Cover Image: Naked

Naked

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Member Reviews

"Naked" by Fancy Feast is a bold and captivating exploration of vulnerability, beauty, and self-expression. Through a mesmerizing blend of poetry, prose, and photography, Fancy Feast invites readers on a journey of intimate discovery, celebrating the raw, unfiltered essence of the human experience.

At its heart, "Naked" is a celebration of authenticity and self-acceptance. Fancy Feast fearlessly bares her soul, inviting readers to join her in embracing the complexities of life and love. With breathtaking honesty and vulnerability, she shares her deepest desires, fears, and insecurities, creating a profound sense of connection and understanding.

One of the book's greatest strengths is its striking visual imagery. Fancy Feast's evocative photography captures the essence of her subjects with a raw, unfiltered beauty that is both mesmerizing and thought-provoking. Each image is a testament to the power of vulnerability and the transformative potential of self-expression.

Moreover, "Naked" is distinguished by its lyrical prose and poetic sensibility. Fancy Feast's writing is imbued with a sense of passion and longing, weaving together words and images to create a tapestry of emotion that resonates deeply with readers. Her exploration of love, loss, and desire is both poignant and profound, inviting readers to reflect on their own experiences of intimacy and connection.

In addition to its artistic merit, "Naked" also offers a message of empowerment and self-discovery. Fancy Feast encourages readers to embrace their true selves, flaws and all, and to celebrate the beauty of imperfection. Through her words and images, she inspires readers to cultivate a sense of self-love and acceptance that extends beyond physical appearance to encompass the entirety of their being.

In conclusion, "Naked" by Fancy Feast is a stunning work of art that celebrates the beauty of vulnerability and the power of self-expression. With its striking imagery, lyrical prose, and message of empowerment, it is a book that speaks to the heart and soul of its readers. Whether you're drawn to its visual beauty, its poetic sensibility, or its message of self-acceptance, "Naked" is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for an advanced copy to review for my honest opinion.

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Naked opens with a subversion of the gaze. It is we, the audience, who is being closely observed, and this opening intrigues me. I was also not expecting this..."Burlesque as an art form burrows under your skin like a parasite, feeding off your blood and enthusiasm." Excuse me!? Smart + sexy + subversive writing.

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Burlesque performer Fancy Feast bares it all (literally and metaphorically) in Naked On Sex, Work and Other Burlesques, a collection of essays about her life.
Fancy Feast takes you backstage into the life of a burlesque performer. A fat Jewess, Fancy hits back at our cultures’ view on sexuality and beauty in both her work and her writing. But she is so much more: she is also a sex educator and a social worker. She chronicles how these lives overlap as they can never be truly separate. By the time you close this book, you will see her in a new, respectful way.
The writing is brutally honest and tells it like it is but there are other areas where it gets flowery. These instances seem wildly out of place, but essays can change tone from one to another. The text is packed; Fancy has a lot to say. But her use of language (the non-flowery times) makes it easy for anyone to read and understand the feelings, challenges, wins, and abuses people in the burlesque world experience. This opened my eyes to what the world is really like. I had some ideas but not nearly enough. All types of people need to read this book; you might change your opinion on some things and empathize with other human beings.
One of my favorite essays is “Dildo Lady.” This essay chronicles her time working at an adult toy store. This particular store used staff as sex educators and Fancy would bloom in that. There are reflections on how crude people can be, how sex education is falling in this country, and how women are villainized for sexual enjoyment. Though she enjoys the job of the job, some people would torment the staff. Reading this will give you new respect when entering your next adult store. My other favorite is “Walkaround Gig” where you see the true sexuality of people come alive and how they fight it. (Spoiler: Fancy wins).
The only problem with Naked is that the people who need to read this won’t. And that’s a shame; Fancy Feast makes a case for each one of us as people.

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I liked this window into Fancy Feast's world... she's led quite a life...a sex educator, a burlesque performer, an author, a phone sex operator, a nude understudy at the Metropolitan Opera, a Social Worker. She offers a frank 'take/outlook/view' on ....a lot of subjects. She shines a light on a lot of 'sex work' that I really hadn't given much thought to..... I definitely learned something new..... Kind of a memoir too, telling a little about her growing up years & of her supportive parents. A very interesting look into someone else's world/life/career......
I was given an e-ARC of this book for review purposes from the publisher Algonquin Books via NetGalley. These are my own opinions.

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A fun enjoyable read not at all like I expected. It was done in a lighthearted and humorous manner.

I just reviewed Naked by Fancy Feast. #Naked #NetGalley

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Naked was a really interesting read. I appreciate the openness and honesty of the author. I liked the insight into different kinds of sex work. It was pretty funny too.

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The book was not what I was expecting! It was way better, way, way better! It was fun, funny, witty, real, and entertaining to some degree. Most of all, it was REAL and I loved it.

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****1/2

Marketed as the Kitchen Confidential of the burlesque world, Naked does not disappoint. Performer, and social worker Fancy Feast–who has worked as a retail sex shop employee, sex educator, phone sex operator, and burlesque dancer–is a sex-positive, consent-driven, fat advocate who dishes the dirt on her worst gigs ever while rallying for the rights of the downtrodden, marginalized, and impoverished, especially queer, trans, minorities and women who make up the majority of the sex industry, exposing themselves to undervalued salaries, physical danger, disrespect, and misunderstanding. Fancy covers topics ranging from the minutiae of pasties from state to state, questions frequently asked of burlesque dancers, like, does your partner get jealous?, to sharing a day in the life of a performer, including what’s in the kit bag, and providing tips for well-mannered burlesque audience members, such as “handing people strings-free cash is the best etiquette in the world, and is considered particularly polite in nightlife culture.”

The writing is witty and intelligent, sharply observant, vulnerable and empowering, funny and fierce and and abundant with pop culture references and insights. Fancy’s politics are about as far from Ayn Rand as one could get as she rails against pull yourself up by your bootstraps culture. She is candid about her struggle to love herself and her body, and her intergenerational trauma. Fancy imparts valuable tips on how to shut down inappropriate conversations that could serve retail workers and librarians alike, and imparts valuable affirmations for readers: “I’m good at sex because I know how to communicate, and I’m not afraid of talking to my partners about what I need and what my boundaries are.” She asserts that the absence of no is not a yes, and highlights the value of a Yes/No/Maybe list for people to sort sexual activities, roles, words, and/or scenarios into–preferably in pencil, as tastes and needs evolve.

Part memoir as well as exposé, Fancy recounts her film school experience and the rape culture she experienced there; falling for a phone sex client; what it was like to provide a booth and pajama party at a cancer survivor’s conference; and the wild scenario of walking around a party mostly naked where the glutinous chocolate cake she offered to guests was more offensive than her rope harness.

What I found most compelling was how the narrative is infused with Fancy’s Ashkenazi Jewish identity, which seems to influence her ability to move forward in an imperfect world as an imperfect person, trying to repair the brokenness world of the world in whatever ways she can: with a listening, accepting ear, evolving the human race with her informative and empowering educational gems, and though her social work and sex work, sometimes all in the same day. Don’t be afraid of the titillating cover: this a book that deserves a place on library shelves.

I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #Naked from #NetGalley.

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✨ Review ✨ Naked: On Sex, Work, and Other Burlesques by Fancy Feast

Memoirs and essay collections are far from a favorite genre of mine, but this was incredible. I loved every page of this book! Fancy Feast brings you into her world of burlesque, as well as working in a sex shop, doing sex education, virtual therapy and phone sex during the pandemic, and so much more. I think there probably is some element of voyeuristic exploration of these worlds that she shows us on these pages, but also so many of her messages resonate here in how our culture thinks of sex and work and sex work and artistry and communication, etc. etc.

An important caution that this does talk about her experiences during the COVID era in NYC and working as a virtual therapist as well as the loneliness experienced as the entertainment industry shut down.

Her writing was fierce and vulnerable, and each of these essays grabbed my attention. Highly recommend!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre: memoir / essay collection
Setting: NYC
Pub Date: 10 Oct 2023

Thanks to Algonquin Books and #netgalley for an advanced e-copy of this book!

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I am not normally a fan of essay collections or memoirs - so by all accounts, I should not have enjoyed this book as much as I did. But Fancy Feast had me hooked from at least the second essay (“Dildo Lady”).

While I have never performed burlesque, I have spent over a decade in the field of sex education; much of which has involved reviewing and discussing sex toys. So when she writes statements like, “Shake me awake in the middle of the night tonight with a butt plug in each hand and ask me to compare and contrast them for you, and I could do it, no problem.” Well…all I can say is that, I relate. (And she worded it much more humorously than I ever could.)

But Naked doesn’t stop at the funny anecdotes and glamorous moments that individuals like to imagine for burlesque performers. Naked dives deeper into all of the fucked up ways that our society views sex (and sex workers), along with the harmful laws & policies that occur as a result. Naked also peeks behind the velvet curtain at the issues of nonconsensual behaviors, sexual harassment and assault.

“Yes/No/Maybe,” an essay unsurprisingly focused on consent, was one of the most powerful but simultaneously hard to finish pieces of media that I’ve encountered in a while. Fancy Feast includes explicit in-your-face accounts of the gendered violence that she experienced as part of her time in film school. When she writes that a fellow (male) student had to excuse himself because he simply could no longer watch what was occurring, you as the reader understand perfectly. Just like so many other moments, Fancy’s writing makes you FEEL what she is describing. And in this case, it’s both heartbreaking and rage-inducing.

There were so many times I wanted to cry from the genuineness of these essays (changing lives with lube or making a real connection with a phone sex client) - but there were countless other times that I found myself laughing aloud too. And that’s what impressed me so much about Naked. Sure, as with any collection of writings, there were essays that I liked better or less than others. But Fancy Feast’s writing was ALWAYS on point. I can only hope that this is the first publication of many!

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I went into this book knowing nothing more than the title and what the cover looked like--and it was not at all what I was expecting. Fancy Feast's debut book is a thoughtful, funny, sometimes raunchy look at sex work, burlesque, communication/consent, what it means to be a fat woman in the industry, and so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her essays, although just an fyi that there is (unsurprisingly) a fair amount of NSFW content. I hope we'll hear more from Fancy Feast in the future! Highly recommended.

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This was really a great book. I was looking at what I thought would be something a little sleazier, but this turned out to be a great book about a thinker's perspective on sleaze.

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