Book Review – Private Dancer

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I did not discover this book until after a couple of visits to Thailand. I truly wish I had found it earlier, Private Dancer should be in the seat pocket of each flight into Thailand. In a lot of ways it is a very grim tale and also slightly exaggerated to make it’s point. However, reading through it after being to Bangkok I could see much of my own early naivety in many of the characters.

The story revolves around Pete, a freelance writer, who has been hired to work in Thailand. Almost immediately upon arrival he is introduced to the Bangkok nightlife scene and meets a beautiful Thailand woman named Joy. Joy is of course a go go dancer and sex worker. Pete falls head over heels in love with Joy, utterly heedless of the warnings from his friends. So strong are his feelings for her he continues to ignore and dismiss the mounting evidence that her claims to “love him and only him” are lies.

It is gradually revealed through friends and a private investigator that Joy has not only been seeing other customers but is also married to a Thai man. Pete has been nothing but an extra source of income, a human ATM unwilling to believe he is being used by his sweet girlfriend.

The story is told through a series of viewpoints, from Pete and Joy through to a number of other acquaintances. Two of the most interesting and sobering views are delivered through the eyes of a private detective and another through that of a professor who studies prostitution. So many of the problems in the book are caused by cultural differences. There is a world of difference between a westerners view on prostitution and love to that of a Thailand woman. Many of them are poor with families to support and see nothing wrong with telling men what they want to hear to get more money.

This book should be a must read for any man thinking of going to Thailand and maybe meeting a Thailand woman. I in no way condone the message the books seems to send that all bar girls are schemers and liars. Just as in any group of people you have your good and your bad ones. Private Dancer should be viewed as a cautionary tale to ensure guys new to Thailand are going in with their eyes wide open and not falling for all the usual tricks of the trade.

The Author, Ben W, is an avid traveller to thailand and asia who has finally settled down with the thailand woman he always dreamed of. Visit his blog below.
Thailand Woman

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