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Girlvert: A Porno Memoir Paperback – June 3, 2011
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"If Hemingway had been a porn star, this is how he would have written."
The Nervous Breakdown
"Oriana Small has pushed herself to the outermost extremes of what the body and mind are capable ofall before turning thirty years oldand now she's made it an authentic read for the rest of us to marvel at, elevating the depravity and denial inherent in the pornographic arts to a singular literary experience."
James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces
About the Author
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The book describes the most deviant and perverted sex acts imaginable, written as explicitly as possible, yet it’s neither gratuitous nor pornographic. It’s written to shock, and it does, but the erotic narrative is not shocking in itself; the insinuations are shocking, things that are sneered at in “polite” society. The sex and drugs are real and hardcore, not simulated, and not safe by any means, but the reader will not easily separate the sex FROM the drugs, because one feeds the other and neither can live withOUT the other. At least that’s how it is until Oriana Small (aka porn star “Ashley Blue”) finds a way to live without abusing either one. Her story is certainly not a confessional. She doesn’t ask for, nor expect, absolution and forgiveness for anything; and why SHOULD she? There’s no trace of regret, remorse or victimization. This is not the story of a submissive woman looking for explanations and reasons -- just the opposite: only a self-confidant woman, albeit emotionally damaged, could live through this and write about it and still be more than a survivor.
The book is, possibly, the best example of “authenticity” I’ve ever read.
The story is also about a city -- Los Angeles, California -- where people live earsplitting lives of distraction on a daily basis. Los Angeles (especially San Fernando Valley) is the centerpiece for the porn industry, and the book lets us see another side of urban sprawl. We can almost smell the cigarette smoke rising from an ashtray, or from a cigarette butt smoldering on the top of a soda can in a stale, dusty room when the sunlight comes in low from the east and hits it just right, through a half-opened curtain hiding a dirty window in an apartment near Fountain and La Brea, after a night of group sex, recreational drugs and no sleep, AGAIN. Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Santa Ana, Studio City and the entire southern California freeway system are characters in the story with just as much importance, if not more, as any dialogue between boyfriends and girlfriends, filmmakers and wanna-be sex starlets strung out on crystal meth. From Universal City to Las Vegas, from Northridge and Chatsworth to Palm Springs: the story goes everywhere and takes plenty of sex and drugs along for the ride; in this book, sex and drugs are really the only ride.
But the book also lets the reader examine a completely different “ethos-system” of co-dependence, honesty, and love -- redefined in terms that are unknown and unavailable to most people. In a netherworld where you and most of your friends are young and damaged goods, barely to be trusted, your collective myths are accepted as “truth”, made to create private pretexts for public consequences. It’s almost, but not literally, a “parallel world”, alien to most common shared realities, and yet there are obvious similarities. As the book makes clear, intensely strong loyalties and bonds are formed between people who have more than their share of jealousies, insecurities, possessiveness, emotional withdrawal, self-doubt and estrangement; but they’re just as capable of expressing romantic sentiments as anyone else. The fact that the book describes them having sex with lots of other people, on film and for money, with which to buy more drugs and have sex with even more people, doesn’t even matter.
As an outsider looking in, the reader is provoked, or maybe I should say "invited", to defer to a morality that’s intolerable, misunderstood and even condemned. And yet throughout her largely self-inflicted misery, for Oriana Small, at least, at the end of a very long day that had turned into years, the experience of love, a marriage, regeneration and self-renewal were waiting for her at home.
Ashely had a recurring role as the Girlvert character, an angry, abusive , young girl who forces other girls into rough sex in the
course of her career.
At the height of her career,she won the best female performer of the year in 2004.
Cheryl,her mother used to have multiple partners. She shares her experiences with swinging, drugs ,alcohol and partying in the course of her career while stressing the fact she considers porn to be an art form and has never regretted getting involved in it.
As a lifer who still works in porn she points out that she has moved on to become a writer with a steady partner after the years she spent in the adult industry.
What I like about the book is that it challenges all the prejudices and stigma that exists in
certain circles about porn.
However, as the book follows Small through the transformation from Oriana Small to porn star Ashley Blue, the reader is struck by both the brutal language and the brutal honesty. Small doesn't hold back when discussing her mistakes (drugs, yes, porn, no) and the feelings and needs that were created and satisfied along the way. Even with all the cruel language, the book is well written, moves well, and holds the reader's interest.
Despite some truly horrible situations, one stops short feeling sorry for Small, as her unbeatable attitude comes shining through. At the end of it, I was almost proud of her, and definitely happy for her. Not what I expected, but worth the effort.
Those interested in the sex industry will find this book interesting. Those who may want to keep their children OUT of the sex industry may also find it valuable.
If you don't find this review helpful, please leave a comment as to how I can improve my reviews.