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Insatiable: The Rise of a Porn Star by Heather Hunter and Michelle Valentine

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My last direct encounter with porn actresses was at a cable television conference. While long lines of men scuttled up to the promotional booths and mopped their brows waiting for a signed photo, I lounged outside and smoked with four of the better known actresses on a break. It grew into casual, friendly, and animated chat, giving me not only a humanizing perspective, but also what I like to consider insight into the industry and its inhabitants.

I mention the above because it’s a natural segue into a review of Insatiable, The Rise of a Porn Star, the long-awaited novel by one-time porn actress Heather Hunter. The book was written with the assistance of Michelle Valentine, a cum laude graduate of Marymount College, and is published by St, Martin’s Press.

Before you slip into that comfortable reaction of “Why should I read another thinly-veiled autobiography of some porn chick?” I’d like you to consider that your erotic education and entertainment is only viable if it continues to develop and grow. I interact with the erotica industry every day, from the fledgling newbies to its hoary (no, that’s not a typo or misspelling, and I do know what the word means) elder veterans. The less creative ones are those who think they’ve got the sexual, sensual behavior of people all figured out and that, as the saying goes, ‘ain’t nothing new under the sun.’ These are often the same people who get burned out, turn jaded, and before too long decide ‘sex is kinda boring.’ Well, each to their own, I suppose, you know?

“He grabbed a hold of her golden blonde locks and wrapped the strands around his hands to push her back and forth. After about two minutes, he popped his dick out of her mouth and slapped it across her face. Tami then turned around and positioned her butt over his dick. Wellington’s business partner began licking his lips and squeezing Tami’s ass, smacking her butt cheeks with his dick in his hands. When he was ready, the man wet his finger in her pussy juice before pulling her down upon his throbbing cock. he thrust up in her pussy, gyrating around a few times before commenting to my boss.

‘You’re right, man. This pussy is incredible!'”

With any new book, fiction or novel, readers can easily fall into the intellectual trap of ‘I’ve read all this before.’ And it is a trap. The more honest approach is to realize that unless you’re a veteran porn star yourself, you haven’t lived all this content before. While it may seem simplistic or naive to compare Insatiable to the great sprawling, incisive character and society panoramas of Dickens or Balzac, it isn’t really. You may think you know the hip-hop, the porn flick, the ‘woman of color’ microcosm, but do you really? Do you know the rich tableau of social climbing among the bling and bang set? Do you know the subtle spider webs of temptation, the tawdry easy pull of drugs and money, the struggle (as powerful and moving as that of, say, a Nicholas Nickleby or Madame Bovary) away from and upward from lowly porn actress to ‘entertainment figure’? My guess is that you don’t. And this is your opportunity.

Of course, there’s both exquisitely exciting sex scenes…

“I am not focused on the people who are watching the decadent scene, of which I am a part, unfold. Instead I am focused on my job and the massive chocolate dick I have sliding smoothly across my eager tongue, taking in every single inch of its splendor as my mocha-complexioned stud moans in ecstasy…”

….as well as the more nonchalant ‘it’s just a job’ ones…

“…we had barely got inside before he started touching on me, rubbing my boobs and shit. Then we followed him to the back of the restaurant into the manager’s office and he took off his apron and whipped the monster out. We put ketchup on his dick and mustard on his balls — my girl squirted and I sucked. We had the wildest threesome.”

….that make up much of the content of any tale of the ‘ball-y-wood world.’ For erotica readers that’s part and parcel of the appeal. Like the sexual behavior of non-porn people, what separates the relationships is as important as what makes them seem similar. While the cliché is to presume that it’s all a mad, yawn-inducing whirl of fucking and sucking and moving on to the next scene, it ain’t necessarily so. Bonds are forged between partners, personal exchanges of feelings happen, betrayals play out, tragedies occur, people rise from their own ash piles and take the next step onward. If that sounds worthy of a Shakespeare or Steinbeck, it’s because it is. Reviewers deal in analogies. If you were moved by the film Seabiscuit, you will find much to be moved by in Insatiable. Both are the stories of people written off as ‘losers’ who nevertheless and despite all obstacles climbed the ladder of self-worth by discovering other people who believed in them. And as readers we must believe in Heather Hunter’s ‘porn star’ persona because if we don’t, we’re not simply locking the door on her sensual and sexual stimulation, we’re also locking the door on a new vista of our own.

Insatiable: The Rise of a Porn Star
(St. Martin’s Press; July 24, 2007; ISBN-10: 0312368844)
Available at: Amazon.com / Amazon UK


© 2007 by William S. Dean. All rights reserved.

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