Amsterdam Exposed: An American’s Journey into the Red Light District

David Wienir. De Wallen, $12.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-0-9993559-0-9
In this uneven memoir, entertainment lawyer and author (Making It on Broadway) Wienir shares the events of his 1999 journey to Amsterdam, where he spent his last semester of law school. He aims to “take readers on a journey deeper into [Amsterdam’s red-light] district than they could ever go before.” But Wienir, writing from the point of view of the 26-year-old he was, has a more personal and idealistic agenda as he searches for a woman who works as a prostitute to guide him through the district. He meets a young woman named Emma who agrees to guide him, hoping “to restore [her] self-worth”and perhaps change her life. Wienir gives the reader a sense of the district’s “addictive” power (“There was a sense of immediacy, a feeling it might be the last night on Earth”), as well as its hard-nosed business rules (“Never ask for a discount.... Agree on when the clock starts ticking”). Wienir’s book, however, becomes less about the district and more about his obsession with Emma, with whom he felt “a connection from the second we met,” although he never became her customer. Emma eventually left her work as a prostitute, got engaged, and had a daughter, and she and Wienir fell out of touch. Wienir’s is an honest though naive look into the workings of Amsterdam’s red-light district, and an earnest though juvenile search for love. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 05/28/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
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