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the Complete Review
the complete review - autobiographical



The Scorpion's Sweet Venom

by
'Bruna Surfistinha'


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase The Scorpion's Sweet Venom



Title: The Scorpion's Sweet Venom
Author: 'Bruna Surfistinha'
Genre: Autobiographical
Written: 2005 (Eng. 2006)
Length: 166 pages
Original in: Portuguese
Availability: The Scorpion's Sweet Venom - US
The Scorpion's Sweet Venom - UK
The Scorpion's Sweet Venom - Canada
Le doux venin du scorpion - France
Das süße Gift des Skorpions - Deutschland
  • The Diary of a Brazilian Call Girl
  • Portuguese title: O doce veneno do escorpião
  • Translated by Alison Entrekin

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Our Assessment:

C- : confused, simplistic -- but a breezy read

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Foreign Policy . 1-2/2007 Raul Juste Lores
Playboy . 8/2/2007 Eric Wilinski


  From the Reviews:
  • "Bruna doesn't delve deeper into her psychic pain, which is too bad. We get the sense that what she's showing us is just the tip of the iceberg. Still, there's enough sass and honesty here to make The Scorpion's Sweet Venom a compelling -- as well as fast and easy -- read." - Eric Wilinski, Playboy

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Scorpion's Sweet Venom is The Diary of a Brazilian Call Girl, Rachel Pacheco who left home at the age of seventeen and for four years worked in a variety of whorehouses and out of her apartment under the professional name of 'Bruna Surfistinha'. She also achieved considerable fame for blogging about her whoring experiences.
       Early on she writes:

Well, it's a long story. My personal story, and Bruna's. Yes, there are two. One girl -- me -- with two stories.
       In fact, it's not a long story; the book is barely more than a padded magazine article. But the beginning suggests a bit of substance to it -- or at least some issues or problems that could drive the girl to flee her fairly comfortable home and the exploration of which might be of some interest.
       Raquel does have some issues. She was chubby, bulimic, adopted, a poor student. In her attempt to fit in she got involved with drugs and seems to have taken to the slut-label particularly easily: she gives one classmate a blowjob and her reputation is blown (and, think, "No one came to ask me if it was true, to hear my side of the story" !):
     As if with a wave of a magic wand, everyone disappeared. Not even my 'friends' stood by me. I ended up completely alone. People were ashamed to be seen with me.
       She wants to fit in, but she does a poor job of it. Nasty little habits like stealing presumably don't help. With escalating problems at home, she finally takes off:
I'd found in my body, between my legs, the key to freedom and my bread-and-butter, even though it meant lying about my age and putting into practice, for 100 reais an hour, the little I'd learnt the six times I'd had sex with a serious boyfriend and another guy I'd gone with.
       She gives the appearance of being revealing in this account, but it feels like she's only scratching the surface. She gets a pretty nasty drug habit, for example, but there's not much about that. And she mentions that even while she's plying her trade:
Every Monday afternoon I have therapy. It's funny, because I've been to psychologists all my life.
       (Readers who think that is funny may be considerably more entertained by this book than we were.) Therapy -- of this and the sexual kind -- seem to have done her some good -- she comes across as someone who is content enough -- but readers aren't offered much insight.
       So what about the sex ? That's presumably what most readers are after. Well, part of the problem is Bruna's very limited perspective (and often ridiculous presentation). She drops bombshells such as:
     The day-to-day life of a working girl has a very unglamorous side.
       Who would have thought, right ?
       Or:
You'll think I'm lying, but I was still technically a virgin at the age of seventeen ! In other words, no guy had ever had his dick in me. Which, technically speaking, is what qualifies a girl as a virgin. Honestly, I have no reason to lie about this now.
       Well, gee whiz ... ! (And thank god she at least learnt enough in school to impress with such technical insight .....)
       There is quite a bit of sex, too, but she can't decide whether to be encyclopaedic in her account, or just give a general overview of the contemporary whore's life. In the end, she does neither. Yes, there's some interesting detail about the working life (including such concerns as when to change the sheets and towels) and a few insights into what men (and kids ...) are looking for when they come to her, but the sex itself is mostly an indistinct and not very appealing blur. And it's blurred further by her other adventures in swingers clubs and on dance floors and the like.
       The book also jumps from one approach to the next. She takes to the Internet, and presents some of what that meant in a new section. Fortunately, she spares the reader the "standardised, very simple, without many details" blog entries she posts -- the one example, which includes the: "Funny fact: he swore I'd smoked pot. It wasn't true. I swear." (again: readers who find this funny will enjoy this book a whole lot more than we did) is more than enough. Still, she could have offered more about what her new-found fame meant; instead, she offers only a few glimpses.
       Another section offers 'Bruna the Surfer Girl's Forbidden Stories', which aren't too impressive. "Guess how many there were. Four ? No. Five ? No ... EIGHT. And I was the only girl." (And, yes: "I had to use a lot of creativity to handle them all.")
       The most telling section is 'Bruna the Surfer Girl's tips on how to spice up your sex life', which sort of sums up this whole enterprise. This isn't a down-and-dirty account of a whore's life, an introspective account of the consequences of a difficult childhood, or a look at contemporary sexual mores. No, it's a book for housewives (and teenage boys) with a pseudo-self-help message to titillate; if Bruna had been an American whore she would be appearing on Oprah !. (The spice-up tips are pretty lame and banal -- presumably Dr.Phil would tell you the same thing (and dress it up about as (un)excitingly).)
       Finally, there are 'Bruna's Fifteen Commandments'. For example:
11) If you can't work out how your partner prefers something, ask gently.
       In the Epilogue (!) readers learn:
The Scorpion's Sweet Venom is being translated into twelve languages, published worldwide and made into a film.
       It's appropriate enough that this is included in the book proper, rather than in the accompanying publicity material or something of that sort, because The Scorpion's Sweet Venom is in its entirety a marketing gimmick.
       To some extent, one can excuse Bruna's naïveté: she's a confused and apparently not particularly bright young girl (and she still is very young) who had a harder time in adolescence than most. She has an almost infantile obsession with her body -- apparently the only thing she can find any pleasure or satisfaction in -- and there's nothing wrong with that -- but it's too bad she doesn't delve deeper and make more of a book from this subject matter. In fact, she's incapable of almost any introspection (one of the few fascinating aspects of her character). Perhaps one of the ways for her to deal with doing ten guys a day was to abstract it into teenage fantasy; that's certainly what this book reads like, both in tone and approach. Not that what she writes about wasn't 'real', but her limiting perspective and analysis (if one can even call it that) make the book read more like a silly teenage fantasy-book.
       Because there's so little to it (in every respect) The Scorpion's Sweet Venom is a quick, breezy read -- and because she avoids Melissa P.-like pseudo-philosophical musing it's fairly readable. However, in not dealing with any of the subject-matter adequately seriously (from her Prozac and cocaine habits, to how her parents treated her to becoming a school outcast to her kleptomania to professional whore-life to her Internet success) it is not a harmless book, and as such can not be recommended

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Links:

The Scorpion's Sweet Venom: Reviews: 'Bruna Surfistinha': Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       'Bruna Surfistinha' (actually: Rachel Pacheco) was a whore in Brazil.

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© 2006-2009 the complete review

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