The Diary of a Sugarbaby

J.Q. Gagliastro

Publisher: J.Q. Gagliastro Pages: 285 Price: (paperback) $16.99 ISBN: 9798218254834 Reviewed: February, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

The Diary of a Sugarbaby is a harrowing dystopian novel about a young queer man enduring sexual slavery.

Dime lives in a future U.S. where everyone between 18 to 34 is a Minor and sexual property of an Elder (people 35 and older). Forbidden to work, read, write, or listen to music, Minors only serve their Elder’s pleasures. The Red police force inflicts harsh punishments on rule-breakers, involving branding, public rapes, and executions.

Dime keeps a secret journal, where he reflects on his life now and before the new regime. He reveals that his father kicks him out at 16 for wearing dresses. Intelligent and skilled with languages but fighting student loan debt, he becomes a “sugarbaby,” a person to whom older “Sugar Daddies” give gifts and money for companionship and sex.

Dime is a complex character. He writes contemptuously of the Daddies— known only as One through Seven—calling them “dirty old men” and “pedophilic.” Most he finds physically unattractive, and even the last two, “muscle daddies” who set him up in Rome, soon reveal their faults. Yet he also acknowledges both his ageism and attraction to these men. He fares no better with his three Elders, called X, Y, and Z. Y initially seems kind, sharing his secret collection of forbidden books and music, but eventually becomes possessive.

The novel feels reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale; indeed, Dime burns a copy of that novel during the weekly mandatory destruction of forbidden materials. Tension remains high throughout, starting with a Minor’s execution for refusing an Elder’s command. The explicit sex and occasional violence, while appropriate, may shock some readers; one execution by guillotine is especially gruesome.

Although enslaving women and queer people feels chillingly plausible, it seems less probable that anyone would allow straight men to be treated the same way. Regardless, employing short chapters and much suspense, the book powerfully critiques homophobia, misogyny, and sex-shaming, as well as societies that force young, struggling people into sex work.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Available to buy at: