“It sounds like an obvious statement when I say that girls don’t grow up
wanting to be strippers, but you’d be surprised. Most people—civilians that is—seem to think that even in the cradle we were
wrapping ourselves around a greasy pole and grinding our hips to Britney
Spears. When we get drunk the regrets come out. ‘I’m a good girl,
really I am,’ sighs one. She takes a drag of her cigarette and I think
to myself, I’m not a good girl. Not really. Not anymore. But I sure as
hell would like to be.”
With forty-three countries, twelve
boats, dozens of flights, a fistful of “life experience” behind her and a
lot of ambition fueling her dreams, twenty-five-year old Ruth Fowler
arrives in New York City. A Brit with a Cambridge degree and a
middle-class background, she doesn’t think it will be too hard to start a
new life. But getting a work visa in post-9/11 America proves to be
tricky, and to kick-start a writing career, Fowler starts documenting
her experiences. She funds her efforts with cash-in-hand jobs and a
stint writing for The Village Voice, but it doesn’t take long for
funds and hope to run out—sending her to the heart of Manhattan's
dark underbelly, the strip clubs and “champagne rooms” of Times Square.
As “Mimi,” she has a chance of survival. But when this persona threatens
to consume every vestige of Fowler’s identity, when her life spirals
out of control and her true self remains so deeply buried that it seems
impossible to resurrect, relying on “Mimi” seems like the biggest
mistake she has ever made. No Man’s Land is a shocking, raw account about losing identity—and finding it again.
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