Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America

Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America

by Lily Burana

In this poignant, bittersweet, sometimes funny account of a stripper's odyssey, the reader is allowed many roles.

We start innocently enough: reading a journal about finding oneself -- a journey across America to recapture and understand a young woman's history as she prepares for a new life.Along the way, we are alternately voyeurs and witnesses, learning the details and daily grinds of a worker in the sex trade -- an exotic dancer, on her last cross-country tour of the clubs that have been such an important part of her life.

Well written and powerful, Strip City becomes, about midway through, the journal of a soul.

Strip City is not a tell-all, although it tells much.

Most of all, it is a very moral tale, honestly told, deftly written, and exhibiting neither shame nor undue pride: an American tale, filled with pop culture images that remind us, over and over again, of the roles a prosperous, bountiful nation has allowed to (or forced on) women.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Autobiography
  • Rating: 3.53
  • Pages: 328
  • Publish Date: February 19th 2003 by Hyperion Books
  • Isbn10: 0786886757
  • Isbn13: 9780786886753

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Part of me feels like a traitor to my fellow sex workers for saying there were things about this book I really hated, but more of me feels like I'd be a traitor if I *didn't* say that. Because what I really hated was the feeling of being judged for being a "dirtier" kind of sex worker than Lily-white Burana. I just feel like I and "my people" are being looked down on with disgust, like they need to burn their clothes after coming into proximity with us and our stinky lower-class auras.

Sadly, she just began to touch on the circumstance that lead her to stripping in the first place when I lost the book, this story comprised the first interesting pages I read(I think they were interesting, but it could be because I was so bored by the first 100).

Or maybe it's just a matter of respect, or knowing that there's a complicated girl behind the glassy facade that's caught your eye, one whose wishes and desires may have nothing to do with yours. 174 Burana, a retired stripper who got back in the business one last time for a year (either as a gimmick to write a book or to ponder unresolved issues and questions weighing on her mind about her profession, or both) penned this often insightful and vivid account of exotic dance on the North American continent a decade ago and her place in it. But Burana is not nearly that annoying, she writes with elan, and is (or was) a stripper, which gives the thing inherent page-turning gravitas, or prurient interest, take your pick.

In college, I minored in women's studies, and I ended up taking lots of classes with some very earnest, intelligent women about various "women's issues." Inevitably in these classes, the sex industry would come up for discussion at some point or another -- stripping, pornography, prostitution, etc. I have absolutely no personal experience with the sex industry, so all this discussion was purely theoretical. That's why she decided to write this book in the first place -- to get some closure on a sticky subject. Ms. Burana is a gifted autobiographer, and she wrote the book so that her personal journey interwove itself with the nitty-gritty details of what it's like to live as a working stripper seamlessly, each half of a larger whole.

It was so fascinating to read about Lily's journey around the country, the insider bits about how different strip clubs are run, her motivations for becoming a stripper in the first place, and how the experience affected her.

This is supposedly a book about a woman who, after accepting her boyfriend's marriage proposal, decides she must spend a year stripping across America to help make sense of her stripper past - and herself.

Burana makes it clear that even women who are proud of what they do sometimes have negative feelings about it.

Burana, a former stripper, has decided to mount a huge trip stripping her way across the U.S. I really didnt know that much about the stripping industry before reading the book, so it was really interesting to get an inside look at the business.

Strip City was named Best Memoir in 2008 and Best Book of the Year in 2001 by Entertainment Weekly.