First off, let me start by saying that I have always been a fan of Asa Akira's work. She brings a genuine enthusiasm to each of her performances that helps lift whatever she is doing to levels way about what her colleagues in the industry produce. With this book I was hoping to discover who the "real" Asa is, not the porn industry pin-up we have all come to know. In that regard I'm not so sure this book succeeds. Instead, it reads more like a long-form faux porn star interview like the ones that used to take up space between photo spreads in the porn mags of my youth. You know, how the porn star in question can't get get enough of sex, on or off screen, loves being controlled by dominant men, loves all kinds of sex (anal, oral, one-on-one, group, same sex, different sex, dominatrix, submissive), has no issues, no demons in her background, is in no way being exploited, nothing that would derail our fantasies of a sexy vixen.
Yes, I think her on screen enthusiasm is something not easily faked and I'm sure she is enjoying her chosen career path (good for her, no apologies - I like that), but I can't believe that life in the porn industry doesn't come with some kind of baggage, emotional or otherwise. But don't expect to find any of that here (again, why derail the fantasy?) Asa seems to scratch only the surface of her life and career with this autobiography. She talks about how she is not like other women in the industry (50% by her count) who are addicted to drugs or controlled by boyfriends cum pimps (pun intended). Still, she admits that she spent the majority of her life hooked on various pharmaceuticals (she is clean now, she insists). She recounts how she was one of the most promiscuous girls in her school and frequently engaged in shoplifting when not hanging out with friends getting high, but no underlying issues there, thanks. She says she is not controlled by any man, but one of the last chapters describes a session of rather rough sex she had with her husband hours before the Adult AVN awards in Las Vegas (but, she insists, she liked it and deserved it because she was acting crazy). So, you know, your average girl-gets-everything-she-wants story.
I'm sure there is a real good tale (tail?) here somewhere, but it is either too painful or too bothersome for Asa to address honestly. Her traditional Japanese parents are clearly distraught with her career choice, but Asa never delves into how she feels about this beyond saying "we don't talk about it". There is one scene in the book where her mother finds Asa's high school diary which recounts her sexual escapades, already numerous by that age. Crying, Asa's mother confronts her and asks where she went wrong as a parent. Asa basically changes the subject. She had two abortions (one of them very painful), but gives each of them short schrift; her battle with cystic acne got more ink and seemingly had a bigger impact on her. She literally says at one point in the book that her biggest regret in life is not convincing her parents to produce a sibling for her. That's her biggest regret?!?!?! Really?!?!
Again, despite what may seem like a negative review, I really enjoyed the book, but was starving for more. I read right through it in a few sittings and had a big smile on my face the whole time. But, I couldn't help thinking there is a whole other side to Asa that she is unwilling, or at this point in her life (she is still young at 28) unable to comes to terms with, let alone talk about. Maybe in 10 years or so we will see another book from her that is a bit more honest.