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Book Review: Dork Whore

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HERE’S a book for those in need of a very light read. Dork Whore is a light-hearted chronicle of a (then) 20-year-old Jewish girl, newly discharged from the military and with the express mission of getting laid. And how did she do it? By travelling to Asia, namely Thailand, Vietnam and India. It didn’t matter too much who the deflowering, err, instrument would be; she was horny and hankering for a hump to end her half-virginal status (after getting sort of laid by a Moroccan soldier).

The tale begins when Iris Bahr, the pseud0-virgin in question teams up with Boaz, a fellow Jew, at a pickup joint for travel partners. The partnership is shortlived, however, when Boaz ditches her within the first day. Bahr forges ahead, latching on to a whore-loving Englishman and his friend and ends up going through harrowing experiences in Thailand before deciding she has had enough and heading on to Vietnam and onward. In the process, she meets and breaks from groups of travelers, almost has sex with a few blokes, and finds a kindred spirit in another fellow Jewish traveler, also named Iris.

The narrative is down-to-earth, witty and peppered with self-directed digs; it is also, in a deeper sense, more than just a journey through Asia or a desperate attempt to break away from the shackles of virginity: it is a journey of self-discovery. Hers is a path that every girl has taken some time in their lives — dealing with insecurities and some self-loathing here and there — and I saw myself in it on more occasions than one.

Don’t be fooled by the strapline at the top of the book, though. The bit about traveling through Asia is the side dish; her cherry-popping expedition and self-discovery really is the main course. Having said that, it is by no means lewd, crude or ex-rated. This was a very tastefully written account.

I had initially approached the book with high expectations that there would be more talk on her travels. Unfortunately, it was nothing like Pico Iyer’s Video Night in Kathmandu which a former sweetheart recommended, and which I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed. Like Bahr’s, Iyer’s narrative was captivating; unlike Bahr’s, Iyer’s was laden with pertinent information of the cities he had visited. If you can’t already tell, Video Night in Kathmandu is one of my favourite travel books of all time.

Would I recommend Dork Whore, though? Yes, only if you are planning to read something light and funny. You’re not going to get much info on backpacking through Asia here, despite the often-enough references to the Lonely Planet. But, I did find it refreshing and didn’t put it down till the end.

Oh, of course the raison d’être for the story: did she get laid? You’d have to read it to find out.

By the way, Dork Whore is by no means a piece of fiction; Bahr really does exist and is a writer, director and actor who has appeared on numerous TV sitcoms including Friends, The Drew Carey Show and Kings of Queens. Dork Whore is her first non-fiction work.