Lita isn’t college material. Unfortunately, she has figured this out after dropping out of her local community college. When her parents find out, they demand that she either return to school or move out on her own. So Lita finds an apartment and declares her independence, though she is struggling to make ends meet with her retail job. When Liberty, a dancer at Market Street Cinema comes into her store, the two women quickly connect. Liberty convinces Lita to sell lingerie to the women at the club, which leads to her becoming a dancer there as well. Lita knows that she doesn’t want to be a stripper and salesgirl forever, but she needs some time to figure out which way her life is going to go. Meanwhile she lives a double life, hiding her work from her parents and friends while learning to navigate the complicated world of sex work.
Market Street Cinema is a sympathetic, practical look at the world of stripping. Though there is a great deal of sexual material, the story itself is not erotic. Instead it is about the coming of age of a girl who wants to live life on her own terms. The story could have been a little longer, allowing more space to explore some of the less-developed plot points. Several interesting ideas are mentioned, but then quickly dropped. However, the book’s main strength lies in the relationship between maternal lifer Liberty and wide-eyed newcomer Lita. The two women are fully fleshed out with dreams and heartbreak beyond their place of employment and their relationship blooms naturally through long shifts and intimate conversations. The story also benefits from the amount of detail Machado weaves into the setting. The club feels both seedy and professional, with the narrative moving seamlessly between descriptions of lap dances and the division of tips. By treating stripping like any other job, the story avoids the clichés and melodrama it could have easily used.
This book is recommended for fans of New Adult literature who are more interested in coming of age and platonic relationships than romance. Though the book is about sex workers, it is not a sexy story and not recommended for fans of erotica.
The Rating4.5 Stars (out of 5): Highly recommended. This book is a great read. It can hold its own against any traditionally published novel in its genre, and surpasses many.
The Pros & ConsPros: Characterization, Emotional, Strong World-Building
Cons: Very Short