DeWallen Press (2018)
Reviewed by Jennifer Wilson for Reader Views (9/18)
“Amsterdam Exposed” by David Wienir is an unvarnished tale of one young man’s stay in one of the world’s most controversial cities. This book is intriguing, inspiring and thoroughly entertaining, running the gamut of literary devices.
When the opportunity arose to move to Holland for a semester to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, third-year Berkeley law student David Wienir jumped at the chance. Having back-packed through Amsterdam years before, he had a knowledge of the area and looked forward to a break from law school stress and the recent publication of his second book.
David goes to Amsterdam with the intention of entering the Red-Light District to interview enough “working girls” to write a book that will show their perspective on the world’s oldest profession in a city that is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much. What follows is, what I believe, a true picture of what happens when you are willing to be a little uncomfortable, to have a few doors closed in your face, and to resist some temptations to do something that you believe will help others.
I admired Wienir’s persistence and patience throughout his time trying to win the trust of the only person willing to give him the time of day. Throughout it all, he was steadfast and dedicated to a project and a person that would have been very easy to scratch off the list. Most people would have scrapped the whole idea after the first few times being rejected while trying to recruit women to speak, much less the disappointments he faces from his new friend Emma.
Although I laughed throughout, this book made me really think about how quickly I can look at someone’s outside and slap a permanent label on them. I’m ashamed to admit that what was compassion, consideration, and kindness in my youth, has become only tolerance as I age and become jaded with humanity in general. This book reminded me to look at the whole picture and what might cause someone to make the choices they make. Not to make excuses for them, but to understand them.
I should probably give a warning that the subject matter may be off-putting for some. Anyone who has ever heard of the Red-Light District should be able to glean that this book is for adults only. It also contains language that some may find offensive. I am not easily offended and thoroughly enjoyed the “colorful” language used. Given the nature of the story, heck and darn just wouldn’t have cut it.
In “Amsterdam Exposed” David Wienir’s descriptive writing style is clever and quick-witted. His ability to take such serious subject matter and present it with humor is second to none. The playful way he writes about his experiences doesn’t seem forced. It’s as if you’re sitting on the sofa in a friend’s den being told all the things they experienced on their most recent vacation – sometimes shocked, sometimes a little sad, and several times laughing until tears are rolling down your cheeks.