This is Thomas Ray O’Brien, of “Clueless Clyde” fame, following up the (semi) fictitious adventures of Clyde with his second book, some true life adventures among the “bad girls” of Costa Rica. The author takes us from his first experiences in the land of “Pura Vida” through a series of adventures, both his own and those of others he meets, as his education in the world that is Costa Rica’s “pay for play” scene.
Despite the subject matter, the tone of the book is more humorous than erotic, though he doesn’t try to hide what’s going on, what the “bad girls” are offering and what the gringos are buying. O’Brien seems to have quite a bit of sympathy and affection for these girls, despite the occasional chica who really does deserve the designation “bad girl.” Most of the ladies he encounters aren’t saints, nor are they often unusually wise, but he seems to give them the benefit of the doubt, often a little too long, perhaps, putting himself in the path of some larceny and other deceptions. Still, even with the loss of an occasional camera or whatnot, the reader gets the feeling that O’Brien wouldn’t have it any other way.
There were a number of chapters that I found particularly amusing. “To Pay or Not to Pay” tells the story of a relatively young gringo’s romance with a just-turned-eighteen bartender. I just loved the punch line, which I certainly didn’t expect but is so logical. Then there are the stories that take place in the Molino Rojo, a lower end bar where “company” is always available and you never know what you’ll get. Sometimes he gets someone who rocks his world, and other times some chica who might as well be one of the walking dead.
Some of the episodes provide very strong cautionary tales, such as “Jay and the Canadienne” or “Till Death Does She Part (with his Cash).” We readers are reminded time and again that it is “all about the money” so often that any man thinking otherwise really needs a reality check.
The book introduces us to a host of rather interesting characters on both sides of the coin, and a thoughtful look into the whole subculture. Those outside the subculture will be introduced to the world of ‘pay for play’ in Latin America, and those familiar with the scene will experience some new twists on some familiar themes. Fun for the whole family? Well no, probably not your sister, mother, maiden aunt or your local man of the cloth. On the other hand, if you find “bad girls” alluring or even somewhat interesting, this book is for you.