Sunday was absolutely gorgeous and unfilled with consuming projects and errands. On a sunny and windy day, I had the pleasure of devouring Sluts and Whores by C E Hoffman.
The title isn’t misleading at all – this book is about Sluts and Whores and it’s great. I do have multiple disclaimers; 1) Not for children and depending on the type of parent, not for teens either but I’ll leave that up to you and 2) Trigger Warning!!! We will be reading and discussing suicide, abuse, death, murder, and sex.
Now, let’s begin…
As you dive into their short stories of the life of sex workers, Poppy, and of the sexually free, you’re engulfed in a world that feels as if it’s all separated through multiple realities only to tie-in together. To me this was a call out to the world and it’s ignorance and treatment of those providing a service, it’s treatment of those with trauma, and it’s hope to keep many voiceless.
A glimpse into the first short story describes a seemingly average day while poetically describing a “Nice Day to Get Laid”. This short story was definitely short but in the sense that an average day can also be a nice day for sex. An activity that is completely normal among almost every species on Earth. Throughout the author’s writing, you read their continued support not only for whores but also the support for those that Society calls sluts.
Next, you meet Eden. Eden is a sex worker who feels as if she’s in and run down convenience store a before her double shift begins at 3 am and ends 7 pm. And if you’ve been in the industry long enough, you grow used the shifts and learn to adapt. You find out she didn’t receive any tips the night before, which is really awful – always tip for service, and you know she’s hoping for a better night of tips. As the evening progresses, she isn’t getting many clients but I admired her attitude towards her situation. I enjoyed reading the unglamorous life of Eden because realistically, sex work is that… Work! It puts the reader directly into a long ass work day with no perks or benefits.
Reading through CE Hoffman’s first few stories shared a perspective I’ve personally never experienced. You’re placed eyes first in each short story – given the full emotional, mental, and physical experience of that particular character. You’re placed in confusing, gory, and traumatic situations, you experience character growth with drugs and sex. One moment you’re listening to a doll encourage you to play dead and the next you’re dealing with a teenage body wanting nothing more than to LIVE!
CE’s stories are crafted with the reader reincarnating into each character only to be set in motion by the written art on each page. They explicitly write about sex and fearlessly write about death and the aches and pains of when you miss someone, or when you think you’ve experienced it all and you want to die, or when you’d give it all up including your life for that one person, or personal justice. These characters conquer your heart because CE doesn’t put a Band-Aid at the end of the story. You struggle, love, laugh, and cry with them. You learn that there isn’t an end just more experiences, that it’s okay to not know how to deal with trauma… You relearn what being a human is and means not just to you but to others.
SLUTS and WHORES is a book that portrays the struggles and experiences of sex work as well as the enjoyment or distaste with sex itself or the trauma that can come with it. This book is tastefully gory, tragic, and great for horror fans. I highly recommend this read because it’s more than a collection of short stories… They are truly raw emotional experiences of things you might not ever want to experience in life, through an array of sexual stories mixed with dark stories.
About CE Hoffman:
C E Hoffman was born, gave birth, and tried to die in Edmonton, AB (not necessarily in that order.)
A sex work advocate, recorded musician, and wannabe Jungian, C E wrote their first full-length novel at 11 years old, and has been writing ever since. They’ve been published widely in print and online since 2010, have edited a poetry e-zine, Visceral Uterus, since 2012, and continue to live their best life despite struggles with mental health.
An EP w/ TC Folkpunk for their new music act, Kitty Galore, is also underway.
Sluts and Whores is their literary debut.