Book Review: 'Bought' by Anna David
On Thursday 5/28 (tomorrow) at 7:00 p.m., Anna David will be reading from, and signing copies of "Bought." This goes down Book Soup in West Hollywood. Ms. David will be accompanied by star of HBO's "Cathouse," and employee of the world's oldest profession, Brooke Taylor. "Bought" is out now on Harper Collins.
Anna David (writer/TV personality/Twitteraholic) recently told LAist she’s obsessed with writing about the “seedy underbelly” of “so-called glamorous things.” In “Bought,” her second novel, David does just that, exploring the sexy, dysfunctional world of Hollywood's "kept women."
“Bought” follows Emma Swanson, a young journalist who would call herself “up and coming” if her superiors asked, though they're not. As a complacent red carpet reporter, with no luck tracking down important A-list interviews, she finds the only thing less satisfying than her work-life is her dating-life.
When she finds a story that’ll move her up the magazine ranks, and off the red carpet, Emma submerges herself into the world of kept women. That’s where she meets Jessica.
Jessica is Yale educated, super outgoing, and dresses better than those styled professionally. Her bedfellows are big Hollywood players, and oh yeah. Jessica’s a kept woman. She gets trips to Barney’s, fancy meals, all her bills paid, and more. That's in exchange for her time and body (read: genital rental.) While seeming cousins to (better-than-Craigslist) prostitutes, Jessica's no hooker. She doesn’t take any money for her services.
Emma’s magnetically drawn to the well-spoken non-hooker. She even believes Jessica has more honest relationships with men than she does. After all, there are no hazy lines to read between, or amorous codes to decipher.
As Emma plunges deeper into Jessica’s world, she’s soon knee-deep in a codependent friendship with Jessica, and all her uneven ways. Emma’s worldview is soon flipped and twisted, as she progresses from filthy language, to smoking cigarettes, to snorting cocaine. Emma finds herself acting more like Jessica than she would have ever thought possible. But does she like it? -- or loathe it?
Painted against the canvas of our evocative city, David sketches the playgrounds of Hollywood’s rich and privileged with vivid color and accuracy. A reader may think a trip to a WeHo Starbucks would offer Jessica, sipping a latte, and reading Nabokov, before leaving to help an A-list director through a difficult day on set.
“Bought” is a good read, one that's both quick and fun. David’s effective prose flows smoothly, and is driven by her well-crafted characters. While the content is often seductive, it provocativity is never at the story's expense. The layers of the book’s dysfunction are thought provoking as well. The themes are still echoing debate in my mind.
As a male who has little experience with “chick lit,” I’m not the one to say if that's what this book is or not. However, my thorough enjoyment of the “Party Girl” writer’s new novel leads me to believe that this female-driven book will appeal to plenty of other members of my gender.
Have you read Anna David's books? Comment below!