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Girlvert: A Porno Memoir Paperback – June 3, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"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 of—all before turning thirty years old—and 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

About the Author

Oriana Small is a writer and visual artist from Southern California. As Ashley Blue, she has appeared in over 300 adult films—including the infamous Girlvert series—directed seventeen adult film features, co-hosted Playboy TV's Night Calls Hotline, and has won numerous adult film industry awards, including AVN's Female Performer of the Year in 2004 and Best Supporting Actress in 2005. She lives and works with her husband, photographer Dave Naz, and her cat and dog in the Hollywood Hills.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Rare Bird Books, A Barnacle Book; 40417th edition (June 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982505639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982505632
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Graham M. Flower on January 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oriana has written a frank and straightforward description of her life in porn. Porn seems to have multiple layers with some less extreme approaches and others that really go way beyond the call of duty. Oriana seems to have specialized with video companies and directors who were doing some of the most extreme pornography. So this book is not for the faint of heart, its pretty raw and she definitely specialized in some things that go beyond anything I'm interested to see.

However, you can get a good sense of the porn world culture from this book and a good idea of how the whole business works. Its best if you can experience this from her writing rather than personal experience. From her descriptions it sounds like this is a subculture where drugs are super pervasive, way beyond what I had guessed. It also sounds like the money is often heavily spent on partying and drugs. Its not a total surprise that this business attracts people who are toward the instant gratification end of the spectrum and don't exactly plan ahead. But you can see the extent of this from this memoir.

You can also see from what she says of her background how she might have gravitated to this kind of business as her mom was literally a junkie and her mom had several partners as well as affairs. So you can see that she was severely neglected as a child by a mom who had some pretty severe drug problems herself.

You can see that some of the companies that she was working for created more violent and abusive types of porn. It doesnt sound appealing, in fact alot of it sounds pretty gross. But you can see the pattern where the directors try to push the preformers towards ever more extreme acts, and the top end seem mostly outrageous to me.

Its a pretty frank memoir from the point of view of somebody in the more extreme parts of the business. You get a pretty good picture of what goes on and you learn about some of the practices that will blow your mind.
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Format: Paperback
The first half is just fascinating; a candid and explicit look into the world of porn from a woman who was a superstar in the industry. You want to know what its like, what really happens with the performers and the producers in a world none of you will ever really know, here it is and nothing is held back. It confirmed what I was told went on in the industry. The second half is very sobering and takes you down a very dark road, but in the end it finishes upbeat, with a lot of hope. Oriana pretty much has left the biz with her head intact and a life with no real regrets; she did what she did and the future for her is going to be just fine. She is one of the the exceptions, most I think do not leave the industry in a good way.

I was fortunate to get the book at her book signing party in LA. My only regret is that I was not able to stay long enough for her to sign my copy...it's a keeper.
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You never know what you are going to get when you read a porn star bio. It could be an amateurish whine-fest with some arousing sexual experiences Lights, Camera, Sex!, or it might be Ron Jeremy's Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz, which is surprisingly well written. This book is closer to the second, though it really turns up the shock value. Small pulls no punches in her description of either the actors or the actions that comprised her adult film career, and her brutal honesty at times was almost too much to handle.

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.
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I'm giving this 5 stars mainly because I couldn't put it down once I started AND I wish the book were twice as long. It is that train wreck you can't help but keep your eyes glued on. Sure, it isn't the most well written and it isn't the most comprehensive nor the most chronological, but you won't forget what she writes. You enter her world and her story quickly. It isn't pretty but it isn't forgettable either. This is 9/10s William S. Burroughs' memoirs of the 1940s (Junky & Exterminator, more heavy on the drug emphasis than sex in that day of publishing) with 1/10 Marquise de Sade (you may not believe some of the things she did in porn). So it is ABSOLUTELY NOT for the faint of heart, squeamish, or prudes! I suspect many readers will end the book wondering what was more actually more harrowing, the drug abuse or the sexual activity. For me, it probably was more the drug use. I can't imagine who she survived all those drugs!

Anyone who wants to get the most factually out of the work should first read over the two pages of "Acknowledgements" at the end. Here you'll see the very few people who gave "permission to be part of my story (e.g., Hannah Harper and Jim Powers). Then study the Internet Adult Film Database (IAFD) section on Oriana (known as "Ashley Blue").That claims she was born on July 8, 1981, with her film debut in June 2002. It also states here boyfriend & porn co-start Tyler ("Trent Tesaro", see the Acknowledgements and his section in the IAFD) was born March 18, 1977.

There are 36 short chapters. The book focuses more on the period from 2001 to 2002, which is covered in the first 22 chapters. All of 2003-2004 are covered in just 9 chapters. The final years, 2005 and after, are covered fast in just 7 chapters.
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