Traci Lords: Underneath It All
is the autobiography of the infamous porn starlet. Nora Kuzma was a troubled teenager from Steubenville, Ohio; Traci Lords was the underage glamour mag/porn queen who became the centerpiece of the adult-video industry's greatest scandal. In reality, they were one and the same, the subject of this slick, if thin autobiography. But what's striking here is not the familiar story line--confused, sexually abused teen falls in with drugs and the wrong Southern California crowd, forges fake IDs to become Penthouse
Pet of the Month at 16 and the 80s hottest adult star, then arrested as focus of the Reagan administration's crackdown on porn, only to become reborn as cleaned-up, psychoanalysed/rehabed purveyor of legitimate film, TV and music career. Rather, what's striking is Lords' capacity for denial, compartmentalisation and myopia when it serves her own ends.
Her scandalous tenure in the porn trade--undeniably the sole basis for her infamy and subsequent legitimate career--is glossed over here in a few dozen pages, with more attention paid to the heavy-metal musicians that dotted her life than the motivations and machinations of the Feds who literally changed her life; Slash's snake gets more ink here than Attorney General Ed Meese. Quick to ladle generous sympathy on her own plight, she heaps little but scorn upon those from the seedy past of her porn-star alter-ego, yet seems to have had few qualms about formally adopting that moniker as her legal name.
Many of her former cohorts in the adult industry (some of whom were jailed as targets of Federal law enforcement and tax probes related to her case) have long claimed that Lords was little more than a scheming careerist, and a careful reading of her own words does little to undermine their case. There are indeed many insights to Lords's troubled life here, with more than a few lurking between the lines. --Jerry McCulley, Amazon.com
“Frank, opinionated, intelligent, drenched in emotion….Will have readers cheering Lords on as they speed through its gritty, big-souled pages.” (Publishers Weekly)
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