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Girlvert: A Porno Memoir

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Proclaimed "girl-pervert" Oriana Small, AKA Ashley Blue, a veritable artist at heart, weaves through the intricacies of a decade in and out of the adult film industry, love, drugs, and her own firebrand of what it means to live ecstatically. From accolades to agony, GIRLVERT illuminates the surreality of a life lived beyond all comprehension. "If Hemingway had been a porn s Proclaimed "girl-pervert" Oriana Small, AKA Ashley Blue, a veritable artist at heart, weaves through the intricacies of a decade in and out of the adult film industry, love, drugs, and her own firebrand of what it means to live ecstatically. From accolades to agony, GIRLVERT illuminates the surreality of a life lived beyond all comprehension. "If Hemingway had been a porn star, this is how he would have written." -- The Nervous Breakdown "Oriana Small has pushed herself to the outermost extremes of what the body and mind are capable of--all before turning thirty years old--and now she's made it an authentic read for the rest of us to marvel at, elevating the depravity and denial inherent in the pornographic arts to a singular literary experience." -- James Frey


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Proclaimed "girl-pervert" Oriana Small, AKA Ashley Blue, a veritable artist at heart, weaves through the intricacies of a decade in and out of the adult film industry, love, drugs, and her own firebrand of what it means to live ecstatically. From accolades to agony, GIRLVERT illuminates the surreality of a life lived beyond all comprehension. "If Hemingway had been a porn s Proclaimed "girl-pervert" Oriana Small, AKA Ashley Blue, a veritable artist at heart, weaves through the intricacies of a decade in and out of the adult film industry, love, drugs, and her own firebrand of what it means to live ecstatically. From accolades to agony, GIRLVERT illuminates the surreality of a life lived beyond all comprehension. "If Hemingway had been a porn star, this is how he would have written." -- The Nervous Breakdown "Oriana Small has pushed herself to the outermost extremes of what the body and mind are capable of--all before turning thirty years old--and now she's made it an authentic read for the rest of us to marvel at, elevating the depravity and denial inherent in the pornographic arts to a singular literary experience." -- James Frey

30 review for Girlvert: A Porno Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    David

    Let's talk about pornography. It's come a long away, baby. (And—oops—gotten some in your hair.) One thing's for sure: it's certainly graduated from its niche status as the pastime of oily, pervy Buddy Hackett types to become a load-bearing column in the temple of our zeitgeist. I mean, who hasn't seen pornography these days? Are there any holdouts who have evaded that midnight urge to explore the perversities the internet has to offer? Even your grandmother has watched an interracial bukkake or Let's talk about pornography. It's come a long away, baby. (And—oops—gotten some in your hair.) One thing's for sure: it's certainly graduated from its niche status as the pastime of oily, pervy Buddy Hackett types to become a load-bearing column in the temple of our zeitgeist. I mean, who hasn't seen pornography these days? Are there any holdouts who have evaded that midnight urge to explore the perversities the internet has to offer? Even your grandmother has watched an interracial bukkake or two. Just picture it. Her eyes wide, her mouth agape—she sets her needlepoint down. Oh, my gracious! She mentally compares that bald, muscular Shaka Zulu's penis to her dearly departed Earl's. She didn't realize how deprived she'd been of big black cock all these many years. Sure, the war years instilled a sense of noble sacrifice in the 'Greatest Generation,' but DPs are free. And—at the risk of sounding grandiose—an inalienable right. Pornography, in other words, has saturated our culture. Every far-off corner, heretofore unvisited by the temptations of motion picture sex, has been glazed with gelatinous, day-old, yellowing spunk. Thank you, internet. Your two greatest accomplishments thus far are online shopping and porn. No longer must the aspiring masturbator slink into a brightly lit video store in Groucho Marx glasses and a trench coat and sneak into its depressing, windowless back room, to choose from an assortment of VHS box covers advertising breasts and splayed vaginas. All of those tits and twats accosting you from every side begin to resemble faces—sneering at you, heckling you. Then the worst part: after you've spent two and a half hours selecting the 'perfect' porn video to rent, you must face the video store clerk for checkout. Even if you surveyed the employees before venturing into the back room and determined them all (thankfully) to resemble Randy Spears, you will proceed to the front inevitably to encounter a clerk who's the spitting image of your mom, right down to embroidered holiday sweatshirt. She will squint at the title you are checking out. But no, she can't make it out, so she puts on her glasses that are on a chain around her neck. Oh! She quickly looks away. She thought for a moment it was Patch Adams and was preparing to endorse your selection wholeheartedly. But no. This is Snatch Adams. The judgment begins. She can't quite look at you anymore except in a sidelong kind of way. She involuntarily steps backward to free herself from your immediate surroundings. She wouldn't literalize the thought into words, but she has a vague, irrational fear that herpes will leap from your body onto her face and suction themselves there. And what's that? She even thinks she smells your gamey ball sweat now, so she cringes and squirms—despite her attempts to remain committed to the customer service values that the Video Hut has instilled in her through training videos and mock check-outs. And wouldn't you know it? She can't find the video that goes with your (ahem) box. She has to call the manager who—how can this be?—looks more like Barbara Billingsley than Barbara Billingsley ever did. After a determined, lengthy search, which has kept a line full of nuns and children waiting to check out their Veggie Tales videos, the two women finally locate your desired video, only to send you off into the night with an 'Enjoy your evening' that is thick with irony... But times have indeed changed. I wouldn't go so far as to say pornography (in its more vanilla varieties) is mainstream, but it's the dirty secret we all share, with a conspiratorial wink. Naturally, this is the perfect time for a porn memoir like Girlvert by Oriana Small (porn name: Ashley Blue), which doesn't sugarcoat the workaday life of hardcore porn stars and yet somehow, at the same time, manages to create an endearing, sympathetic portrait of the protagonist. A qualification is in order. Although I believe pornography has become much more acceptable as a fact of life, I still believe porn stars themselves are largely regarded as disposable, dubious characters who merely fulfill a (necessary?) role. They might be entertaining (in a train wreck sort of way), but most people are quite content to relegate them to a much lower order of humanity. Yes, this attitude is hypocritical, but I think it's still the norm. We may watch porn with manic hand-jacking relish, but do we want to live next door to a porn star? Maybe not. Ashley Blue makes no apologies for her career in porn. As she chronicles the gang bangs, the cream pies, the double anal, and the filmed choking, she may express more or less comfort with a particular position or scenario, but any reservations are not generally based upon moral consideration, but rather practicality or personal taste. This isn't one of those books where we follow the wide-eyed porn ingenue from her first on-camera blowjob to her pained realization that her career in porn was a mistake. But don't get me wrong; there's a lot of clearheaded insight here from Ashley Blue. She does in fact mature and arrive at very honest and very real conclusions about her life thus far. She doesn't regret porn, but she does come to regret when she allowed herself to bullied by the ego and self-interest of men (both in relationships and in the business). She also reflects on the negative role drugs have played in her life—countless lines of coke, in addition to Ecstasy, speed, homemade crack, et al—and realizes they've used her more than she's used them. In short, Ashley Blue's insights are all of a piece, relating as they do to a consecrated ambition to be in control of her life: she fucks when and how she wants to; she doesn't let herself be dominated by guilt or oppressed by crazy boyfriends; and she makes a fateful decision about drugs, but less in a pious, evangelic way than in an emphatically pragmatic quest to be in control. I'm not going to lie. Despite the ubiquity of porn these days, this book contains graphic descriptions of sexual acts that many readers will be uncomfortable with. And in some cases they won't be uncomfortable with them because they're genuinely uncomfortable with them; they'll be uncomfortable because they sense that they should be. (Thus, the hypocrisy of the Porn Era rears its ugly head again.) Words are just words. Acts are just acts. It's the meaning and intent we ascribe to them that gives them real value. I'm not saying that I am completely comfortable with the greater implications of gonzo porn (or any porn, for that matter)—because I'm not—and frankly I don't need to be. But Ashley Blue's Girlvert is a fascinating account of the industry from the perspective of a smart, immensely likable woman who frequently makes us realize that it's not quite as black-and-white as the interracial double penetration scene would lead us to believe... Postscript: I am posting this review on Independence Day. Among the many freedoms we enjoy in this nation, let's celebrate the freedom to film two men sticking their elephantine phalluses in a woman's anus at the same time while another man ejaculates on her face and a fourth man washes off the ejaculate with his urine. This sort of thing may be offensive to you—in countless ways—but remember that freedom of speech and expression is valid only to the extent that we endorse it for people we passionately disagree with.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex Flynn

    This is a difficult book to review because while I didn't like it I did learn a lot from it about the industry. Sadly the book itself was a failure in many ways. Starting off with the writing, while the author is not without some talent in setting some scene and describing some pretty gross situations, the fundamentals seem shaky. Often this comes across as a blog describing a series of events and all the drugs that went into making them happen. Too often she tries to show everything, and the pa This is a difficult book to review because while I didn't like it I did learn a lot from it about the industry. Sadly the book itself was a failure in many ways. Starting off with the writing, while the author is not without some talent in setting some scene and describing some pretty gross situations, the fundamentals seem shaky. Often this comes across as a blog describing a series of events and all the drugs that went into making them happen. Too often she tries to show everything, and the parade of physical and psychological abuse is never interspersed with appropriate context. At the heart of the problem is that the story does not develop, the characters do not grow, the experience stop giving insight into anything. It's a memoir without the necessary reflection to tie the pieces of life into a coherent whole. And therein lies the greater problem. I think the narrator does not have enough self reflection to make this story worth more than the sum of its parts. It occasionally dips into the past, psychological reasoning, ethical dilemmas, or philosophical quandaries about pornography, however, too often these come as asides or rhetorical questions asked in the dark. Oriana has a lot of trauma to deal with as well as a lot of joy, but all I got out of it was an endless stream of drugs and disappointment. Additionally, the character portrays herself very passively throughout, asserting most of the decisions were made by men in her life. While this may be accurate, it takes a way both personal responsibility, but more so, an active protagonist. I have read a great deal on torture, and even people who spend years of their life dominated by others finds ways to perceive themselves as actors in their own lives. There's an incredible lack of empathy in this book and a vast amount of jealously which goes unaddressed. She often speak poorly of prostitutes and a few pages later proclaims pornography as an art form, but there is never reasoning or justification, just blank assertions. She also finds ways to criticize all other perverts (Real Sex Types or too old) which comes across as trying to act cool and assert dominance, when a truly open person would be able to examine others and write them intelligently, as oppose to group and dismiss them. I found some parts of the book troubling, not so much because they were disturbing but because they were ignored or celebrated. She mentions her eating disorder but she also spends several pages celebrating it. Also, her risky driving is mentioned (which bothers me as it is written as self-destructive even though it could easily have led to the death of many innocent lives), but she only discuss her car wrecks in passing. What is most troubling however, is the abrupt ending. She spends 300 pages basically learning nothing from her experiences, and saying as much, and then kicks drugs and alcohol and marries someone and starts a wonderful life. This needed more examination. Kicking drugs and alcohol is difficult. A person who does this should discuss the struggle, especially after pages and pages of repetitive scenes, as it would add diversity and some sense of overcoming an obstacle. Instead it is written in a way that makes it seem that the only reason it was possible was because she found another man. I think this does her a disservice by undermining her own strength, but it also makes it seem like she didn't actually change at all, and that she can only improve if the person she is co-dependent with wants her too. If that is the case, this is a very sad tale indeed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Audacia Ray

    A really intense, raw account of Orianna's adventures in porn that is as hardcore as it gets. There is a lot of human ugliness in this book, and its not all from porn, a lot of it involves romantic relationships. As someone who appreciates the grotesque, especially when it comes to sex and sadness, I really enjoyed this book. The ending, with her and Dave Naz's love story, is a bit rushed, but a solid perusal of her blog will fill in the details about what's happened since they met. One major thi A really intense, raw account of Orianna's adventures in porn that is as hardcore as it gets. There is a lot of human ugliness in this book, and its not all from porn, a lot of it involves romantic relationships. As someone who appreciates the grotesque, especially when it comes to sex and sadness, I really enjoyed this book. The ending, with her and Dave Naz's love story, is a bit rushed, but a solid perusal of her blog will fill in the details about what's happened since they met. One major thing to dislike, though, was the constant hating on prostitutes and their assumed motivations for working in the sex industry. Disrespecting other sex workers for their decisions and line of work is not a good look.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julz

    Frightening what the human body is capable of. A sad look at the low self esteem of these 'stars' and the need to be completely off their heads on drugs to go through with what they do on camera. Fascinating read. Frightening what the human body is capable of. A sad look at the low self esteem of these 'stars' and the need to be completely off their heads on drugs to go through with what they do on camera. Fascinating read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tosh

    Oriana Small is a big talent as a writer. And one of great charm as well. And it is unusual (for me) to find great charm in the world of Porn. Nevertheless "Girlvert" is a journey into the heart of the valley (San Fernando Valley to be exact), the headquarters that is everything Porn. I used to work on Sherman Way in Reseda in the 80's and I would see many of the sex club workers, porn actors and actresses as well as all the other by-products of that field and era. "Boogie Nights" captures that t Oriana Small is a big talent as a writer. And one of great charm as well. And it is unusual (for me) to find great charm in the world of Porn. Nevertheless "Girlvert" is a journey into the heart of the valley (San Fernando Valley to be exact), the headquarters that is everything Porn. I used to work on Sherman Way in Reseda in the 80's and I would see many of the sex club workers, porn actors and actresses as well as all the other by-products of that field and era. "Boogie Nights" captures that time, place and period quite well, and "Girlvert" also gives me a birds-eye view of porn filming and living. Although the world in the book takes place in the 21st Century, it still seems very 80's like. Some things never change. Oriana Small is a porn actress who goes by the name of Ashley Blue, and appeared in hundreds of films. One becomes numb reading one sex act after another, but the tedious aspect of such a life is so well developed by Small's talent as a memoir writer. She is only 29 (at the time of writing this book) and yet wise way beyond her years. In her glory period as a porn actress, she was very much focused on the moment, and the book comments on the need to stay stoned or in some sort of high. What struck me interesting is that it can be any type of job where you have to perform - and the strain of keeping that lifestyle or drug use up just to make it to the next day or even moment is a fascinating process. Her lifestyle becomes bizarre in the sense that she couldn't fully see the big picture, but the details were being focused - but only for that moment or two. Therefore, due to the drinking/drug input and just having a great deal of cash around - the focus is only for the next 12 hours or so. Small specialize in doing all the hard-core porn performances and her approach to doing these scenes are interesting in that she is always rebelling something out of her past. Her family life was messed up and that is totally not out of the norm, but she had to do something to make a mark on this world. And at that time it was her talent to do porn. And porn is an interesting medium because there is something else being played out besides the erotica or the erotic impulse. The power shift between the partners being filmed or directed. A lot of it is just to produce a product to sell, but there is also an art to it as well. But one can watch these films as a weird fantasy land, where one acts out their sexual/violent impulses – or is it a world that is designed by the producers/actors/director – or how much imput does it come from its viewers/audience? There is a mechanical aspect of porn that leaves me numb, but then again, may be the numb part is an aesthetic of some sort. For her "Girvert" film series, she sees herself as more as a performance artist. Small has no regrets for the life she had lived (and still does in a sense by working with her talented porn director/photographer Dave Naz) because she sees it as an unique life experience. This is not a book of woe, but more of a personal journey into an unique and very specialized world. Porn, in general is boring, but when you have a character you care about or find interesting, or at times the way it's shot, it is something else above the average viewing of bodies mixing together. Also the design work on this book is top-notch. Its a beauty of a production, and Oriana Small fits in pefectly with the elegence of the design. As a writer, I think we will read her works for many years to come.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I wasn't sure how to rate this. It's always hard for me to rate memoirs because it feels weird to evaluate such a personal story. I admire and appreciate anyone who is willing to expose themselves by writing a book about their most personal experiences. The actual story being told in GIRLVERT is pretty brutal. I don't watch porn but for some reason I like to read porn memoirs. I erroneously thought that this book was a more feminist take on the porn industry. I was wrong as hell. The author spe I wasn't sure how to rate this. It's always hard for me to rate memoirs because it feels weird to evaluate such a personal story. I admire and appreciate anyone who is willing to expose themselves by writing a book about their most personal experiences. The actual story being told in GIRLVERT is pretty brutal. I don't watch porn but for some reason I like to read porn memoirs. I erroneously thought that this book was a more feminist take on the porn industry. I was wrong as hell. The author specializes in super hardcore pornography that sounds degrading and physically and emotionally painful. I struggled to understand how a woman could perpetuate the intensely negative view of women that her films exemplify. Small says it's acting out rape or violence against women as fantasy, as if that somehow justifies portraying characters who are abused so egregiously, but I know there have to be people who take that subject matter at face value. People who think all women like being handled roughly and demeaned in every way possible. It scares me. The author struck me as a very troubled person, and while she asserts progress at the end of the book, she attributes her positive changes to the influence of her husband. Throughout the book Small is tremendously impacted by her relationships with men. At the end, this remains the case, her husband just happens to be a better dude than the ones she was with previously. I say again, I am rather torn regarding rating this book. I loathe the attitudes about women and their sexuality that I believe Small's specific genre of pornography perpetuates, but I do respect her willingness to expose herself by writing a memoir. Small sounds pretty screwed up, and her films sound horrifying to me. I don't like thinking about the fact that these movies even exist. I wish they didn't. GIRLVERT was interesting but reading it was painful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Philip Hollenback

    I've read a number of these porn performer memoirs and they are a mixed bag. This one was quite well written (certainly better written than Insatiable: Porn - A Love Story, for example. However, it was really difficult to read because the author goes in to extreme detail about many, many degrading sexual acts. Now I need a shower. I've read a number of these porn performer memoirs and they are a mixed bag. This one was quite well written (certainly better written than Insatiable: Porn - A Love Story, for example. However, it was really difficult to read because the author goes in to extreme detail about many, many degrading sexual acts. Now I need a shower.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    Being human is an inherently ugly and attractive ordeal. Pornography is an inherently ugly and attractive occupation. So why is Oriana Small the only seasoned insider to have the ovaries to tell it like it is in the sugarcoated wasteland of wannabe-Hollywood glamour pap and/or tunnel-visioned remorse-sans-responsibility, after-school special-isms that so many other forays into pornographic memoir have produced? Because she's human and isn't afraid to admit it, she has needs and desires that are s Being human is an inherently ugly and attractive ordeal. Pornography is an inherently ugly and attractive occupation. So why is Oriana Small the only seasoned insider to have the ovaries to tell it like it is in the sugarcoated wasteland of wannabe-Hollywood glamour pap and/or tunnel-visioned remorse-sans-responsibility, after-school special-isms that so many other forays into pornographic memoir have produced? Because she's human and isn't afraid to admit it, she has needs and desires that are sometimes conflicting, she had a job like any other job at times, unlike any other for most of us, sometimes better, sometimes worse--she dared to dip her toe into something so taboo that 90% of the public opinion about it is hypocritical--she's a badass, a wonderful writer, a realist not solely for the sake of solipsism, but better yet using subjective insight to offer us objective hindsight out of the sauce of life--her own particular spoonful--so we unschooled and/or fearful and/or innocent, inquisitive minds on the sidelines and the harbors of solitude can have a most holistic taste--and perhaps someday offer her back our own little bound volume of guilt and joy. This is a very good book. Honest, raw, fun, shocking, sad, brutal, sweaty-bad in many moments, sweaty-good in others--a human story that transcends its subject matter simply because it is so monumentally bare in all of its aspirations, trappings, glory, and more. Listen to me: this is a fascinating human story. Come at it as such, even if you're a pervert. Cheers, Oriana!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Fascinating book. I've always been very liberal regarding porn, and people who want to work in the sex industry. Everybody has the right to choose what to do with their bodies. But the interesting thing here is throughout the authors recounting of her experiences in porno, she very much expresses that she was in charge, the power lay with her, she made all of the decisions. And yet as you read it, you realise how much this young woman has been raped and abused and forced into things. But because sh Fascinating book. I've always been very liberal regarding porn, and people who want to work in the sex industry. Everybody has the right to choose what to do with their bodies. But the interesting thing here is throughout the authors recounting of her experiences in porno, she very much expresses that she was in charge, the power lay with her, she made all of the decisions. And yet as you read it, you realise how much this young woman has been raped and abused and forced into things. But because she 'loved' the abusers forcing her to do things, it was 'okay', it seemed like it was 'her choice', and she was therefore fine with it. I mean the catalogue of abuse when she's first getting into porn, being egged on by her abusive controlling boyfriend (who she loved and would do anything for, including essentilaly being raped) is really hard to read. And it raised the question, is it still rape if she gets a handful of money thrown down next to her afterwards? To which, yes. Of course. But is it rape if the victim doesn't call it rape? And it really left me questioning the nature of free will in all of this. The author clearly thought she had free will and was acting under own agency (and not that of her abusive boyfriends, the abusive system, the copious drugs and drink) but do I think she had free will? I don't think I do. So whose world view wins out here? Was it abuse? Wasn't it abuse? I just don't know.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I've been putting off reviewing this book for months. It's that... overwhelming? Heart-breaking? Frantic? Devoid of a grand morality argument? I'm grateful that someone like Small, a minor starlet in the pornography industry, managed to write something straight-forward, detailed, and most importantly, realistic to others in her industry. Her book is refreshing in comparison to a powerhouse like Jenna Jameson's autobiography, or the sometimes eye-rolling inducing thinkpieces that the new porn sta I've been putting off reviewing this book for months. It's that... overwhelming? Heart-breaking? Frantic? Devoid of a grand morality argument? I'm grateful that someone like Small, a minor starlet in the pornography industry, managed to write something straight-forward, detailed, and most importantly, realistic to others in her industry. Her book is refreshing in comparison to a powerhouse like Jenna Jameson's autobiography, or the sometimes eye-rolling inducing thinkpieces that the new porn star du jour, Stoya, regularly puts out. While Jenna's was all flourish, the most grandiose highs, and depressing lows, Small managed a matter-of-fact memoir that seemed mostly for her benefit and anyone with an interest in it was welcomed for the ride. Plus, with chapter titles such as "Spring Chicken", "Tyler's Blue Pill and Ashley's Little Brown Predicament", "Judge Mathis", "A NIGHT WITH MAX HARDCORE", and my personal favorite, "Pissmop", you're going to get something out of this. Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes: "All the cocks came out of the pants. They circled around my face. The aerial view must have looked like some kind of prehistoric penis flower." To quote Oriana Small: "What kind of filthy sex-worker shit was this?"

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric Stone

    I was really surprised by this book. I picked it up because it is the first book from a new publishing company I'm interested in, run by a guy I've got a lot of respect for who used to book the author events at one of my favorite bookstores. But, I wasn't expecting much. I've read a couple of pornstar memoirs before and they were pretty much as expected - badly written, dumb, faux-sexy, self-serving, dishonest or sickeningly redemptive. This was none of those things. It was honest in a remarkable I was really surprised by this book. I picked it up because it is the first book from a new publishing company I'm interested in, run by a guy I've got a lot of respect for who used to book the author events at one of my favorite bookstores. But, I wasn't expecting much. I've read a couple of pornstar memoirs before and they were pretty much as expected - badly written, dumb, faux-sexy, self-serving, dishonest or sickeningly redemptive. This was none of those things. It was honest in a remarkable, straightforward, very frank way. I almost wrote "painfully honest" but that would be incorrect. There were moments that made me flinch, but the author seems so well-adjusted - at least now, finally - in her treatment of her life, so firmly settled into an understanding and acceptance of herself - that it was amazingly unpainful, quite the opposite. The level of detail that is matter of factly presented is unlike anything I've read before. Every single scene is complete with gory detail, emotional, personal-historic and even socio-sexual-political context. And it is very well written. There is a hard earned wisdom that shines through in this book. I really hope it isn't a one-off and that she moves on to subjects beyond memoir.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica T.

    This was a brutal memoir.... yet I loved it. Some of the subject matter may be difficult to get past... but she is honest with herself and the reader. She also got me thinking about sexual assault and physical assault in the porn industry... how if someone speaks out they are blacklisted and how would the victim even get justice in these circumstances?? Who would even believe them... The book is full of sex, stds, drugs, and codependency.. sometimes even poetry.

  13. 4 out of 5

    BRNTerri

    Man, was this dark and depressing. Just what I like. It was brutal at times. I've never read about someone as hardcore as her. She goes beyond the basic porn vaginal, anal, double penetration, comeshot-to-the-face. She's a product of drug addicted parents and she went on to become a binge eating bulimic at twelve and a drug abuser soon after. I can't understand how a person can do drugs and drink alcohol 24/7 and still live...and with no food in your system either. How can you function?! I feel b Man, was this dark and depressing. Just what I like. It was brutal at times. I've never read about someone as hardcore as her. She goes beyond the basic porn vaginal, anal, double penetration, comeshot-to-the-face. She's a product of drug addicted parents and she went on to become a binge eating bulimic at twelve and a drug abuser soon after. I can't understand how a person can do drugs and drink alcohol 24/7 and still live...and with no food in your system either. How can you function?! I feel bad for her childhood but have no sympathy for her once she entered the world of porn. But she never asked for any. She seems to enjoy what she does. It's unclear to me if she's completely off drugs. I never got the feeling that she ever wanted to be drug free. She doesn't seem to care about herself at all and several times said that she just wants people (porn actors/producers/friends) to 'love' her. She's never gotten any type of counseling (that I know of) for her eating disorder, drugs or her bad childhood, nor did she ever mention the word counseling. This quote from her and the word happiness from her book disturbs me- 'I have always had a high thresh for the gross, the vulgar, the sickening. For me it is a source of happiness and excitement.' Some things Oriana told us made me cringe and wince and just feel depressed. I feel like she blamed her boyfriend, fellow porn actor and fellow drug addict Trent for a lot of the porn she did. She was very easy to manilipulate. She doesn't seem to like women and always called them, herself included, sluts and whores. The part where she met her future husband, Dave Naz, was far too rushed as were the parts where she briefly mentioned working for Playboy TV. She never mentioned her coworkers there by name. I think she didn't want to give the females attention in her own book. This book is definitely a keeper for me but it's not for everyone, that's for sure. You can find photos and her filmography here. I own lots of porn but none with her in it. I went over my list and I do have two with Trent in them. You can also check out her blog. I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    I'm not usually a memoir kinda guy, but this one is an exception. Given both the cover art and the subject matter, my expectations weren't high, but Oriana Small (a/k/a Ashley Blue) sure exceeded them. Her honest, intelligent, humorous, and unapologetic account of her early adulthood was strangely fascinating. Train-wreckish, to be honest. She offers a peek into an industry and lifestyle that the mainstream publicly decries as aberrant and sick. But given the billions in revenue earned by the po I'm not usually a memoir kinda guy, but this one is an exception. Given both the cover art and the subject matter, my expectations weren't high, but Oriana Small (a/k/a Ashley Blue) sure exceeded them. Her honest, intelligent, humorous, and unapologetic account of her early adulthood was strangely fascinating. Train-wreckish, to be honest. She offers a peek into an industry and lifestyle that the mainstream publicly decries as aberrant and sick. But given the billions in revenue earned by the porn industry every year, its patrons obviously extend beyond those branded as "perverts" and "deviants." Unlike many of porn's public detractors, Ms. Small is candid, funny, and ultimately comfortable in her own skin. She's therefore far more worthy of respect than the moralists and anti-porn crusaders who spend so much time huffing and puffing about degeneracy, only to later skulk home to watch an Ashley Blue video on their computer at 2:00 a.m. while their wife sleeps upstairs. The book is a bit disjointed, reading more like a collection of chronological anecdotes than a seamless narrative. But overall, the writing and storytelling were solid and engaging (again, in a train-wreckish sort of way). This book is not recommended for: the prude, the sheltered, the child, or the right-wing hypocrite pummeling himself behind the closed bathroom door.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kim W

    This story is relentless, unapologetic, vulgar, and — at the surface — shameless. There are no pulled punches in Girlvert, and I'm glad for it. It wasn't an easy read in terms of content (if you are queasy about, well... anything at all, this is really not the book for you) but it was an undeniably fascinating and terrifying peek behind the scenes of the world of porn and an in-depth look at the human(and blatantly inhumane) side of it all. I admire the boldness of Small for just *saying* everyt This story is relentless, unapologetic, vulgar, and — at the surface — shameless. There are no pulled punches in Girlvert, and I'm glad for it. It wasn't an easy read in terms of content (if you are queasy about, well... anything at all, this is really not the book for you) but it was an undeniably fascinating and terrifying peek behind the scenes of the world of porn and an in-depth look at the human(and blatantly inhumane) side of it all. I admire the boldness of Small for just *saying* everything she does, and I enjoy the way she worked the overall tone of the book. I willingly admit that this memoir made me think more than I expected it to.

  16. 5 out of 5

    PMP

    I really didn't want to read this book. I was all kinds of superior and judgemental before I started. And then I started, and I was humbled and educated and amused and touched. There are some gold star sentences in here. I really didn't want to read this book. I was all kinds of superior and judgemental before I started. And then I started, and I was humbled and educated and amused and touched. There are some gold star sentences in here.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Clay

    Yikes. That was shocking. I‘m not quite sure what I expected when I ordered this book but I just find it interesting to read about people on the fringes of society, doing stuff that‘s not considered „normal“ or „good“. I‘m talking about the thieves, whores, prisoners, con artists or all kinds of people who have coke for dinner. Ashley Blue aka Orianna Small was a porn actress and as it happens used to have coke for dinner regularly as well. We learn about how she got into the industry and how sh Yikes. That was shocking. I‘m not quite sure what I expected when I ordered this book but I just find it interesting to read about people on the fringes of society, doing stuff that‘s not considered „normal“ or „good“. I‘m talking about the thieves, whores, prisoners, con artists or all kinds of people who have coke for dinner. Ashley Blue aka Orianna Small was a porn actress and as it happens used to have coke for dinner regularly as well. We learn about how she got into the industry and how she decided that she would do the most disgusting hardcore stuff right from the get go. The first couple of shooting scenes described were already so disgusting that I was reading with a grimace on my face. It seriously made me feel bad in my stomach. But the nastiness towards Ashley did not only take place on a physical level. Psychologically it was brutal as well. She describes for example how some idiot wants to interview her before their sex scene and tries to make her feel terrible about herself until she cries before they shoot their scene. Things like that made me absolutely furious. And it was not only the sickos she had to work with that were toxic. Her personal relationships were completely toxic as well. Her boyfriend emotionally manipulated her for years and her parents were junkies. But me describing these things makes it sound like the book is sad all around. This is not the case at all. The general tone is light hearted and even funny at times. This has two reasons: 1. Ashley Blue is a very strong woman. 2. She has a fascination with „the disgusting“. Her private sex life has already been quite weird and not for the squeamish. She makes her point clear that she does not regret her choice of going into hardcore porn either. While reading this book I was asking myself the question whether or not I was being guided by an unreliable narrator. Of course she had relationships with at least one absolute sicko and the people on some of these sets were terrible. But Ashley Blue does make it clear that she was high on drugs and booze for a long period of time and that she was not fair to everybody around her either. Naturally she made mistakes and couldn’t be flawless. The most interesting aspect is something that I observe quite often. It is entitlement among those that other people are entitled against. Ignorant people look down at porn actresses. This is wrong. But Ashley Blue, a hardcore porn actress herself, looks down and degrades prostitutes numerous times in this book. She views them as barely human at all. I thought that‘s quite weird since she should know best how bad it is to be confronted by prejudices and contempt. Finally I would like to say that her writing was good. I finished this book in two days with no bumps or problems along the way. The story does get a bit repetitive with all the drugs, booze and nasty scenes but that‘s simply how her life was during those years. I was shocked and did not „enjoy“ reading Girlvert but I thought it was very interesting and I learned quite a lot.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    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), a 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..Who is protecting these employees?...Further questions remain about the blatant and legal abuse (and choking someone until unconscious or witnessing them crying in pain through a scene is quite unambiguous to me) being unquestioned legal entertainment in the USA....Highly recommended

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Sh.

    Not particularly good writing, no emotional connection or insight but worth a read if you're interested in the facts of the life of a hardcore porn actress. Oriana Small's (aka Ashley Blue) personal life already looked like a porn movie -- filled with multiple partners, double penetration, bukkake, and cream pies, she was the girl willing to do anything sexually and never say "stop, that's too much." She started doing porn on a lark, she needed money to go to a music festival. Oriana/Ashley talk Not particularly good writing, no emotional connection or insight but worth a read if you're interested in the facts of the life of a hardcore porn actress. Oriana Small's (aka Ashley Blue) personal life already looked like a porn movie -- filled with multiple partners, double penetration, bukkake, and cream pies, she was the girl willing to do anything sexually and never say "stop, that's too much." She started doing porn on a lark, she needed money to go to a music festival. Oriana/Ashley talks plainly about the sex, the drugs, betrayals and humiliation. More to the point, the sex and drugs are part of the armor, the humiliation and extremes part of her identity. The book's title refers to a series of porn movies of the same title, where she plays both perpetrator, forcing young girls to extreme sexual acts against their will, and victim. But you never feel as if any of it has touched her, even when she talks about the two loves of her life. If there was love or heartbreak in there, I missed it. My feeling is so did she, that she hasn't gotten far enough to be able to reflect on her motivations, hopes, dreams, fears. And for me, that's the thing I look for in memoir, the person behind the story. That said, it's an interesting albeit repetitive story, and not for the sexually squeamish. For the really curious, most of the scenes Oriana/Ashely recounts in Girlvert can be found on YouTube.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Braden A.

    "Girlvert" ended up being quite a satisfying read, despite Small's poor writing. A few of the chapters in the book would have benefited from less reliance on curses and a little stronger diction. I'm not talking about limiting the vulgarity - this is intrinsic to her personality and life, and works well throughout the entirety of the book. But her skills as a writer limit the possible emotional punch of a few of the chapters, such as her umpteenth attempted reunion with her druggie mother. Howeve "Girlvert" ended up being quite a satisfying read, despite Small's poor writing. A few of the chapters in the book would have benefited from less reliance on curses and a little stronger diction. I'm not talking about limiting the vulgarity - this is intrinsic to her personality and life, and works well throughout the entirety of the book. But her skills as a writer limit the possible emotional punch of a few of the chapters, such as her umpteenth attempted reunion with her druggie mother. However, the overall gut punch of the book is undeniable. This is a woman who has, in the darkest times of her life, been in one of the darkest and most frightening communities in the country and she managed to come out the other side a stronger, balanced person. In one chapter she recalls shooting a scene in which she was literally choked to death (lost consciousness and had to be resuscitated), all while her boyfriend just stood by and watched. In other chapters, she goes into brutally honest detail about the state of STD's and cleanliness in the porn industry, as well as how close she was to being a victim of the AIDS breakout in 2004. It certainly would have benefited from some assistance in the writing/editing, but the strength of the whole outweighs the literary shortcomings in "Girlvert". It's not going to be used as a literature text any time, but for an educational glimpse into the porn industry coupled with a potent "hitting rock bottom" autobiographical tale, I recommend it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I'm giving this book two stars because honestly the writing wasn't terrible. However, the stories were absolutely cringe-worthy. I've been trying to stay politically correct with this book, but it's almost impossible. It's shocking, it's crude, it's disgusting, and you start to wonder how anyone could demean themselves in such ways. Oriana Small is a decent writer, but man oh man the things that she's done for money would make someone at the Bunny Ranch gasp. I'm not sure why I kept reading unti I'm giving this book two stars because honestly the writing wasn't terrible. However, the stories were absolutely cringe-worthy. I've been trying to stay politically correct with this book, but it's almost impossible. It's shocking, it's crude, it's disgusting, and you start to wonder how anyone could demean themselves in such ways. Oriana Small is a decent writer, but man oh man the things that she's done for money would make someone at the Bunny Ranch gasp. I'm not sure why I kept reading until the end.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bert

    Whew! I haven't read something I couldn't put down and put down something every chance I got, where i couldn't read any more until this book... Not for the faint of heart, but for anyone whose heart has fainted, or been stilled, by sweetness or porno, by choking, or ass herpes... Ori just curiosity... A look into a world that exists, by extant, yet relies on illusion and, well, drugs. Amazing!! Whew! I haven't read something I couldn't put down and put down something every chance I got, where i couldn't read any more until this book... Not for the faint of heart, but for anyone whose heart has fainted, or been stilled, by sweetness or porno, by choking, or ass herpes... Ori just curiosity... A look into a world that exists, by extant, yet relies on illusion and, well, drugs. Amazing!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Not bad. There are emotions, but they are screened in a layer of cocaine, which is fair because it was a huge part of the author's existence. Ultimately just a narrative memoir, which is fine by me in this case. Satisfied my voyeuristic tendencies. Not bad. There are emotions, but they are screened in a layer of cocaine, which is fair because it was a huge part of the author's existence. Ultimately just a narrative memoir, which is fine by me in this case. Satisfied my voyeuristic tendencies.

  24. 5 out of 5

    C

    I read this yesterday in a single sitting. Its research for a new career should this teaching thing not work out. Inspiring me to be more self-assured. My best role models are all degenerates.

  25. 5 out of 5

    yengyeng

    omg! this book rocks and is educational! i'm envious of ashley blue because it's so difficult to find a job that you enjoy and are good at. omg! this book rocks and is educational! i'm envious of ashley blue because it's so difficult to find a job that you enjoy and are good at.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dave Naz

    This book is a raw, honest account of Oriana's ups and downs in porn. Not for the faint of heart or closed minded. This book is a raw, honest account of Oriana's ups and downs in porn. Not for the faint of heart or closed minded.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kaley

    Honest is the best word to describe this book. It made me uncomfortable at times, but I couldn't put it down. Honest is the best word to describe this book. It made me uncomfortable at times, but I couldn't put it down.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Not for everyone but a very talented honest writer. I wish everyone could be this honest.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gem Brain

    I couldn't put Gilvert down. What a life to live... all before 30! I couldn't put Gilvert down. What a life to live... all before 30!

  30. 4 out of 5

    R.

    An unexpected Christmas gift. A most unexpected Christmas gift. It came for Christmas, and I wasn't expecting it... An unexpected Christmas gift. A most unexpected Christmas gift. It came for Christmas, and I wasn't expecting it...

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