I pat myself on the back for getting through Damaged Goods
. Not because there was anything wanting. Not because I disliked the characters or the plot. Nope, I give myself credit because the whole time that I read, I just kept thinking "Yeah, Austin, like you say, you'll always be a sex worker
...you are who you are, and yeah, I get pride and I get that Jocelyn sees past those things, but can you seriously succeed in being more serious than a boyfriend, if you continue your gigolo gig!"
So the pat on the back is for getting over the bad taste in my mouth when Austin gets to eat his clients' p***y and feels good that he is providing a good service, hence ensuring return customers, while still getting to eat his girlfriend's p***y and feel good making love with her, and providing her with what no one else ever gets
Yet, Lauren Gallagher addresses this keenly through Jocelyn's actions and streams of consciousness. I was glad that Jocelyn felt as sick as I
did, hearing her girlfriends recount their sex capades with her
boyfriend. I really got into the volatile conversation, felt the bitterness and controversy
, between Jocelyn and her long time friend, Kim, who Jocelyn had thought she could confide in. With this dialogue, Gallagher painted a thought-provoking and complex picture of societal double standards, hypocrisy and the unrelenting, blind judgment that people have, whether based in pretentiousness, mindless complacency, pride or vanity (heavy gulp).
Bottom line, Damaged Goods
seemed to be about testing limits and seeing how much people can either justify themselves (Austin) or survive being tolerant(Jocelyn). Turn this situation around where the woman continues to be a prostitute while she is in a serious relationship and the only male that would be her boyfriend is her pimp. Just saying.
(or if she had Knight, then no boyfriend at all, just a great employee benefits package
In the end, I needed more acknowledgment that in accepting this relationship, Jocelyn had to either lie or lose friends (yes, one probably wasn't a real friend anyway), Jocelyn's world had to be tailored to Austin's and stigmatized. Sure it is implied that this happens, but in order to appreciate this, I didn't need a nice-and-neatly-tied-bow-ending. I needed a "who are we kidding, this whoring has to stop, now!"---NOT ...a year later when sex worker boyfriend says "I am ready now, so I'll budget and get legit, and hey babe, anyway 'you deserve better than a prostitute for a husband'"
*Um, ya think?* Then what was you're point in the first place, Austin?
Would I rather he'd just quit from jump and then struggled with money? Hmmmm...
In the HEA aspect, I just wasn't rooting for this couple, but I cheered the conflict
and most of the dialogue
in the plot! Again, thought provoking.
1/2 star for the hot pre-couple sex scenes [Why did it seem that Austin lasted long as Fabian, but the minute he became Austin, he couldn't wait to get inside her, came quicker and lost a bit of his escort finesse? Was this to contrast "just doing his job" with making love?]
1/4 star for safe sex, and the office role play scene!