Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Jenna Jameson and Neil Strauss, "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale" (2004)

Jameson, for those who don't know, is the Madonna of porn.
With a carefully managed career, she has graduated from stripping to magazine work to porn to managing what her husband refers to as a "porn conglomerate". She is the name behind what seems to be a very successful group of websites, cellphone services, films, and still collects royalties from the over 50 films she made before going 'indy'.

Her story both fits within and frustrates how sex industry workers are often portrayed. In her autobiography, she outlines a sordid and tragic history of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, industry corruption, misogyny, alienation from her family... the list goes on. She also, however, suggests that her life experiences led her to the level of financial and career success, as well as personal satisfaction, that she has attained.

The book is well written, on the whole. It combines first-person narrative, comic-book format, simulated diary notes, interview transcripts, photos, and guidance for those seeking to enter the industry. This variety sometimes comes across a scattershot, but does help to break up what might otherwise begin to become monotonous or repetitive. It sparkles with occasional wit, while not glossing over what outsiders suspect about genuinely negative and dysfunctional aspects of making one's living as a sex worker.

If you are interested in this book, you might also peruse my notes regarding:
- "Porn King", the autobiography of John Holmes written by his wife
- Jimmy McDonough's "Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film"

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