Tilly Lawless is a Sydney sex worker with a big online platform, which she uses to shine a light on the everyday stigma faced by people in the industry. Nothing But My Body is her debut book, an intense work of auto-fiction that covers eight days in the life of a sex worker as she navigates relationships, friendships, queerness, and the challenges of contemporary youth.
I loved Kate Holden’s In My Skin, and I’ll admit I came to Nothing But My Body hoping for more of the same. My friends at Allen & Unwin sent me a copy for review.
Nothing But My Body steers hard into the skid of stream-of-consciousness; reading it is like listening to a friend who has been waiting for you in a bar and disgorges as soon as you’ve arrived. It might be a bit confronting for some people who aren’t familiar with sex work (and that’s possibly the “point”), but that didn’t bother me.
The thing is, I found it a bit too performative and self-involved to really resonate. I think Lawless could write really well and offer a lot of insight into sex work… some day.
For now, the experience is too raw and her perspective too green, I think. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the memoir she writes in ten years’ time.