Book Review by Amos Lassen


Lovell, Paul Douglas. “Paulyanna: International Rent-boy”, Smashwords, 2014.

The Life of a Male Prostitute

Amos Lassen

If you have ever wondered about the world of male prostitution, here are the answers to some of your questions. Whatever his reasons for working the street, Paul does not think about them and refuses to dwell on the past especially when his future is so wide open. It just happens that in his case, Paul wound up on the street because of a lost train ticket. He finds himself stuck after a job interview and he thinks about his situation and his decision led him to the skin trade. We are very lucky that he shares his stories of the street with us.

Contrary to what some of you may think, working the street is not a glamorous life. In fact, according to Paul it is quite raw and there are risks and dangers alongside the fun and the thrills (and the cash). Paul knew what he wanted and he was determined to find happiness, security and money and he wants us to see him as a regular gay with no severe problems. He even tells us that he wants to remove the preconceptions that many have about rent boys or as we call them in America, hustlers. He lets us know that he is more than a pretty face and a “stereotyped cliché”.

The first thing that we notice about Paul is his optimistic outlook on life. He did not have it easy and although he does not want to tell us about the unpleasantries of his youth, we do know that his childhood was one of underprivilege. He comes to London to work and he loves the town while he has a chance to explore his own sexual preference. He is lucky work wise—he moves from washing dishes to working in a bar and to a job in the music industry. He is a strong guy, both physically and mentally and although he was raised Catholic, his acceptance of it is a bit unconventional and he prefers to believe that his life is one of karma.

He is quick to make friends, especially Richard. He is even able to travel a bit but as stated earlier life on the streets wears on a person and there are threats such as AIDS and loneliness. Through it all, Paul does not lose hope and he really does not want much. Like the rest of us, he lets us know that a home and a husband would be nice.

Lovell gives us a wonderful account of Paul’s life on the streets of London and Los Angeles with no sensationalism nor contempt for the skin trade. The author tells a good story and we find that as we read we are picking up on every word. Lovell gives wonderful descriptions and it as if we are having the same experiences as Paul. Of course all is not roses for Paul—he has some bad experiences and he gets depressed once in a while but he is basically an upbeat person.

Author Lovell writes beautifully with a sense of poetry and humor. The story is not perfection and I could write about a couple of flaws but what is the point? I enjoyed the read and recommend it highly. We, in America, might have a bit of trouble with the part that takes place in London but that’s fine. There is always something new we can learn. I personally learned of a new voice in gay literature and I hope to be hearing more of it.

Visit Paulyanna’s Page to read more from the author.
Please add:  Paulyanna International Rent-boy to your Goodreads  TO-READ List.

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