Chicken by David Henry Sterry
Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent

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Synopsis

I walk all the way up Hollywood Boulevard to Grauman's Chinese Theatre: past turistas snapping shots; wannabe starlets sparkling by in miniskirts with head shots in their hands and moondust in their eyes; rowdy cowboys drinking with drunken Indians; black businessmen bustling by briskly in crisp suits; ladies who do not lunch with nylons rolled up below the knee pushing shopping carts full of everything they own; Mustangs rubbing up against muscular Mercedes and Hell's Angels hogs.

It's a sick twisted Wonderland, and I'm Alice.

Here is a story like no other: The unforgettable chronicle of a season spent walking the razor-sharp line between painful innocence and the allure of the abyss. David Sterry was a wide-eyed son of 1970s suburbia, but within his first week looking for off-campus housing on Sunset Boulevard he was lured into a much darker world -- servicing the lonely women of Hollywood by night.

Chicken -- the word is slang for a young male prostitute -- revisits this year of living dangerously, in a narrative of dazzling inventiveness and searing candor. Shifting back and forth from tales of Sterry's youth -- spent in the awkward bosom of a disintegrating dysfunctional family -- to his fascinating account of the Neverland of post-sixties sexual excess, Chicken teems with Felliniesque characters and set pieces worthy of Dionysus. And when the life finally overwhelms Sterry, his retreat from the profession will leave an indelible mark on readers' minds and hearts.

 

About David Henry Sterry

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David Henry Sterry is the coeditor of "Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys" (front page review, "The New York Times Book Review") and author of "Master of Ceremonies", "Chicken", "Satchel Sez", and the forthcoming "The Glorious World Cup". He is also an actor, media coach, book doctor, and activist for at-risk youth. The authors are married and live in Montclair, New Jersey, with their daughter.
 
Published February 1, 2002 by HarperEntertainment. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Chicken

Kirkus Reviews

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With a puzzling mixture of pride and shame, and a hole in his soul that grows bigger with every trick, Sterry wanders through a world populated by clients who range from run-of-the-mill lonely ladies to a hippy who introduces him to tantric sex and from the lesbian couple who pays him to shine si...

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Publishers Weekly

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A cross between Midnight Cowboy and Boogie Nights, this tell-all memoir of a Hollywood Boulevard-heterosexual-teen-boy-male-hu

Nov 26 2001 | Read Full Review of Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Y...

The Guardian

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Chicken: Love for Sale on the Streets of Hollywood by David Henry Sterry Canongate £9.99, pp248 A certain incredulity attends even the notion of a heterosexual male prostitute.

Apr 20 2003 | Read Full Review of Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Y...

Publishers Weekly

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Emerging from a slightly dysfunctional upper-middle-class family of British émigrés (where father was domineering and distant, and mother's female friend turned out to be her lover), teenaged Sterry fled to a Catholic college in Los Angeles and found himself working for an escort agency as well a...

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