Before visiting a new destination, rather than reading a guide book, I’m always trying to read a book or watch a movie that’s set up in it. And I also love doing it once I’m back home. I’t makes me feel I’m still wondering the streets of that city and like I’m still on a vacation.
I think I read almost all the books about or happening in Amsterdam. So, when I was sent David Wienir’s ‘Amsterdam Exposed: An American’s journey into the Red Light District’ I was so excited to read a new book with a story happening in Amsterdam.
And it was so good I read it in a couple of days!
The story is set up in 1999 and it follows a young American during his semester as an exchange law student in Amsterdam. Beside catching up with his studies he has another goal on his mind, as well. He wants to write a book about the famous Amsterdam’s Red Light District. To do so, he wants to interview some of the ladies working there. However, being easier said than done, he founds his plan to be quite challenging. After some time he befriends Emma, a young prostitute he falls in love with during their time together.
Author is explaining so well the city within the city when writing about the life in the Red Light District. He’s giving a great insight into a specific rules within the district, common clients and ‘laws of behaving’ there. He’s describing noise, crowd and that attractive mystique Red Light District has to many people.
However, he’s not afraid to talk about its stigma either. Stigma many of the ladies working there are still facing. And although seen as a form of a liberalism and freedom, life of prostitutes is often far from that.
The portrait of Amsterdam
The other thing I really liked in a book is how well author has described the city. You can feel he lived there and researched the city and its citizens thoroughly. I almost had a feeling I rode with him on his bicycle, the ‘Purple Rocket’ around Amsterdam. His description of a night ride through the streets of Amsterdam is so beautiful.
Book can almost be used as a travel guide with a great insight into the life of locals. Author is mentioning all the interesting places, museums, parks etc. He’ll grab your attention while talking about Dutch history, symbols of a country or a Dutch cuisine. It’s the next best thing to having an expat friend telling you about Amsterdam prior to your trip. And he’ll explain you all the layers of a Red Light District well.
David Wienir’s ‘Amsterdam Exposed: An American’s journey into the Red Light District’ should be on a reading list of anyone planning to visit the Netherlands and its capital!
As we crossed the Amstel River that night, I was overcome by the heaviness of history in the air.
You can buy your copy of a book at a link below:
Amsterdam Exposed: An American’s Journey Into The Red Light District