Publisher: Self Published on August 16, 2013
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So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you're faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you'd imagine. That doesn't make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There's nothing I'd like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.
Then, one day, I meet a man. He's in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I'm used to though. It's something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He's People Magazine's Sexiest Man alive. He's the hottest actor in Hollywood. He's the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.
He's the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what's he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?
I'm a virgin, and he's an American icon of male sexuality. I'm a stripper, and he's a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he's the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.
And then things get complicated.
“Dawson sits on the bed near my knee and smiles. He has a plate in his other hand, a toasted plain bagel with a generous slathering of cream cheese. I sit up, and my stomach rumbles as I smell the bagel. He’s brought me breakfast. In bed. And he’s done it shirtless. Women of America, be jealous.”
Favorite Character: Grey.
“‘No daughter of mine will engage in any such lewd and sinful behavior as dancing,‘ Daddy says to me, his blue eyes blazing.”
My Musings: I, personally, have not been able to read any of Jasinda’s previous books, although I have heard fantastic things about them. So when I saw the sign-ups for this book (with it’s beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis), I was sold. I couldn’t wait to delve into the world of Grey, who has to strip her way through college. Add in a hunky actor, and I was convinced that this book would be a golden read.
And it was. Wilder tackled something that i never would have thought of–the church girl having to strip her way through college. I didn’t know, personally, that this even happened in real life. And it’s sad that it does. I really built up some sympathy for Grey as the novel wore on. She was such a strong character for being able to put herself through that. I wouldn’t have lasted a day.
“‘I love you. Goodbye, Mama. Go be with Jesus.’ Those words are the worst lie. I don’t believe them. I don’t believe in God. Not anymore.”
That being said, Grey was a great character to read. Although she had plenty of weak moments, she was an overall mentally and emotionally strong character. As I said, she was willing to go to great lengths to enable herself to reach her goals for her career. She wouldn’t let anyone or anything stop her, and that, in my eyes, made her a great character. On top of that, she was able to retain her innocence that drew me to her throughout the novel. Grey was a pastor’s daughter, so she grew up a certain way under certain beliefs. It was great to see her adapt those beliefs to herself and for her to find peace with her upbringing. She was just overall an amazing, well developed character that I wish I was able to see more of.
“He’s got the hood open, and he’s pointing at various parts of the engine, rattling off facts and figures and names, and I can’t possibly keep up or understand anything he’s talking about, but God, is it cute watching him get excited.”
Dawson Kellor. Sigh. Dawson was the leading man in this tale. He’s an actor with an attitude, a smirk, and a cocky demeanor. But he was great. Dawson had more to him that meets the eye, and I enjoyed peeling his layers away like an onion. He had things and a past that he had to come to terms with. With the help of Grey, he was able to overcome his personal demons, while also helping her overcome hers.
“‘Believe in me. Believe in the fact that I love you.’ He grins at me. ‘And believe in the fact that, once we get things a little more settled, I’m going to make you come so many times you won’t be able to walk for days afterward.’ ‘I can already barely walk,’ I admit. ‘I’m sore.’ He just grins. ‘That was just a warm-up, babe. I haven’t begun to shatter your world. You can believe in that.‘”
They were a great match. Although at a glance, you wouldn’t pair them together, from the moment they met you could feel the tension and the chemistry. I was literally holding my breath until all of that tension was addressed. The only thing that slightly irked me was that they really didn’t know each other that well. Eventually, they do get to know each other, but at first it felt like their relationship was purely lust, although they were claiming it wasn’t. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that there was a bit of insta-love. But eventually it balanced out.
“Then as the club music rises to a crescendo, I grasp the lapels of the shirt and rip it open, scattering buttons with a dramatic flourish. My breasts bounce free, and I stand topless in from of a hundred a fifty men. A single tear drips free to mingle with the sweat on my upper lip. I’m officially a stripper.”
I’m going to talk a bit about some things that this novel addresses. The main thing is stripping. Like i mentioned, I didn’t know that it was common for girls to strip their way though college for a living. It really saddened me to find out about this, but it also helped me to be aware of it. I know people have to do what they have to do, and I respect that. It’s not them that I would ever look down upon–it’s those who objectify them. This novel really gave me more of a sense of what it is to be a stripper. These girls and women are not necessarily the sluts and whores that you would naturally associate with the term stripper. Instead, they may b a desperate single mom or college student trying to get by. This novel definitely taught me not to assume things about the reasons people do things. Because sometimes it may be completely different than what you thought.
One other thing that I wan’t to point out about this novel is the pure fluidity with which it was written. I’ve read some pretty amazing books, but this one is definitely one of the best in terms of flow. The writing style and syntax make this book so relatable it’s unreal. The way in which Wilder writes from Grey’s point of view helped me to experience what she was experiencing. It was really easy to put myself in her shoes. Her personality shined through her narration–all of her insecurities, her hopes, her dreams, her feelings–they were clearly evidenced through the way that she narrated the novel.
Stripped was a novel that was better than I was expecting. I was expecting a great, romantic read. I got that and so much more. I got the understanding of desperate people at desperate times. I got the understanding of how it feels to be objectified for baring your body just to pay rent. I learned that your life is what you make it. I gathered so much more from this novel than I was expecting, and that alone made this a truly magnificent read.