(hb; 2003: autobiography)
From the inside flap:
“How does a teenager go from high school sophomore to the most recognized porn star in the world overnight? And why?
“Twelve-year old Nora Kuzma traveled with her mother and three sisters to southern California in search of a stable life. But years of sexual abuse and parental neglect drove her onto the streets of Hollywood and straight to the door of a nude modeling agency.
“Struggling to survive, she assumed the name Traci Lords and became a Penthouse centerfold. By age fifteen she was a world-famous porn queen drowning in a sea of sex, drugs and lies until the FBI raided her home just days after her eighteenth birthday.
“Traci Lords: Underneath It All is the… uncensored… story of how one young girl made peace with her past and triumphed over impossible odds to become a successful actress, recording artist, and most improbably of all, a happy and healthy woman.”
Breeze of a read, this. Lords comes off as a level-headed, Midwestern woman of traditional values, who, at a young age was driven by financial desperation into a job that she despised. Readers looking for lubricious details about the twenty porn films Lords made will be disappointed; the author doesn’t “dish” on that subject – instead, she talks about the personal miseries that were plaguing her life during that period, which makes up little of the narrative.
Mostly, she also talks about her struggle for mainstream acceptance as an actress, musician and her attempts to heal herself from a traumatic childhood (she was raped at ten years old, pregnant at fifteen), as well as mending her relationship with her scattered family.
Inspiring, cautionary book, worth your time.