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.
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 migr s (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.