The Melancholy Strumpet Master – Editorial Review


Title: The Melancholy Strumpet Master

Author: Zeb Beck

Genre: Literary / Humor


The Melancholy Strumpet Master is about Gil, a student trying—and failing—to get a PhD, pay off his debts, get over his break-up, manage a new job he hates, and get his life together. As he buckles down to finally finish his dissertation, Gil encounters people, places, and situations that make him question why he’s trying at all. Gil learns that life is messy, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun along the way.

Gil has been pursuing his graduate studies for eight years, and his passion for his anthropological research on sex work has dwindled, but he pushes on with the hopes that a spark of inspiration will be the missing piece that will link his research together. Though the story is slow to start, readers will be hooked by Gil’s unordinary circumstances. Tightening up the character introductions and shortening the exposition could have helped us get to the meat of the story faster and highlight the many action-packed, funny, plot-driven scenes.

In order to conduct research for his thesis, Gil travels across the border from California to Tijuana to interview sex workers. Though no sexually explicit scenes are featured in the book, the subject matter is best suited for a mature audience.

Beck plays with language to create dialogue and conversations that are engaging and entertaining. One of the funniest characters in the book is a sex worker, who is also a nursing student. Sharp, quick, and witty, she has the most distinct voice and the funniest lines and comebacks, making her one of the most memorable characters in the book. Her refusal to deal with Gil’s bad attitude is both hilarious and justifying, when readers may feel frustrated with Gil’s decisions.

The book is filled with funny dialogue, physical comedy, and comedic moments. From public bathroom fights to steamy escapades, the funniest scenes are the ones with physical comedy because they are so random and over the top.

Though the book is entertaining and fun, there are a handful of emotional moments of vulnerability that also shine. One outstanding moment is when Gil is sitting by a river by himself with all of the notes he has taken from his interviews and research. These moments balance out the light-hearted ones and add more depth to the story.

Overall, we wish the plot had more tension. At times, Gil’s escapades feel meandering and readers may struggle to understand the plot’s trajectory and Gil’s character development. Incorporating higher stakes or a tight deadline could have helped give readers a sense of urgency to find out what will happen next and create a clearer goal that threads the plotlines together.

If you’re in need of a good laugh, The Melancholy Strumpet Master has what you’re looking for. In The Melancholy Strumpet Master, readers can expect a wild ride full of all kinds of funny business. Pure chaos and fun, The Melancholy Strumpet Master is fresh, funny, and an enthralling escapist story.



This Editorial Review was written by the Book Review Directory staff. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.

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