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Sephe Haven
A Someday Courtesan: A Memoir in Stories
Sephe Haven, author

Adult; Memoir; (Publish)

A loving Courtesan, once a Juilliard trained actress, looks back to her younger years to find why, being a Courtesan seemed to be her best fit. 


Haven’s intimate prequel-memoir to My Whorizontal Life: An Escort’s Tale offers a sort of origin story, telling a story of growing up female in America, where “all men are wolves” and a desire for sex and love is made tricky by the two sometimes seeming mutually exclusive. This volume covers the author’s life from body exploration with a friend at seven, to navigating youthful popularity, sexuality, and connection, up to her freshman college year at seventeen, as she takes steps to achieve her dream of being an actress. The author’s sex work is covered in the earlier book, though some of the stories she shares here are frank, including accounts of assault, rape, and abortion.

A Someday Courtesan traces an emotional arc from Haven’s often difficult early experiences with men, plus her urge toward people-pleasing, to the later satisifaction she finds in sex work. The connection might come through more clearly if the earlier chapters, told in a youthful voice, offered more introspection and reflection. Later chapters have more in-the-moment realness but lack much introspection, obligating readers to step into underage trauma without a strong sense of why they are doing so.

The story of Haven’s secret relationship with an older man, and her inability to relate to her peers after his death, has a fairytale mood that adult readers may find disturbing but emotionally impactful. Sections concerning the author’s relationship to acting follow the book’s most thoughtful growth path: her adoration of a successful peer, her willingness to suspend disbelief about the older “agent” taking nudes of her in his apartment, her success in using her physicality in a well-received comic role, and the final vignette of the book, in which she discovers how to embody a character through tapping into her own experience, carry readers along her path of self-discovery.

Takeaway: A sex worker reflects on her earliest years, experiences with love and sex, and discovery of who she is.

Great for fans of: Melissa Febos’s Girlhood, Sita Kaylin’s Anything but a Wasted Life.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B