Tag Archives: drugs

Taming the Beast by Emily Maguire

This was a pretty freaky book. Like not *bump* what was that?? freaky, more like OMFG WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, EW-kind of freaky. TamingtheBeast-vert-right

Taming the Beast chronicles the insatiable sexual appetite of Sarah Clark, whom at 14–after having an illicit love affair with her 38 year old English teacher–goes on a mad sex spree that would make Don Juan and Casanova reach for the penicillin. It seems as though her first sexual awakening with Mr. Carr was indescribably intense. Unfortunately, after his wife discovers the affair and forces the family to leave the area, it is one she must seek to replicate with others. Many others.

This book was compulsively readable because you kept wondering what Sarah would do next. (Or maybe more appropriately who she would do next). Sure, she did have some traumatic things happen to her… but nothing I feel that completely excused her behavior. She had sex with her unfathomably loyal best friend Jamie–before and after he was married, all her friends’ lovers, random back alley pick-ups, and pretty much anyone and anything with a pulse and a penis. Instead of this illustrating Sarah’s extreme sexual potency, it really just made me feel sorry for her.

And honestly question how she avoided disease for that long.

In fact, the only person I truly felt sorry for was Jamie. He really stood by her through thick and thin and was obviously “the One” for her. Too bad she was too busy hate-screwing Mr. Carr when they met up again seven years down the line. That being said, I do NOT understand Jamie’s irresistible attraction to her. Yes, his wife was pretty dull and goody-two-shoes, but he also made the choice to have unprotected sex with her in college. She got pregnant, they got married. Same old story.

He pretty much brought the situation on himself.

But he was the only person Sarah could always rely on, and I feel like she totally took advantage of his feelings for her. Instead of letting Jamie’s kind heart and innate goodness buoy her up, she just sunk further into the tepid pools of anonymous sex. Gross.

I didn’t understand the characters’ behaviors or attractions, but it was addicting…

4 cigarette butts of 5

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The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborelli

One of pop cultures greatest icons, even more than fifty years after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains relevant in today’s media. Almost anywhere you look you’ll see t-shirts, posters, artwork, and quotes made famous by the devastatingly beautiful lady in white. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe is a biography that pulls from many never before utilized sources including letters to and from her mother and half-sister, the Kennedys, and the lone friends and aquaintences still living.

Each of the many chapters details a small segment of her life, dividing things like her tumultous childhood and later, her dramatic romances, into tiny managable bites.

I’d always known that the starlet was troubled from start to finish, but I never realized the magnitude of what she went through. Not only were drugs SO free-flowing back then, but her childhood would’ve been enough to screw anyone up for life. It seems as though because of her upbringing and later stardom, the people she turned to for help or love ended up being the ones that betrayed her the most.

Not that she was just some sort of helpless victim, mind you. She could be calculating and sometimes ruthless, with the bounds of another’s marriage not meaning much to her. Suffice it to say, she pissed off plenty of wives back in the day.

But despite all that, you can’t help but feel sorry for her because in the end she was just looking for the same thing the rest of us are–love and peace. Unfortunately, almost all of her relationships were misguided and because of health concerns she was never able to have children. Add in the hereditary mental illness and you’ve got a recipe for distaster.

A glamourous disaster, but a disaster nonetheless.

TSLOMM was an interesting read, but like many biographies, it had tendency to get stale around the edges. Monroe’s life, while scandelous at the time, is actually pretty PG-13 compared to the antics of today’s celebrities. I learned a lot, for sure, but I felt it was missing that Oh no, she didn’t! factor I was expecting.

But, really… Poor Norma Jean…

3 blonde curls of 5

(You can watch her infamous serenade to JFK on his birthday here…)


How to Make Love Like a Porn Star by Jenna Jameson

I will say, that when I worked at a book store, Jenna Jameson’s How to Make Love Like a Porn Star was certainly one of the most eye-catching titles on the shelf. (A tribute well spoken for by the oft dog-eared pages and bent spines found on every copy in any bookstore. Is it all about the boobs, people?) 

I won’t lie, the title is what caught my attention. Putting the words “make love” and “porn star” in the same sentence is very amusing. But, sure, I’m game to see what Jenna has to say.

HTMLLAPS is Jameson’s autobiographical (with the help of Neil Strauss) tale of her rather rough upbringing and multiple molestations. *cough* Surprise, surprise… She chronicles her various sorted relationships, both hetero- and homosexual with pretty much every crappy person you can imagine. Also, she details her rise to fame and fortune within the porn industry as one of the most touted members of their community. (She started stripping when she was 17 and evolved in the business from there).

Astonishingly, this book didn’t have as much shock factor as I’d initially anticipated.  I don’t know whether that means it was tame by porn star comparisons, or that I’m hopelessly jaded–but either way it was an interesting sneak peak into what life on the “dark side” is like. (Not only was Jameson stripping and doing porn–she was also addicted to meth, pain pills, and alcohol through various stages of her life). I was expecting some terrible cringe-fest that left me running to get an HIV test and take a hot shower. Not the case. There was a lot of sex talk, obviously, but most of it was described in a very professional manner and didn’t seem at all that provocative. In fact, I believe Jenna did a great job taking the mystery/glamour away from the porn industry, shining light on the fact that it isn’t just “easy” money–it’s actually pretty fucking sleazy money.

Of course, this book was published in 2004 and much has changed in Jameson’s life in the last 8 years, both professional, personally, and romantically. I would give this a go if you want a little cheap poolside reading material. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of reading it at work–it’s full of topless photos.

But, as much as I admire Jenna’s tenacity for picking herself up, dusting herself off, and starting over… You won’t catch me bringing my dad as my date to the AVN awards anytime soon…

3 saline implants of 5

If you’re interested in this book, you can buy it here.


Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

How is traditional beauty defined? Is it tall, blonde, and big-breasted (ahem) or is it something else? What if the more malformed, grotesque, and disfigured you were, the more your family valued you? In Geek Love by Katherine Dunn the tables have been absolutely dumped on top of society’s preconceived notions of beauty. Al Binewski–ring-leader of a failing traveling carnival–decides to feed his wife Lil an ever-increasing and odd cocktail of drugs and chemicals, in the hopes that each of their children will be freaks in some way. The better the freaks they bore, the more money the show would make. And guess what?

Geek Love

It worked.

“Crystal” Lil gives birth to Arturo the fish boy (with flippers instead of limbs), Electra and Iphigenia the piano-playing Siamese twins, Olympia the bald hunchbacked dwarf, and Chick–a disappointingly normal-looking child with strange psychic abilties. (Not to mention a baker’s dozen of freakish miscarriages displayed in glass jars…) The carnival thrives under the influence of these adolescent oddities. At least until Arturo’s quest for fame and fortune takes an abrupt, cult-like, and sinister turn.

The narrator of the story is Olympia, and she chronicles her family’s triumphs and tragedies with the detached air of a casual acquaintance. Except for Arty. She adores him and do anything he asked of her. But when Olympia’s extreme love for her brother takes a perverse (and unexpected) turn–there are consequences the likes of which not even carnival freaks could have predicted.

Geek Love was a strange book. At times I wanted to hug Olympia for what she’d been through, and other times I wanted to smack her for her unwarranted adulation of Arty. I HATED HIM. What a slippery, flippery little asshole. Seriously. He ruined so many people’s lives throughout that book it was ridiculous. And his following was out of this world. People loved him. They believed him. The little snake…

I really enjoyed reading about such an unusual cast of characters. In most books, there’s a handsome guy and a beautiful girl and they inevitably fall in love and go on all sorts of amazing adventures. Not so within this story. Al Binewski almost abandoned his youngest son Chick at a grocery store because he looked TOO normal. He was a huge disappointment until his powers were revealed. I love this stuff. (I’m sick, I know. I watch shows all about the Half-Ton Man and the 100lb Tumor on TLC. It’s my guilty pleasure, so sue me!) I liked the extraordinary element that Dunn breathed to life.

That being said, I wish Olympia had been a bit more emotionally involved with the whole plot. Some pretty heinous things were happening all around her, yet I never felt like she was as “with it” as she should have been. Maybe it’s just because my point of reference isn’t the same–having decidedly NOT been born into a traveling show of circus freaks–although since my parents don’t read this–close enough… I also wish the story wasn’t told in flashback form, because Olympia’s time with the show was much more entertaining than her present day life. Dunn could have skipped the part about Mary Lick completely and the book wouldn’t have suffered for it.

I would recommend this book to anyone with a curiosity to the strange, reverence to the weird, and an admiration of oddities.

Step right up.

It really gave me something to think about…

What if the ugliest among us were the most revered?

3 carnival abortions of 5


Three Posts for the Price of One! Happy New Year!

That’s right, kiddos, I’m going to do something a bit out of the ordinary and talk about three books today. I’ve been super busy graduating (read: dream come true) combined with working retail during the holidays (translation: nightmare). Plus, I just got back from a spectacular road trip to Baltimore with a pit stop in Savannah (love it, go there). Needless to say I’m doing a bit of catch up.

 

 

So here it goes…

I finished Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk a while back, and as if we didn’t already know it: what a crazy bastard! It talks about an aging porn star who intends to go out with a bang (literally) by attempting the largest gang bang in history. 600 guys in one go. Ew. The cast of men include a balding washed-up tv actor, an old porn co-star, and a boy who claims to be her long lost son. Weird.

This book was recommended to me by my co-workers, who are all as messed up as I am and love this horrible stuff. I loved Fight Club so I was interested in trying some of his other work. When I found out the topic, I was grotesquely interested but I almost felt like I didn’t want people to catch me reading it. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The whole story seemed to be much ado about nothing, and the ending was strange/unexpected/gross/crest-fallen. It was confusing to keep the men straight at first, since they were all referred to by number and not name. I also hated how Sheila kept referring to them as pud-pullers, tally whackers, and all other manner of weird slang terms. I feel let down by this work…

The second book is Modelland by Tyra Banks. I will sum this up quickly. DON’T EVER, I REPEAT, EVER READ THIS. It sucked so royally it wasn’t even funny. Wow. I mean…. Just wow. Tyra Banks cannot write, even a little. It was really, really sad actually. I used to watch her show when I was a teenager and I think she’s a beautiful woman, but dang… Epic fail. I cannot even begin to describe how ridiculous the whole story was, so I’ll just tell you to avoid it and hope you take my word for it. It was so atrocious it took me a month to read it. Avoid at all costs.

And last but not least was Beautiful by Amy Reed. Her story told the tale of middle-schooler Cassie, whom upon becoming newly beautiful and moving to a new school, quickly spirals into a world full of sex, drugs, and suicide. Typical teenage angst, but it did have a gritty flavor that I appreciated. I feel like many of Cassie’s friend’s personalities fell flat though. I never really cared about Sarah or felt afraid of Alex and an author’s main job is to make you sympathize with the character and immerse yourself in his/her world. Also, the whole drug thing was really glamorized because I don’t know any middle school girl first experimenting with drugs who could pound coke and pot and alcohol down like she could. Kinda unrealistic, but it was a quick read and I did enjoy it. It’s a bath tub book for sure.

Bottom line:

Snuff: 3 of 5 stars

Modelland: 1 of 5 stars

Beautiful: 3 of 5 stars

Nothing too impressive out the bunch. Keep calm, and read on.