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on 28 June 2017
Well worth a read. The author doesn't pull any punches when looking at her life and choices, a refreshingly frank tone but also with humour throughout.
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on 21 July 2017
Very interesting but frighteningly graphic to the point of being depressing! Credit to Oriana Small though for being brave enough to share this appalling true story of her life. Read with caution.
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on 10 June 2017
Interesting. I loved reading about the merry go round life of Ashley blue. The writing was a little amateurish at times but her honesty and grit made it easy to ignore.

Worth a read.
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on 19 April 2016
Good Read
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on 13 August 2012
Oriana Small has written frank, honest, funny, sometimes gross, heart wrenching, matter of fact account of her time in the porn industry. Throughout she is likeable, funny and totally honest. It is a no frills account of the reality behind the hype...of drug addiction, infections, bodily fluids, not eating for 2 days before shoots..enemas...and still bodily fluids (!), sometimes sadistic cruelty (being pushed to perform unwillingly, sometimes through tears, being bruised, afraid and ruptured), and sometimes anarchistic adventure and fun, wild partying, life on the edge, of finding the boundary where there is no boundary. Oriana is not sensationalist...she has no need to be, she sees each new act suggested to her by directors as pushing her to further endurance heights (in the same way many of us would consider running a heptathlon) with the stubborn attitude "You will not break me". Some nearly do, they want to see her choke, to be punished: to break....she mostly defies them. There seems to be little account (unsurprisingly) of sensuous enjoyment, rather the achievement of enduring the acts, and a sense of having disempowered legions of men into climax. She takes satisfaction in having pushed herself to the limits of human experience....not many could and put together such a measured, reflective account. It is also a book about co-dependency...in drugs, relationships, sex and with food. Oriana is no victim, she has the insight to rescue herself just in time. Throughout the book you begin to wonder if she will make it out the other side. You really want her to. She has no time for regrets or condemning the industry, which she may or may not return to...her story and events speak for themselves... A must read for anyone thinking of getting into the adult industry or watching it (it strips away any 'glamour' allusion), since it is time the audience understood its objects as subjects, as people with emotions and pain sensors. A great read, a highly recommended reality check about the industry.....
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on 29 December 2016
I think it is a brilliant expose of the porn world as she experienced it. It gives great insight into the particular brand of porn that she was involved in and illustrates succinctly and honestly how these [very popular and famous] porn companies operate, what kind of people work for them at every level, and what motivates these people. She is extremely articulate and able to explain in very simple and honest terms what drives her and her boyfriends to go into porn and what drives them and motivates them generally and what their ethos of life and sexuality is and how this feeds into their addiction to money and drugs as well as all the other benefits they gain from working in the porn industry. She give s a very full account of how she finds herself working in porn and how she and her boyfriends relate to this. There is a very full of account of how those in the industry coerce, rape or cajole/tick her into doing things against her will as well as an incredibly insightful and brutally honest and complex telling of her part in all of this and the often distasteful drivers and demons that push her into areas of drug and sexual acitvities.

When she speaks of her boyfriends and her personal life it is to give the reader insight into the attitudes of her and her family toward relationships, drugs and portn.

I have been trying for many years to find some kind of memoir that can explain or give some insight into the personal mores and quirks of people whose lifestyle choices and attitudes toward sex money and porn are very hard for me to imagine. I have often wondered what is going on with the female actors who put themselves through so much shit within porn and wondered how they cope and whether they suffer or or numbed or enjoy the work. And thanks to Oriana Small I have gained great insight into one porn worker’s mindset, that of her loved ones, and of many of the other fellow workers she interacts with along the way.

She also gives a good description of the criteria she uses to decide who are the good guys and the bad guys of porn.

We get very good descriptions of the life and partying of the porn workers and what they do with the money they earn. And their complex personal relationships where they manage the strangely promiscuous sex lives they lead.

She writes brilliantly. Explaining some very complex and conflicting traits of her personality. And she talks about the families that spawn these strange porn actors and the families attitude toward porn and drugs and sex.

She is extremely gifted in the way she talks about herself with great and candid honestly, not trying to cover her own degrading realities, but instead describing things that any other person might want to cover up or gloss over with rose-tinted hues.

I could barely put the book the down. She is a hero. And I ended up having great admiration for her despite the fact that much of what she does and her ethics would normally leave me feeling nothing but disdain. She explains who she is and how she got there. I wish I could say as much for Ernest Hemmingway and his shoddy little stories. He always struck me as a liar and a charlatan personally, and his books and stories are hugely hyped and over=rated.
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on 1 January 2017
Quite an interesting read about former porn star 'Ashley Blue'.

She basically tells her story, and with one exception, lets the reader form their own judgement on the whole business of the adult entertainment industry.

So while she does not cheer lead the industry, she does not demonise it either - as the reader, I found some parts of her 'porn' life to be disturbing. but equally there were some laugh out loud moments as well.

Whatever your view, it provides an interesting (and relatively recent) incite into the porn industry, from the performers point of view.
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on 13 August 2011
I stumbled across the work of Oriana Small aka Ashley Blue while working in Brazil when I was left a large colection of pornography. I amongst this smorgasbord of smut was several of the Girlvert series. This was far from your usual porn fair....it had a bizarre plot and lead protagonist.....crazy situations...it was almost art...very low brow but it was the rarest thing...porn where you wanted to see the actual plot that sews together the sex scenes. Ashley Blue is a master of filthy prose, spouting venemous bile and darkly comic philosphy as she assists in the abuse of her victims. When I saw that she had published an autobiography i knew I had to read it, she definetly was an intelligent girl with a slightly warped world view. Her book was well written and insightful, explaining her porno career from her first scenes to present day, how someone would get involved in this industry and how it can cause people to un-ravel. She comes across as self assured but is not afraid to point out her own failings and when she had been weak minded and coerced into situations she was not fully comfortable with. All in all a great read and i hope she writes more.
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on 5 August 2015
Great read for a behind scenes/true life look into the Adult Film Star world/industry. Have always been a fan of "Ashley", glad to see she came out her way and not the stereotyped way of others, good for her! I wish her well in her future life, just wish I could meet her to really pick her brain. Very good read for fans of the Industry, mor stars should tell their tale.
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on 15 July 2014
Firstly, let me address a popular myth. It is a common assumption that because people work in porn, they must be stupid. One of the reviews here begins with "most porn stars find it hard to string a few words together, never mind write anything down". Perhaps this reviewer knows a number of them personally, and thus feels qualified to make such an absurd, generalist statement. I would suggest that he do a little more homework. A quick google search will tell you that among the porn community there are qualified accountants, musicians, people with degrees is all manner of subjects. These people work in porn for two reasons. They enjoy it. And they make a helluva lot of money.

Having dispelled this myth, I am keen to address the praise this book has received. There are a number of great quotes from reviews on the front and back of the book, and the reviews here support my feeling that a huge part of the phenomenon actually has more to do with the fact that everyone expected it to have been written by a total moron. (See previous paragraph of this review). Oriana Small is not a moron, but is she really that smart? Is this book really that well written? My two cents, it's competently written, at best. She has an interesting sense of humour and is engaging enough as a story teller, but it was clear to me within a few pages that she is not a writer.

The book is called a porno memoir. This is a total misnomer. A lot of the reviews for this book seem to revel in the idea that this is the only honest-to-goodness "real" account of life in the porn industry. It isn't. This is just one person's story. The reason someone decided it was worth releasing this book, is that it's a particularly extreme story (in places), by virtue of the fact that Ashley Blue made her name by being willing to do pretty much anything on camera. If you find that intriguing, just hang on a minute. The majority of the book is not about porn. The bulk is actually made up of stories about Oriana's totally dysfunctional relationships and disgracefully excessive use of drugs. Don't make the mistake though of thinking that this is some cautionary tale about the excesses and pitfalls of getting rich quickly. For the most part, the stories about partying and doing drugs are told in such a way that it's clear they are not exactly regretted. Sure, there's a token "but the drugs were bad" sentiment thrown in at the end, but the tone of the book throughout suggests that drugs are great, they're fun, they're hip.

There are pages and pages of whining about various deadbeat boyfriends, all of which signposts the attempt to make this book about something more, something deeper, like a woman's self-worth and the need for equality in a relationship. Sadly it's all so contrived - like I said, Oriana Small is not a writer - that the book comes off like a trashy airport romance.

And what about the porn? Well, like I have already said, the actual role that porn plays in this book is a relatively small one. Most of the stories are purely anecdotal or are simply there to illustrate what a scumbag her boyfriend was by making her do this, that and the other. It's probably worth letting the squeamish know what "this, that and the other" entailed. Ashley Blue's speciality was anything and everything extreme. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the kind of porn you get in a business hotel, 10 being animals, faeces, rape), we're probably talking about a strong 7 or 8. While a great deal of Ashley's, err, "work" was standard smut, the type for which she's famous and the type talks about in the memoir is a little more gruelling. Among other pleasantries, she subjects herself to being slapped around, choked out, urinated on/in and generally humiliated in every way. The Girlvert series, from which the book takes its name, effectively saw her delivering a similar level of abuse and degradation to other women. I guess its different strokes for different folks, but I found most of it about as erotic as my grandmother's socks. Moreover, it all feels a little too much like shock for shock's sake. The horror stories may actually have had more effect if we were given a few tamer stories about Ashley Blue's working life. Ultimately, despite the fairly modest number of genuine porn stories on offer, the shock value wears off pretty quickly.

There are a few token psychological ponderings, but most are pretty thin. We are told of Oriana's ongoing eating disorder, and maybe we begin to feel a tiny bit of empathy, right before she goes on to sexualise and celebrate her "illness". Her bulimia, she suggests, explains her obsession for shoving her fist down her throat (see front cover of the original release - Google it), not to mention her willingness to put just about anything else in her mouth. We are told that her mother was/is a drug addict. Isn't that terrible? Apparently not, as we're told this between two celebratory stories of Oriana's own indulgences with various substances. We're told that at one point she was spending $1000 a week on cocaine, but she tells us this in such a way that it feels as though she wants us to be impressed, rather than shocked or appalled.

So what does it all amount to for her? Not much really. There isn't much of an arc and it doesn't feel like any lessons are learned. In fact, in the end, Oriana defends her position in the most hilariously ludicrous way. Let me state here that I am a vehement defender of the right to make and to watch porn. I'm what you might call pro-porn. I think it serves its (very direct) purpose and a huge number of people clearly enjoy it, so what's to dislike? Sure, there are some (very) bad pockets in the industry, but I believe that the majority of people who work in porn do so freely and happily. Having said all of that, Oriana Small illustrates the true limit of her intelligence (and her estimation of her readers') quite perfectly in the last few pages of this book, trying to justify her extremities by calling them... wait for it... snigger... "performance art"!

You read that right. Performance art. According to Oriana Small, letting a man pee in your mouth is performance art. Letting a man choke you until you pass out is performance art. So, yeah, really smart girl. Again for the record, I am pro-porn, but I can't help but choke (pardon the pun) at the suggestion that anybody with basic cognitive faculties would refer to it as performance art, no matter how extreme it is.

So, if you're curious or tempted, read it for a giggle, but don't expect to be blown (pardon me again) away. The quote on the back of the book, comparing it to Ernest Hemingway, is ludicrous (I'm surprised Hemingway's estate hasn't sued). To be clear, this book is not a revelation in any way. Oriana Small is not an undiscovered talent. She's just not the intellectually subhuman bimbo everyone apparently expected her to be. Don't let that fool you into thinking this book is any more than it is. It is not a vicarious journey into the murky depths of a sordid world, nor is it an exploration of a dark heart which turned to the light. It is, quite simply, the story of a shallow and self-destructive little girl, told with very little reflective insight by a slightly less shallow and self-destructive young woman.
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