SDR Book of the Week: Call Girl Confidential, by Rebecca Kade

Call Girl Confidential: An Escort’s Secret Life as an Undercover Agent, by Rebecca Kade. Gallery, 230 pp. $26

It seems a little strange to go from Harry Potter to high-class escort, but I’m willing to go there.

I was originally interested in reading Call Girl Confidential because I think the concept alone sounds like a USA original television series: A smart, sexy escort who goes undercover to take down a very successful–and elusive–madam. And the best part about this entire thriller is it’s all true.

According to Rebecca Kade, the author of the memoir she became an escort to pay for the legal bills she was racking up in order to gain custody of her daughter, Isabella. Isabella’s father, a rock star named Mike, kidnapped the girl under the ruse that he was going to take her out with her grandfather and then to a Broadway show. Not long after, Kade was served papers notifying her that Mike had filed for full custody and was prepared to show the judge how she was an unfit mother.

Later, one of Mike’s exes confided to me that what he really wanted was to stop having to pay me child support. It would be easier on his wallet if his new wife looked after Isabella, supplemented by a cheap nanny who ultimately ended up watching Isabella most of the time, as he was always out nights or away on tour.

She found her first madam, Kristin Davis–or “The Manhattan Madam” as she was called by the media after her arrest–on Craigslist. Later, after understanding the escort business a little further and realizing the danger she was in by staying with Kristin, Kade moved on to Anna Gristina, the “Soccer Mom Madam.” Gristina was so over-the-top cautions with her operation it borderlined paranoid. It also, however, kept her off the government’s radar for nearly 15 years.

It was Kade that helped bring Gristina down, through various recorded conversations and manipulated situations. She was tied to Davis, and she was told she could either cooperate or find herself convicted. As with every decision in her life, she thought of her daughter first.

Call Girl Confidential is certainly an intriguing book, and a story that would be difficult to find elsewhere. It’s not graphic–Kade doesn’t go into detail about her sessions with her clients–though it does give the picture of her life as an escort.

As good as it was to read, however, I felt Kade played the victim card too much. She came from a super-strict Southern Baptist family; she is taken advantage of by the first man she meets and falls in love with; said man kidnaps her daughter; she turns to the escort business; etc. I won’t go much further without risking ruining the ending, but the woman she portrays herself as and the woman who writes the book seem different. In the book, Kade is strong and sexy. She’s intelligent–a quality that appeals to her clients and allows her to move up in the industry. She becomes respected by not only her madam, but by her clients as well. And yet the “author Kade” explains her decision to enter into the escort business and details her experience there and as a confidential informant with an expounded, “I had no other choice.” In every part of her life outside of the characters she creates for her clients, she is a victim, backed into a corner with only one option out.

Despite this disconnect between author and subject, Call Girl Confidential is entertaining and enlightening. It’s very interesting to read another angle to an often-stereotyped industry, and inspiring to read the story of a woman who will go to any length for her child and still come out on the other side.

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About katepadilla

I write for the Spencer Daily Reporter in Spencer, Iowa. I keep blogs lifebythebooks, Save Me, San Francisco, and Beauty and Beast Buy a House. I'm also hard at work writing a short story collection inspired by the music of Train.

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