Laws, Rose and Dianna Harris. Gold Coast Madam. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2012.
I honestly couldn’t tell you if I liked reading this book or not. There were times when I thought it wildly entertaining while other times I found myself distracted by questioning Laws and her motives for wanting to publish her story.
The most sincere chapters were in the beginning. There is no denying Laws had a difficult childhood. She learned at a very early age that some men will do anything for sex and, for the most part, get away with it. When she was still a child her father was caught having sex with someone other than her mother. As a result he and his mistress were beaten but that didn’t stop them for continuing their illicit activities. When Rose’s mother wanted Rose to get married and have children Rose’s early strategy was to pick a guy to date for a month until one got her pregnant. That lucky sperm donor would become her husband. Way to pick a soul mate! Unfortunately, she latched herself to someone who wanted nothing more than to keep her pregnant. Rose was pregnant eight times in as many years. When she admitted to aborting one of the children her husband beat her senseless.
From here the story goes downhill. Oddly enough Rose was never able to succeed at a legitimate business to support herself and her five children. For some reason the only thing she excelled at was prostituting herself and the $400 an hour call girls she employed. She calls herself a “hanky-panky entrepreneur” and coyly suggests she had all of Chicago in the palm of her hand. Everyone from high ranking officials to members of the Chicago mob were at her beck and call. Every time she got into trouble it was always the fault or screw up of someone else. One claim I couldn’t wrap my brain around was that she didn’t involve her children in the “hanky-panky” business but that seems improbable. Kids are really smart and at one point they were living in the hourly rate motel used for hookups. How could they not know what was going on?
Like I said, I’m not sure what I think about this book. It’s conversational style makes it a very easy if not skeptical read.
December 2012 was a decidedly difficult month. I don’t mind admitting it was stressful and full of ups and downs. How else can I describe a period of time that contained mad love and the quiet urge to request freedom all at once? A month of feeling like the best thing on Earth and the last person anyone would want to be with? I buried myself in books to compensate for what I wasn’t sure I was feeling. And I won’t even mention the Sandy twins. But wait. I just did.
- The Wholeness of a Broken Heart by Katie Singer ~ in honor of all things Hanukkah. This was by far my favorite book of the month.
- Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner ~ in honor of Iowa becoming a state in December. This was a close second.
- The Tattered Cloak and Other Novels by Nina Berberlova ~ in honor of the coldest day in Russia being in December. I read a story every night.
- Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Carol Joyce Oates ~ in honor of Oates being born in December. I was able to read this in one sitting.
- The Women of the Raj by Margaret MacMillan ~ in honor of December being one of the best times to visit India
- Rosalind Franklin: Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox ~ in honor of Franking being born in December
- Billy by Albert French ~ in honor of Mississippi becoming a state in December
- Apples are From Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins ~ in honor of Kazakhstan gaining its independence in December.
In an attempt to finish some “series” I read:
- Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Vol 3 by Giorgio Vasari (only one more to go after this, yay!)
- Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
For audio here’s what I listened to:
- The Galton Case by Ross MacDonald ~ this was laugh-out-loud funny
- Bellwether by Connie Willis ~ in honor of December being Willis’s birth month
For the Early Review Program with LibraryThing here’s what I read:
- Drinking with Men: a Memoir by Rosie Schaap
And here’s what I started:
- Gold Coast Madam by Rose Laws
For fun: Natalie Merchant’s Leave Your Sleep.