The Naked Truth is a great coming-of-age story
- Written by Richard Young
The Naked Truth
Author - Lisa Brandt
Editor - Jennifer Foster
Illustrator - David Botten
Available through Kindle and Kobo $2.99
Hands up if as a young adult you had a summer job you would rather forget.
What if that job had made such an indelible mark on your psyche that you could not forget it and you felt compelled to share your experiences with others over 30 years later?
Such is the case with London radio broadcaster and freelance writer Lisa Brandt and her recently published e-book, The Naked Truth, which chronicles the summer of 1980 Ms. Brandt spent as a paid live-in gofer at the former Four Seasons Nature Resort near her hometown of Smithville, Ontario. In this case, "Nature" was a euphemism for "Nudist."
To be sure, Brandt's summer spent making beds, hustling drinks, cleaning showers and hot-tubs and listening to the stories told by the resort's unclothed residents makes for the classic coming-of-age tale. The fact that that this all occurred just on the eve of the author's first-year college studies in Broadcast Journalism further emphasizes this point.
Writing in a comfortable, conversational first person narrative, Brandt recalls her adventures and misadventures at the resort in a 25 chapter e-book that will have readers at times laughing out loud and other times, shaking their heads in disbelief.
And if you're wondering, Ms. Brandt - who early in the memoir admits that she was a typical young woman with body issues - never doffs her clothes to join in with the so-called "alternative lifestyle" at the resort. This is something she takes great pride in pointing out throughout the story. Although there is a late night swimming episode that does hold promise…but I digress.
Early on, Brandt realizes that the resort's nudists come in all shapes and sizes and ages, ranging from young children to octogenarians; some nice and some not so nice; some physically attractive, but most not so much so.
During her time at the resort, Brandt receives no less than what she refers to as three "Indecent Proposals" - two from men and one from a female guest. One of the men, Ted, wants to whisk her off for a "dirty weekend" to New York City as his trophy girlfriend, while the other one, Victor, wants her to have his baby for cash - literally. Kate, the tipsy female resident, just wants a one-night stand with the summer help.
She also has to contend with Old George, one of the elderly residents who wants to add a nude photograph of her to his private "collection" of female summer workers.
In between rebuffing these advances, making beds and flipping burgers, Brandt manages to have some fun with her summer co-workers Kim, Joe and Artie. I laughed out loud at the incident involving a lot of booze and some misplaced Nair.
Brandt's writing style is imbued with wit, nice turns of phrase and the perfect balance of smart-assed sarcasm. Sometimes it sounds like she is writing as the wide-eyed naïve 1970s young woman at the resort, while at other times it sounds like the recollections of a savvy media pro. And if you look closely enough, she drops many hints about how her experiences at the resort helped mould who she is today.
This is a great read and its length means it can be enjoyed in one or two sittings. At $2.99, it's a bargain. The Naked Truth will likely encourage many readers to recall their own summer jobs. I'm sure Ms. Brandt would love to hear from you.
(Out of 4 Stars)
Richard Young is the Publisher/Managing Editor of The Beat Magazine.