Review: Candy Barr

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s Wednesday and that means a book review!

Candy Barr: The Small-Town Texas Runaway Who Became a Darling of the Mob and the Queen of Las Vegas Burlesque by Ted Schwarz (2008).

Candy Barr’s story is not a pretty one. Born Juanita Slusher in rural Texas, she suffered abuse from a young age. As a teenager, she ran away to Dallas, hoping only for a job and the chance to dance. Instead she found herself forced into prostitution and porn. Bright, beautiful, and a talented dancer, she managed not to be crushed by her horrible situation and escaped to become a headlining burlesque dancer. There were a few shining years as a star in Las Vegas and Los Angeles before forces beyond her control again tried to bring her low. She seemed destined never to have a quiet life.

Because Candy/Juanita was alive while the book was being written (she died in 2005), it is full of quotes and memories direct from the source. The author does tend to play the martyr card a little too much. He often portrays the dancer as a naive innocent, caught up in a vast conspiracy to destroy her. The chronology is occasionally hard to follow as the author sometimes jumps ahead or back to provide a better flow to the story.

Her story is one of survival against terrible odds rather than one of glamour and glitter. The descriptions of her dancing will make you wish you were one of the lucky ones in the audience.

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Published in: on 16 November 2011 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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