The Ease of Access By Jeff Musillo “A Must Read!” A review by Alex Montaldo
A couple of weeks ago, a friend handed me a book and said ‘You should read this. It’s fantastic and incredibly entertaining’. That book was ‘The Ease of Access’ by Jeff Musillo. My friend, whose taste I trust completely, couldn’t have been more right! Matter of fact, The Ease of Access is fantastic and definitely entertaining. But it’s also so much more than that! I’m pretty jaded when it comes to literature and art in general… So I always take both praises and criticism with the proverbial grain of salt until I can see for myself. But this time it only took me four minutes to realize that after a long time, I finally had the chance to read a real novel! A book worthy of the name, one that will make you want to get to the end and savor every step you take on your way to it.
‘Musillo’s book is a tale of casual encounters (actually, they are not so casual, since what we are talking about here is paid for sex), greed and lust’ some might say.
Sure that’s a legitimate way to look at it, but never the less superficial and narrow minded.
‘The Ease of Access’ allows the readers to have their Hollywood ugliest fantasies confirmed and reinforced, which can be comforting, I guess, for them and gives them permission to let their imagination run wild while being outraged, in case moralism were their kind of kink.
As every valuable piece of literature, this book can be enjoyed by a vast range of readers and provides everyone with a ‘meaning’ that fulfills their specific needs.
So yes, it is entertaining and a great weekend read, it is scandalous and graphic; it’s sexy, amoral and brutally crude. The list could go on for hours, but I can only speak for my kind – which is basically myself and myself only- when I say that “The Ease of Access” is the most realistic and fascinating portrait of an apathetic, self-aware individual since the TV show “Dexter”.
Much like the narrator, who is a professional male prostitute, I am not interested in the wright/wrong way of thinking or any kind of dichotomy, nor am I what you would call a people-person. That may be part of the reason why I am so fascinated by Musillo’s exploration of his character’s way of processing reality and human interactions.
This anti-hero’s life revolves around money: his job is having sex with reality TV stars for MONEY. ‘Yes, I’m a prostitute’ he says with nonchalance and a hint of self- irony, as he introduces us to his ‘depraved’ and promiscuous world. He actually describes his job and anecdotes using a double logic, proving himself as a very empathetic prostitute, able to understand his clients thoughts and feelings while being completely emotionally detached. Some good people may argue that this is not real empathy, because he doesn’t ‘feel’ anything, so I’ll take the liberty to use an oxymoron and call it intellectual empathy.
In a world where most ‘artists’ seem to want to push our emotional buttons to get us interested in whatever it is they sell (books, movies, plays and so forth), maybe even convincing themselves that their feelings/inspiration/passion are somewhat important, it is absolutely refreshing to know that Musillo’s hero is writing a book not because he cares so deeply about something and wants to bring tears to our eyes, but simply because he doesn’t care at all. He doesn’t care about the clients he has sex with for money, he doesn’t care about his ‘boss’, he doesn’t care about consequences: he just cannot care!
And this is not caused by a lack of intelligence. Actually, it’s the exact opposite. Our narrator has developed the ability of being detached. Some people might call him cold, but the beauty of this character is that he’s hyper aware and vigilant even when it comes to his own world. It’s not that he doesn’t have emotions, it’s just that in his universe, they are reduced to their bare essence: perception.
Musillo’s language is refined and simple, absolutely perfect for voicing his character’s thoughts.
It took me a half page to stop and think to myself: ‘Boy, this guy can write!’ And that thought stayed with me throughout the book.
I give “The Ease of Access” four and a half stars out of five. I’ll save a half star for the movie someone will have to turn this book into.
Jeff Musillo is a brilliant writer and “The Ease of Access” is a must read! And yes, there are some dirty words and a lot of dirty deeds in it. I’m sure some people will find it offensive and I find that to be an added value!