Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Week Twelve Prompt: Readers' Advisory Matrix for Nonfiction

The Voyeur's Motel

Gay Talese

Grove Press

233 pages

Narrative Continuum

Mixed; highly narrative


Sociological portrait of one man


Human sexuality


Gay Talese is a sociologist who was studying human sexuality in 1980 when he was contacted by Gerald Foos. Foos told him that he had purchased and modified a motel outside Denver, Colorado expressly for the purpose of “satisfying his voyeuristic tendencies”. Foos told Talese that his meticulously recorded observations could illuminate human sexuality; they corresponded for thirty years before Talese wrote the book.

This books is a quickly-paced, intimate glimpse into the life and psyche of a voyeur. Much of the narrative recounts Foos’s life and marriages; his observations of his guests’ sexual habits are sometimes transcribed and sometimes paraphrased during the decades he ran his motel. Foos’s experience and observations provide a lot of insight into human sexuality in the 1960s-1980s. There are accompanying photos of Foos and his motel, but there are no charts, graphs, or overtly scholarly information.     

Why Would a Reader Enjoy This Book

  1. Tone, nonjudgmental recounting of salacious events
  2. Characterization, introspective
  3. Learning/Experiencing


  1. This sounds fascinating! I love non-fiction that focuses on interesting/different people. I have a lot of questions about the book but I think I will just read it to find out!

  2. Great prompt response! Full points!

  3. Very interesting! I am so intrigued by this matrix, and the book sounds so good. I don't have many non-fiction books in my repertoire, and this sounds like something I could see myself reading.