My whorizontal Life: An Escort's Tale (Book One)
COMEDY BIOGRAPHICAL MELODRAMA YOUNG ADULT DRAMA
1980s & '90s
BRIDGET JONES DIARY
• SEPHE: 20S. LEAD. EMPATHETIC AND INTUITIVE.
• SUSAN: 40S. SEPHE'S MAIN BOSS AS A PROSTITUTE.
• CAIT: 20S. A MORE SEASONED PROSTITUTE WHO HELPS TRAIN SEPHE.
• JUILLIARD FRIEND: 20S. AN UNNAMED MALE FRIEND OF SEPHE'S FROM SCHOOL WHO OUTS HER AS A PROSTITUTE TO ALL OF THEIR FRIENDS AND PUTS AN END TO THEIR THEATER COMPANY'S BEGINNING.
• RAY: 40S. A CLIENT OF SEPHE'S.
• VIVIAN: 20S. A RIDICULOUSLY BEAUTIFUL COWORKER OF SEPHE'S.
Finding compassion and love in the least likely place. When an idealistic, romantic young woman, is overwhelmed by debt and poverty, she takes what she thinks will be a limited leap into the underworld of escorting, but finds it not so easy to get out. Or maybe she doesn't want to?
Target Gender: Female Leaning,Male Leaning
New York City, Late 1980's (the book spans 6 months)
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: self-published
Year Published: 2019
"Bring what you need." they said. But how do I know what I'll need? I've never been a hooker before. A young woman, just graduated from Julliard Drama, is confronted with a choice between homelessness and becoming an Escort.
Although being an escort is far from her dream, she finds her compassion, wit and talents not wanted in the 'real world' right now are just the qualities that make her a unique escort and, at least for now, if she can keep it secret and get out alive, its the best job she ever had.
Relationships (men and women), women's lit, #metoo, sex work is real work
Hard Copy Available
Mature Audience Themes
Plot - Other Elements
Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Coming of Age,Philosophical Questions
Plot - Premise
Other,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Rags to Riches
Main Character Details
Name: Sephe Haven
Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Clumsy,Complex,Desperate,Empathetic,Engaging,Flexible,Educated,Insecure,Naive,Romantic,Funny,Sexy,Narcisstic,Secretive
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Educated,Leader,Unapologetic,Sophisticated,Outspoken,Blunt
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Charming,Confident,Engaging,Unapologetic,Seductive,Sexy,Uneducated
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Underdog,Aggressive,Unapologetic,Manipulative,Blunt,Narcisstic,Masculine
Imagine dropping a sort of Disney Princess, (maybe Ariel?) into the underground world of high-end Escorting in New York City in the 1980's, and watch her flounder (no pun intended) as she deals with the coldness and the danger until she is able to infuse that world and the people she meets with her humor and warmth, until soon, the ugly duckling, fish out of water has created a fantasy world for the people she meets. Maybe. That's how she'd like to see it. "Enchanted" and "Bridget Jones" mixed with "Dangerous Beauty". I see the streaming show with the main character breaking the fourth wall as she lives in her head and we live there with her.
COMEDY, MATURE AUDIENCE, DRAMA
Girl struggles to pay the bills, becomes a prostitute. Gets fired and then rehired. Comes to find the work fulfilling.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: GOOD
Accuracy of Book Profile
It's advisable to change the main character's name. "Sephe Haven" can be perceived as a little on the nose as a pen name; and as a main character's name, it's distracting, and it shouldn’t be - she’s a great protagonist.
Draw of Story
A story about the politics and underworld of prostitution in the 80s sounded fun and I was not disappointed.
The structure was a little messy and the narrative could be put together in a way that lends itself to a clearer timeline. Additionally, the efforts to protect the anonymity of real-life killers created overkill--give the male friend from Juilliard and the protagonist basic names, even as simple as Harry and Sally, and the story will become much more concrete.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
A Mad Men-esque period drama about prostitutes in the 80s with a wholesome underlying message about self-acceptance and body positivity--what's not to love?
Absolutely. This will gather fans of the 80s and sex positive feminists who appreciate a woman's story told honestly - and without fear of blemish.
It depends on how high of a budget it's made with, but not really.
Similar Films/TV Series
MAD MEN. TANGERINE
What’s New About the Story
This story is original already with the premise of a prostitute's story from her own perspective, and the overall sense of fulfillment that she gains from her work, even going so far as to call it the least debasing job she's ever had. It could be more unique if more was done to explore the other women working with her as well as to go more into what her work does to her personal life.
She's a prostitute who looks for compassion and human connection in her clients and deals with her own insecurities. She's deeply flawed and relatable.
Uniqueness of Story
This is a rare gem, but it needs to be edited and given more concrete, grounding details.
TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming
I really enjoyed reading this and would love to see it as a movie. It's a story about sex and prostitution with a wholesome hue that makes it feel fresh.
When a struggling young actress faces possible homelessness, she decides to try out a new career path in escorting. It's a scary world and comes with its dangers, as well as a strict set of rules for the girls to follow lest they risk getting blacklisted from the industry. However, she soon starts to find the work rewarding and a way to achieve genuine human connection.
What We Liked
- This is a sweet, wholesome story hidden inside a lurid sexy 80s movie. It's a story of a sex worker that humanizes her but isn't afraid to shy away from the uglier realities of the industry.
- As a film, this would be a fun 80s period piece that benefits from a 2020s lens as we see this young woman struggle within a world that demands women be sexy but not too sexy and then demeans them for expecting something in return.
- As a television show, this would be the female workplace drama, luring viewers in with the promise of sex and prostitution and 80s fashion, but keeping them glued to their seats with the slow burn of the workplace drama and rewarding them with moments of human compassion and kindness.
- Key points: 80s period piece; Sexy; Based on a true story; Funny; Strong female protagonist.
Sephe is a young actress in the 1980s who, after a grueling series of auditions and waiting, gets into Juilliard's graduate program. While in the program, she lives in constant fear of getting ""cut"" for the first two years, and is only able to breathe easily when she's in her third year. However, that rest doesn't last too long as fourth years are given six minutes in which they perform in front of representatives from every agency and company. Sephe and a few others in her class are profiled by a young Rolling Stone journalist, Aaron Sorkin, the only person who seems to be in her corner. When she learns that she didn't get an offer from any of the talent agencies and her only option is with the traveling acting troupe that offers jobs to everyone in the class, she is heartbroken and confused. Aaron reaches out to them for her to find out what happened, and relays back to her a litany of responses that amount to the same: she's not pretty enough.
After a year with the acting troupe, Sephe is overwhelmed by student debt and past due bills and loses her waitressing job. Facing possible homelessness, she spots an ad looking for ""escorts."" She's nervous but soon finds herself in the office of a woman named Susan. Susan is strict and immediately doesn't like Sephe, but sends her out on a call with a few girls including Cait, who's worked at this for a while and helps to mentor Sephe. Sephe works for a while with Susan and things go well until Sephe is sent out on a job where she's unable to immediately call Susan and report back to her as they are required to do. Susan fires Sephe, devastating her. Sephe tries out prostituting with a few different companies but soon learns that Susan's was the best--many of these ""brothels"" are run by men instead of women, and one of them has a ""Zoo"" where the women are kept below the main room and has all the women sleep with their clients in the same rooms. She also tries out a phone sex job but finds that it's nowhere near as lucrative as traditional prostitution. She gets told that the biggest feature that makes her unattractive is her nose, and so she uses her health insurance to get a nose job.
Sephe gets rehired by Susan on a trial basis after one of the other girls requests her to accompany her on a job. Sephe meets up with an unnamed male friend from Juilliard who she plans to start a theatre company with. He's unhappy with her for getting a nose job, but she still opens up to him about her life and her current work situation, but focuses on the bright side--she's making enough as a prostitute to fund their theatre company. However, at a meeting with all their theatre friends, he outs her as a prostitute and says that he feels he can no longer work with her because of it, and invites anyone who wants to leave with him to follow him out. Some leave, but some stay, and they form a small theatre troupe. Sephe goes on a call with a man named Ray who attacks her with insults at first. Sephe is uncomfortable, but despite his cruelty and disgusting looks and smell, she's compassionate and kind to him, and he ends up crying to her and paying for her to spend time just talking to her. Sephe starts to learn how to use her empathy and brains to her advantage in this field--on a joint double escorting date with two rich men and a coworker, Vivian, the most beautiful woman Sephe has ever seen, Sephe is shocked when she gets chosen over Vivian because of her substance. At an event on a yacht, Sephe gets chosen to stay with a wealthy man for several days and has to put together a lego set for his son. Sephe continues to work as a prostitute and even spends Christmas Eve and Day with a lonely client, trying to find a human connection.