In ‘Margot’s Got Money Troubles,’ Rufi Thorpe explores motherhood and sex work

In ‘Margot’s Got Money Troubles,’ Rufi Thorpe explores motherhood and sex work

If I told you one of the best books of the summer features motherhood, professional wrestling, TikTok and OnlyFans, would you worry for my sanity? I might, too. But when I picked up the new novel by Rufi Thorpe, I was instantly hooked.

Margot’s Got Money Troubles tells the story of 20-year-old Margot Millet, the child of a Hooters waitress and an ex-pro wrestler, who gets knocked up by her community college English professor and decides to keep the baby.

She has no clue the many ways the newborn will change her life, especially financially. But when she’s fired from her waitressing job and two of her three roommates move out, she has to figure something out — fast. As an experiment, Margo ventures onto OnlyFans, a subscription site used primarily for pornography, and she discovers one option for easy money.

Thorpe’s previous novel, The Knockout Queen, focused on a pair of teen misfits and was, as Kirkus describes, “a darkly comic meditation on moral ambiguity.” She explores that territory again here with courageous storytelling, razor-sharp wit, and characters you root for because of their flaws, not in spite of them. Thorpe also experiments with point-of-view, alternating between first- and third-person to highlight Margot’s challenges, and occasionally riffing on the art of fiction itself.

Make no mistake: Margot’s Got Money Troubles is an adult novel dealing with mature themes. And that’s what sets it apart from the ocean of other summer fare. It’s raunchy, funny, and unflinchingly honest about our culture’s Madonna-whore complex and how we approach motherhood and sex. And Margot is an unlikely — but charming and unforgettable — hero.