Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Review of Oriana Small's "Girlvert"

"I cannot have any sex to this day until my hand goes in my throat. Pull out some of my soul's thirteen-year-old innocence and curiosity. That's what I'm reaching for. I can erase everything I know with my hand down my throat. Fresh tears, cleansing the mouth with watery saliva, recreating innocence - returning to an innocent state. I think it does work. I still go there."

-Oriana Small

I remember learning something my first year of film school. It wasn't exactly in the curriculum, but I would argue it should be.

"You have no business writing a story unless you have something interesting to say."

Okay. So maybe it shouldn't be officially added. Because most kids who work their ass off in school don't want to hear that they're wasting their time. Or that the girl who got fucked in the ass so that she could attend Coachella and do as many drugs as possible just accomplished their goal of public artistic acceptance because.... Well, she had something interesting to say.

That girl is Oriana Small (aka porn star, Ashley Blue). And her accomplishment is a book, titled, Girlvert: A Porno Memoir.

To be fair, it would be hard for anyone who's lived a life so far removed from the boundaries of normalcy to "fuck up" their memoir. But after reading several other tales of personal porno history, it's this one that feels most sincere. Because there's nothing in the way, no ulterior motive. Small has reached no higher ground from which to give you, the reader, any advice. Her life is just more stable now, and that's why she can write a book.

I admit, after the first few chapters, I suspected some sort of trickery. The cards were set up for a moral tale.

Because - in a way - Small first portrays herself as a stereotype: naive, a product of a broken home, a ripening drug addict, etc... She is the girl we all expect to do porn. Except that's where the public consciousness ends and Girlvert really begins. Small HAS to tell us what happens when that girl grows up - when she becomes a woman.

The details include a lot of hardcore education, pain, coke, and cock. However, the drugs and sexual circus acts are not what make Small an empathetic character. The proof of her humanity comes from her description of some of the most tumultuous relationships I've ever seen in print.

Yet, the real-life protagonist has matured past the point of condemnation. She looks to the people who've cause her most harm and leaves us with the good in them, or the good they've given her. Like when Small guides us through a chapter of a heart-wrecking reunion with her mother-and-creeper-boyfriend, but then concludes, "Her FUCK YOU, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO attitude built me to be bold enough to start doing porn, and I thank her for that."

That's kind of Small's attitude with everything. She knows many of her decisions/experiences weren't exactly positive (in the most narrow sense of the word), but they are what shaped her. They make her who she is today.

Based upon my real-life experiences with Small, the overwhelming support at her Los Angeles book reading, and the online reactions to her memoir, I'd say she's a woman worth knowing, an artist worth supporting, and a person capable of touching people's lives. She's also a dirty Girlvert, which makes her - yes - much more interesting.



  1. Great review. I'm sold.

  2. She's pretty disgusting and the "Girlvert" porn she directed is full of misogyny (as is most of the mainstream industry). It says something pretty fucking horrid if humanity can get aroused watching horrendous portrayals of racism, sexist, brutality, degradation, and violence, which seems to be more and more common. Empathy is out the window in favor of extreme porn.

    She can call this performance art. I call it filth. All it shows is how low supposedly "civilized" (yeah right) beings truly are and how this "love everyone" crap is an illusion- nothing worth respecting about it.

    Interesting read though, but repulsive, as were the descriptions of some of the porn dudes.