterry's early dysfunctional family life not only add pathos to this tale of fall and resurrection but assure readers that he never sees himself as better than his clients, such as Dot, the wealthy 82-year-old, whose only desire is to experience cunnilingus for the first time-a desire that Sterry readily fulfills. "Even though I have no home and no family except for a bunch of prostitutes and a pimp, even though I have no future... at least I'm good at this." (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-11-26 A cross between Midnight Cowboy and Boogie Nights, this tell-all memoir of a Hollywood Boulevard-heterosexual-teen-boy-male-hustler in the 1970s has all the makings of a week's worth of Jerry Springer shows. Emerging from a slightly dysfunctional upper-middle-class family of British emigres (where father was domineering and distant, and mother's female friend turned out to be her lover), teenaged Sterry fled to a Catholic college in Los Angeles and found himself working for an escort agency as well as attending classes and dating a nice girl. While the material here is fascinating, Sterry doesn't seem to trust its basic appeal and relies on a gimmicky, Hunter Thompsonesque prose style "I can do this. Woman's pleasure. Loverstudguy" to pump up the volume. This same lack of trust shapes the tone of the book. Attempts to shock fail, as when Sterry is hired at an s&m costume ball, because he portrays his clients as bizarre rather then empathetically displaying their humanity. The book's climactic, Midnight Cowboy-esque scene, in which Sterry gets violent with one of his few male clients and finally quits the life, may feel good for the wrong reasons. Sterry's book is an easy but not an insightful read. (Feb.) Forecast: An NPR syndicated feature and four-city author tour may draw aspiring Dirk Digglers or Mrs. Robinsons to this title from among literate vicarious thrill seekers, but it is unclear how many of them would be caught carrying it around. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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