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.
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.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B