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True Porn Clerk Stories Paperback – August 27, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ali Davis is a writer, performer, and proud former video clerk. She spent three years with The Second City's National Touring Company. Ali currently lives in Los Angeles does improv and sketch comedy, and writes. She is still a movie nerd.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1448685249
  • ISBN-13: 978-1448685240
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,305,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ADavis on September 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
From a comedienne who is also a clerk at a video shop that rents porn, you would expect funny anecdotes. Probably with a healthy side helping of sarcasm. When that comedienne/clerk is also an anthropologist, you might reasonably expect some insight into what is, frankly, a widespread yet rarely-discussed subculture in America--porn renters. If the lady also happens to be a talented freelance writer with some time on her hands and a computer, well, obviously there must be a pretty interesting blog somewhere.

Ali Davis delivered on all fronts, and now her True Porn Clerk Stories have been collected into a nice, tidy--funny--bundle. And yes, there is humor; the titles of the videos she handled, her nicknames for regular customers, the inevitable flare-ups of her temper. There is also an unexpected cache of laughs in her occasional treatment of "porn addicts" as the unwitting subjects of her anthropological analysis. (She's identified the castes, the society's rules, and the prevailing attitudes.) Even the stuff that is frankly pretty gross--prepare for fluids--has an aspect of surreal humor all its own.

More impressively, though, the stories are insightful. What makes Davis's take on the anecdotes so unique is that, while tough enough to deal with porn renters nine hours a day, she doesn't seem jaded. Granted, she gets pissed at thieves, public masturbators and self-important jerks with cell phones. She's no wide-eyed pushover. But somehow, incredibly, she seems optimistic about people generally, and approaches each new customer with professional courtesy and an open mind.

Her take on porn itself is interesting; as a self-described "First Amendment Feminist," she defends the right to make, watch, and rent porn, "as long as all parties are willing adults.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amanda M. on August 27, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Years ago, Ali had a blog where she would write about the weirdness that happened at work. She'd tell us about the video store and casting calls and screenplays and she kept our interest and told a damn fine tale.
One day she up and disappeared.
Now she's back with the true tales neatly packaged to be carried on your commute bringing smiles and chuckles and perhaps an outright laugh or three. Though NSFW, it is the best thing to get you out of thinking that your job sucks.
Buy it, support Ali, maybe she'll write more true tales for us.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nicole on August 26, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Ali's witty and insightful take on the life of a video store clerk is infinitely readable. Blending her razor sharp wit, knowledge of anthropology, and her keen observational skills, Ali shares with us her view of the human condition as only she can. Expect to be amused, appalled, and agog.

And, if that's not a good enough reason to read this book then do it to find out how she handles the situation with the needy regular...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Travis Kroh on August 27, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Ali's tales are the kind of thing you end up re-reading on a near-regular schedule. The want for more stories is somewhat bittersweet in that you are disappointed when you near the end, but you're glad she got out. Perhaps there's a "True Auditioning Actress Stories" in our future?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ali Davis is funny. Very funny. And you need funny to tackle this kind of subject matter. But Ali Davis is not only funny. She's astute. And clever. And unabashed. And an amazing observer of human behavior. And she has an opinion, but never once did it get in the way of me forming my own. And did I mention she's funny? I did? Well, it bears repeating.

The title is not a ruse. It is exactly what you'll get. No, that's untrue. You will get what the title promises, but then you'll get a lot more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By paperbatty on May 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What would you do if you found yourself working in a video store in Chicagoland, checking out and restocking porn for $6.50 an hour to pay the bills? I know what I'd do. I'd take notes.

That's pretty much what Ali Davis does too. She starts a blog to report on her shifts at the porn rental store. And after the job ends and the blog ends and she goes on to the next phase in her life, she shares this diary in the form of a book.

I wasn't cool enough to have even heard of the blog. I mean, this blog was one of the first blogs to really explode internationally, after Ali read from True Porn Clerk Stories on This American Life. But I missed all that. I discovered the book by following Ali on Twitter.

She's not just holding these people up for our amusement, although there is plenty of amusement to be found. Ali offers us her perspective on why people rent porn, what happens when you get down to that hardcore core of your being, where the right to view porn fits into her personal philosophy, and how that philosophy changed as it became informed by her experiences in the rental store.

You know how I tell a really good book? As soon as I read the last word, I return to the beginning and start reading the whole thing again. I loved this book from the splash page to the last page. I frequently laughed out loud.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Matt on August 24, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
She's the Matt Taibbi of minimum wage. The Margaret Mead of the maligned male. She's got a BA in Anthropology from William and Mary, and she knows how to use it.

She's blogger extraordinaire Ali Davis, and she approves this message, finally in convenient Kindle and book form. "True Porn Clerk Stories" is everything you didn't realize you wanted to know about working in an adult video store, and didn't think to ask: Men. Bosses. The night shift. Weird people. Sad people. People who are neither weird nor sad. Video clerks. I think there might be cars that turn into robots at the end there, too, but I wouldn't swear to it. Almost no one gets naked, but Ali's keen eye and wit strips them all bare nonetheless.

True Porn Clerk Stories is a series of fun tales about people and porn videos, and the strange ways they intersect in one Chicago storefront. You'll laugh, you'll gasp, you'll be amazed that someone found a good use for a liberal arts degree, even while working at a video store that rents out a lot of porn.
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