Dirty Beautiful by Jodie Becker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Erica is a small town elementary school teacher in Georgia. She lives in her Grandmother’s house and apparently has never been anywhere else. She even attended college from home, so she would not have to leave her ailing grandmother.
Dylan, also a Southerner, although he is from Arkansas, has recently moved to this small Georgia town from Los Angeles. He is getting out of “the life” of being a porn star. Of course,, he thinks he is going to be able to keep his past a secret.
Obviously, he doesn’t really know small towns.
The storyline was one I have not read before and that is saying something with the number of books I read. I found this one to be unique if a little unbelievable. And that is my only real problem with the book. The characters are likable and Dylan’s reasons for becoming a porn star as will as his struggle to return to a normal life are convincing. However, I did have trouble buying that he introduces Erica to his friends in LA, but does not expect them to tell her about the business.
My real issue with the book is Erica and the town she lives in. I found her situation implausible in a number of ways. First, and this is a minor point, she has never seen a beach. This is Georgia, not Kansas, and Georgians go to the beach. No educated person is that isolated.
Which brings up another issue . . . Erica is an elementary school teacher in a small Southern town and when Dylan’s past life is revealed, there are very few repercussions from the townspeople. Teachers are expected to be like Caesar’s wife . . . above reproach. There is no way the citizens would have accepted Erica dating, much less having an affair, with a porn star.
Finally, Erica has been betrayed by a previous boyfriend and has strong doubts that she can hold any man. Although, she is upset when she finds out about his past, she accepts that he loves her (eventually) and does not seem to have any problems with the fact that he has had sex with hundreds of women.
As you can see, I have had a hard time getting past the “yeah, right” portions of the plot. The storyline is unique, the characters are likable, and the book is well written. I just wish more thought had been given to the reactions of the characters to the situation.
And one more thing, I have been a teacher in a small town in Georgia . . . and St. Simon’s Island is my favorite beach.