I was able to actually get through a book recently called Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue.
To say it was interesting is an understatement.
Slammerkin is a historical novel based on the life of a real woman named Mary Saunders who basically led the life of a prostitute on the streets of London in 1748.
It tells of a young girls struggle to gain wealth and notoriety growing up the daughter of a pauper. The story line is basic but the events that lead to her death are definitely worthy of a novel.
I believe that the struggle for women to survive is a story that echoes many womens stories throughout the centuries...Coming up from poverty myself I have seen women who have led similar lifestyles- always trying to survive, get what they perceive as nice things and to do so without becoming someones, in a word, slave.
There are women right now out there selling themselves in some way. In this story there are two characters that the author compares, one who is a wet-nurse and the other lead character who is a prostitute. It seems as if the author wants to justify what the prostitute is doing by the comparison. I would also say that she wants you to think about what it means to sell yourself- that there is a higher price, irregardless.
All of the trouble Mary Saunders must have experienced didn't seem to be worth simple fabric, i.e. the slammerkins. However, the author does repeatedly stated that "clothes make the woman."
It is a shame that a woman had to go through so much just so she could receive a little respect.
To preview this book, visit: http://books.google.com/books?id=lBqtXFaePX4C&dq=slammerkins+by+emma+donaghue&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0
Lots of Love,