The two must important things when writing a true story are that the story is interesting, and that the writer tells it in an interesting way. This is undoubtedly an interesting story, but unfortunately, it is not told in an interesting way, as least for me. Eve’s life includes abuse, strip tease and drugs, all juicy stuff, and if you are happy to hear the memoirs of a strip tease artist as if you’re listening to the main character tell their story in a formal interview, then the book will be perfectly fine for you.
The characters come across clearly and I felt I had a real sense of what made Eve tick. The friendly, respectful atmosphere in the interview gave the book a kind of cosy feel that I think would help people who may have difficulty with the material to see it in the same matter-of-fact way as Eve does as she tells her tale. Eve says that she doesn’t tell people that she is a stripper, not because she is ashamed of it, but because people have preconceptions about strippers. Perhaps this book will show some people that their preconceptions are false. If you’re expecting something raunchy, however, this is not it. It’s simply a woman telling her life’s story – an interesting story, yes, but the emotional content is downplayed by the style of delivery.
The subject matter offers plenty of opportunity for dramatic scenes that could be written so the reader feels as if they are right there with the character, but everything here is told rather than shown, and that keeps the reader at a distance and makes it easy to put the book down. A certain amount of telling is natural and inevitable in a memoir, but to make the most of a story the key scenes need to be shown. Some of the scenes are quite evocative despite their telling, which indicates some skill on the author’s part, but overall the book is held back by its interview format, and particularly because the interview has a kind of stiffness about it. For instance, the characters use each others names too much eg, ‘Where was I, Stella?’ she began. And ‘Well, Eve, I was telling you …’ People don’t actually talk like that, or at least not as often as it was used here.
That aside and within the limitations of the format, though, it was quite well done – nicely copy-edited and without the kind of waffling that it’s easy to find in memoirs. I cared enough about Eve to want to follow her story to the end.