Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How to... Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale, by Jenna Jameson with Neil Strauss

(hb; 2004: autobiography)

From the inside flap:

"In the underbelly of Las Vegas, a cesspool of warring biker gangs and seedy strip clubs transformed the gawky, brace-faced Jenna Massouli into the bombshell Jenna Jameson. Today, Jenna Jameson is the biggest star in the history of adult movies, consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful women alive. But behind the glamour and the meteoric rise to fame was a path paved with tragedy and heartbreak. As a teenager drawn into a chaotic world ruled by rape, abuse, and murder, Jenna plunged into a downward spiral of addiction, even as she became one of the most photographed women in adult magazines.

"Determined to overcome this past, Jenna rebounded in the adult-film business, where she encountered sadistic directors, experienced lovers of both sexes, amorous celebrities (from Howard Stern to Marilyn Manson to Tommy Lee), bitter rival starlets, and finally, glory, as she went on to become the biggest porn star the world has ever seen. But her struggle for happiness did not end when the accolades began. For years she wrestled with her resentment at her estranged father, the loneliness of growing up from the age of two without a mother, and her enduring childhood desire to find a man who give her the security and love she never had."

Review:

Jameson's autobiography is an uneven read.

For the most part, it's interesting, particularly when she's talking about: the dos and don'ts of working in "the [adult film] industry"; her encounters with mainstream celebrities (including Nicolas Cage, Jack Nicholson, Pantera, Nikki Sixx, Bruce Willis and David Lee Roth); her struggle to deal with being raped, once by a bunch of high school boys, and later by a creepy German motorcycle gang member (called The Preacher); her father and brother; and her battles with drug addiction.

When Jameson, helped and edited by co-author Strauss, is talking about the above subjects, her narrative is informative, well-written, and engaging. In the middle of the book she has a dialogue with her brother, Tony, about minute bullshit abuses she and Tony had to put up with (from other folks), and her search for the right mate (she found him in a fellow industry worker). It's then that her book bogs down, which almost caused me to put this book down twice. But then an interesting bit would show up, and I'd soldier on.

One thing that was really interesting was how Jameson, who now owns her own production company, refused to condemn the porn business, unlike Traci Elizabeth Lords, who blasted it in her autobio, Underneath it All. In remaining porn-positive, Jameson provides an equally level-headed, if promo-savvy, counterpoint to Lords' negative experiences.

Co-author Strauss did a better job working with Motley Crue on The Dirt. I can only hope he did the same with Marilyn Manson, in Manson's autobio, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell.

Unless you're curious about the workings of "the industry," a die-hard Jameson fan, or wondering which celebrity names get dropped, don't read this.

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<em>Phantom</em> by Jo Nesbø

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