Have finished reading Girlvert, Oriana Small’s memoir of her life in porn, where under the name Ashley Blue she performed in hundreds of XXX films, starting in 2002 at the age of 21. Most of Small’s appearances were in extreme ‘gonzo’ and POV titles like Gutter Mouths, Gag Factor, and the popular series of Girlvert films, from which the book derives its name.
I have to admit this type of porn does nothing for me, apart from having a certain carnival freak show fascination to them. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fascinating and engrossing to read about, and that’s certainly what Small accomplishes with this book. It’s no great literary work, but it’s a engrossing page-turner that’s as compulsive as it is repulsive. Small writes with a matter-of-fact honesty and even a degree of naive innocence which really pulls you into her world of bad relationships, dysfunctional family, drug abuse, STDs, all-night partying and one-day porno film shoots in every location from backwoods trailers (for White Trash Whore ), to a tiny room at the Jolly Roger Motel, to cavernous Hollywood mansions (which are invariably described as dirty, smelly, characterless and usually empty, save for a bed).
Small also doesn’t shy away from discussing and describing the many extreme things which she has done with, and to, her body in front of the cameras. Some of her descriptions of the sights, sounds, tastes and smells she has had to endure while performing on film will make you gag, and a lot of the men she works and hangs-out with seem pretty vile (of course, this is only Small’s side of the story). Yet despite this, Small remains open and appreciative of the career that garnered her a lot of attention and success within the industry for a few years (like most girls in porn, Oriana Small had to face the reality of being considered old and used-up by the age of 26).
Certainly not for everyone, Girlvert takes you on a tour through a strange netherworld that seems to exist totally within itself, and brings you out the other side exhausted, horrified, illuminated, and in need of a cold drink and a nice hot bath.