The Makings of a Tell All Book

Everyone loves controversy. It’s engrained in many of us from a young age. From teenage drama all the way up to TMZ or insider news stories as adults, we gather to watch the latest scandal unfold. It’s almost natural to get caught up in the hype and controversy and tell all books are no different. Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures gives us an inside, no holds barred, look into the life of three humanitarians on their journey through humanitarian aid work with the UN.

Emergency Sex serves the purpose of opening the eyes of outsiders to the “ugly truth” involved in working in the humanitarian aid industry. Cain, Postlewait, and Thomson collaborated to provide three different and unique perspectives that allow the reader the opportunity to reflect on their experiences while in the field. Unlike many main stream tell all stories, Emergency Sex shows the brutal truth behind humanitarian aid work for the benefit of the reader. They are removing the cloak that main stream media uses to cover this truth and show what actually goes on in the field. Many media outlets choose to only to show the needy, malnourished children in need of help and the positive, feel good stories that happen once aid gets there. Little reporting is done about what really goes on in between and Emergency Sex provides real experiences to fill that void.

Many comparisons can be drawn from Cain, Postlewait, and Thomson’s tell all book to those of other authors of tell all books. For example, Juiced is book by Jose Canseco that depicts the truth behind America’s favorite pastime, baseball, and steroids. Both books bring readers behind the scenes and provide them with the opportunity to experience life through the eyes of someone else. It opens the readers’ eyes to the corrupt nature of the industry and provides the unique perspective from the viewpoint of people actually involved in the inner workings of these industries.

While many tell all books seem focused on adding “gas to the fire”, I believe these two tell all books simply provided readers with the knowledge of what really goes on behind the scenes. They provide readers with the opportunity to fill in the gaps that the protagonists and antagonists leave out and allow the reader to come to their own conclusions. They are more focused on providing the facts, from their viewpoints, without a filter and no outside influence on what gets reported.
There is a very fine line when it comes to the true motive behind tell all books. Is it to gain fame, discredit someone else, simply to entertain, profit financially, or is it to just open the eyes of the reader to fill in the gaps left by others? As with anything in this world, it is the responsibility of the user, not writer, to utilize all information available and formulate their own opinion.


Works Cited:

Cain, Kenneth, Heidi Postlewait, and Andrew Thomson. Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell on Earth. New York: Hyperion, 2004. Print.

Canseco, Jose. Juiced, Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, And How Baseball Got Big. 1. 1. New York: It Books, 2005. Print.

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