Jackson had a good family. He grew up loved and cared for. He wasn't abused. There were no dark family secrets. When he headed to New York City for college he was just a normal kid looking to find his way in the world.
What Jackson finds is the underside of the city and Jackson spends the next 20 years working in bath houses, porn shops and eventually as a prostitute.
The story starts in the current day with Jackson being called to come home due to a family emergency. The book goes back and forth between what's happening in the current day and Jackson's memories of his past. Jackson's story is dark and gritty and sometimes graphic. I thought this part of the book was well done. The author does a good job of painting a picture of how bad things got for Jackson while still making you care about him and caring about what happens to him.
My complaint with the book was how quickly Jackson resolves his issues when he comes home. The book is moving along at a pretty dark pace until almost the end where it all of a sudden had an easily come by happily ever after. I don't like when dark stories jump quickly to happiness. It doesn't seem realistic to me. I couldn't buy Jackson having so many emotional issues and them almost overnight he has a great, emotionally healthy life. This quick, painless transition made this just an ok read for me.
There was no smoking gun. No horrible family secret behind why I left. No reason at all for me, at nineteen, to leave for New York, ready for anything life had to offer—especially if it involved certain proclivities. In the time required to walk to Times Square from the Port Authority Terminal, my naiveté was wiped away. I witnessed a prostitute performing her nightly hustle. In the days to follow, I was mugged twice, ripped off while trying to purchase pot, and beaten to the point of soiling myself. But a chance encounter with a young hustler led to a meeting with Mr. B, mob-connected owner of multiple clubs on Times Square, all under fire from a new mayor embarking on an anti-sleaze campaign directed squarely at The Deuce.
I spent the next twenty years of my life coming of age on the streets, but now, as I speed south across the countryside, heading for my native New Orleans and a dying sister, I make a pact to leave New York in New York, only to find coming home proves harder than coming out.