Author: Ben Foster & Clifford Thurlow
Genre: Biography & True account, Memoirs
Format: Kindle Edition 298 Pages
Release Date: 4th May 2018
Publisher: Thistle Publishing
My Rating: ****
This book is an ARC provided to me by NetGalley for no profit in exchange for an honest review.
The book is written in the form of a narrative given by Ben Foster, who is an ordinary man with a wife and three young kids going about the daily grind. He works two jobs, one as a masseur, and the other in a care home for people with learning difficulties. He attends one of his regular weekly appointments who happens to be a wealthy man and after finishing the massage, on his way out he meets the client’s mother who introduces him to her various assortment of wealthy and famous friends who refer to themselves as ‘the Committee’. He leaves his number with one of the women after explaining he is a masseur and she contacts him to arrange an appointment. Little did he know at the time that taking on this particular client would change the course of his life.
‘I felt pleased with myself. I felt ashamed of myself. But, to be honest, more pleased than ashamed’
I found myself feeling really disappointed in Ben. He is portrayed as a run of the mill man with the same sort of money worries as the majority of people out there, but he genuinely seems to love his wife, so I was disappointed when he gave in to ‘Lady Mags’ and slept with her so easily without even a hint of protest. Even though you get the sense early on where the book is going (the clue is in the title after all!), I still found myself hoping he wouldn’t succumb. I hoped he would do the decent thing and turn her down and walk away. Similar in some respects to Romeo and Juliet, you know what the outcome is, but when it comes to it, you are still hoping she doesn’t drink the poison. But I guess in this regard, you know when a book has got it right, when you find yourself having an emotive reaction to what they are doing whether it be positive or negative. I definitely found myself wanting to read on to see quite how far down the rabbit hole Ben was willing to go. Quite far as it happens.
‘The monkey liked it and the elephant felt ashamed’
Ben doesn’t describe his physical appearance in any great detail, but the fact that these various rich and famous women throughout the book seem like they can’t get enough of him at one point, conjures up in my mind the image of someone tall, dark, classically handsome and well built. He claims to have slept with around 2,000 women so it makes me think he must have something going for him in the looks department if this figure is an accurate one.
‘There is a difference between self-confidence and self-esteem. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. Self-confidence is how you project that feeling to others’
Although he doesn’t share much about his outside appearance, he does throughout the book give us quite an insight into his internal thought process. He comes across as caring and emotionally very aware of his social situation and of those around him. He clearly adores his children and wants the best for them and for them to be the best they can be. In many ways he is very relatable.
He seems very focused on his work and takes his job as a masseur very seriously. He truly believes that massage is a healing spiritual process and he comes across as genuinely proud of the fact that he can help people with his hands. How little do we know however, at the beginning of the book ,quite how far those hands go on to help!
I found there were some similarities from this book to the TV series ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’. Ben seems to have detached the emotions associated with sex and appears to be enjoying it for the physical act that it is, the doors that open for him, and the subsequent influx of money into his bank account from it.
One thing I found particularly interesting is that if you take away all the sexual descriptions and exploits, what you are left with is an engaging conversation about social class and peoples position in life. Particularly the differences between those with extreme wealth and those at the opposite end living in poverty situations.
It’s very easy to sit here as a reader and take the view that as an individual you would never make the same choices that Ben has made. But then if you’ve never struggled to put food on the table for your children, or struggled to pay the rent/mortgage, can you ever really know what choices you would make to change your position? Especially if the money seems like an ‘easy win’ and there seems like a limitless supply of it.
‘The higher you go, the further you fall’
The bitter truth to take from this book is that all good things come to an end. This was an emotional, perceptive, very sexually explicit read. If you are easily offended or squeamish of this type of writing then this is not the book for you. However, if you like reading material that makes you slightly uncomfortable, but not necessarily in a bad way… then read on. Is Ben’s story too far fetched to be believable? I’ll let you decide.
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