Sunday, September 28, 2014

[Review] Shameless by Nina Lemay

Title: Shameless
Author: Nina Lemay
Published: August 2014
Pages: 228

Girls like me don’t get happy endings.

I know what I am. At worst a cliché, at best a cautionary tale. I put an international border between me and my past, only to wind up working in a low-end titty bar. Even my excuse is as lame as it gets: I’m paying for college, getting my art degree from Montreal’s most prestigious school. Although some days it becomes confusing: am I just a student who moonlights as a stripper, or a stripper who masquerades as a student?

But the inevitable happens and my two lives collide. And now there’s one other person who knows both the quiet, antisocial Hannah and the sensual, shameless Alicia. One person who keeps my secret.

He’s beautiful, he’s sophisticated. He comes from the other side of life, the one where I’m not wanted or accepted. But he calls me la petite Américaine, and his hot, hot hands on my skin promise me things I long ago gave up on.

The problem? He teaches my Classic Photography class.


Hannah was running away from home. She ran away from all those terrible things that happened to her, to someplace far away from Minnesota. But when she came to some town in Canada, she ended up being a stripper. With a stage name Alicia. Being Alicia or Hannah, she made sure no one ever crossed the line. She kept them all to herself. All people would get to know was her first name. Until one guy she met at work turned out to be someone in her real life too.

One thing led to another. And with that began her casual thing with this guy. She had a past, he had a past. Even though they agreed not to overstep each other, they began to feel curious about each other. And when he said he wanted them to have something real and told her to stop whatever she was doing, she couldn't say yes. Not with all the bills that needed to be paid, and not to mention her tuition fee. So they went separated ways.

But her problems didn't end with that. Someone started to stalk her. And when she knew who he is, it was already too late.


I don't want to judge people because of their job. And I don't want to start that right now. So let's just say she did that because she had to. And this thing about Emmanuel, I don't really like him. He is too kind. That's just it, kind, because he's nothing but kind.

And about Hannah, she is not that bad, just a bit naive for a stripper. And somehow, despite all the good things people say about them, I didn't find them the same way. Sure, this book is great, all the moral lessons are there. But the characters didn't acknowledge those lessons. I thought she would quit, but well, that's her life. And I thought he would, you know, find another way to cure his heart. But then again, even with all those feels I knew about Hannah, I couldn't bring myself to like her, or understand her. I just can't.

I enjoyed this book enough to give this a four, until I read the epilogue. I'm just sorry.

"I'm ready to embody the cliché of the stripper-paying-for-her-education."

“It’s too nice. It’s too unique, it’s noticeable.”

“Are you following me? God, you’re such a creep"

“I’m not threatening you, Hannah. I’m just warning you that eventually we all have to face the consequences of our actions.”

“Why are you doing all this?” I ask hoarsely through the fog. She half-smiles and gives a shrug. “Because no one else is going to"

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