Book E: Fabookulous December 27, 2011
Book B: Fabookulous December 19, 2011
In Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn, former porn actress Shelley Lubben rips the seductive mask off of pornography and exposes the hardcore truth behind the “greatest illusion on earth”. Her spectacular journey from childhood to sexual abuse to prostitution to the deadly unglamorous realm of porn sets, Shelley is brutally honest about her past. But that’s not all. Having escaped the porn industry at 26, Shelley now shares her powerful story of redemption offering a message of hope to the entire world. The first ever book exposing the “secret” side of porn, Shelley wants you to know the hardcore truth. Pornography is modern day slavery for thousands of women and the millions of porn addicts who can’t stop clicking. But you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!
This book was an interesting and intriguing find for me. I discovered it when purchasing “Scars and Stilettos” by Harmony Dust on Amazon.com. Harmony is a friend of a friend and I’d heard about her powerful testimony as a redeemed stripper. When I ordered a copy of her book, Amazon suggested I purchase Shelley Lubben’s book with it. A redeemed porn actress? Intriguing. And talk about humbling.
So I ordered my package deal and waited for my delivery. Once these books arrived, I did not put Lubben’s book down until I finished it yesterday on my birthday. (Parties can wait–I was in the middle of a good book…)
A stripper, prostitute, and porn star, Lubben lived years of her life in a deep, dark hole struggling with alcoholism, drugs, unwanted pregnancies, abuse, neglect and a sense of desperation you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. In a nutshell? A classic porn star’s background. And I don’t mean that to be insensitive or cold. However, when women come from a past as broken as some of today’s porn stars and have this inner desire, inner NEED, to find validation from others (men or women) they can lose their sense of value and self and seek it anywhere they can. Shelley’s first “trick” paid her $35. And just like that, she began a destructive path of selling her body and trading her soul.
The star rating I gave this book is on the low side because to be perfectly honest, I’m still nauseous from the graphic detail of stories such as how she conceived her first daughter, her first filmed scene, and some of the rough abuse she and other porn actresses have suffered through. But similar to my thoughts on Precious (whether it’s true or not–that’s another story), maybe some stories can’t be told without the gritty detail. And I do mean grit. Like, eyes wide open, one eye closed maybe, holding the book away from you, wanting to take a shower and wash yourself from what you just read gritty. Like “women actually do this and suffer through this?” and “how does one get to this place–what must be going on in their mind?” Am I being too sensitive? I don’t think so…
The porn industry is a $70 BILLION DOLLARS a year industry. That is more than all professional sports combined. Is this for real?? This is our number one entertainment in today’s world? I don’t mean to get off on a soap box, but everytime you click on a porn site, buy a magazine, rent a video (gross–think of who else has “rented” them), you are contributing to the degradation of thousands of women stuck in a vicious cycle. What is hard to understand is how porn stars like Jenna Jameson can make no apologies for their career, show no signs of guilt, rather think they are quite the business women, and then there are others who are crying–literally crying. Crying in pain, crying in agony, crying for their souls, crying. Screaming. How do they deal with it? Drugs. Alcohol. Whatever numbs the pain to make it even a percent enjoyable so you can get through it and get your paycheck to cover your rent, or feed that unwanted baby, or, as sad as it may be, get that next high.
Shelley will take you through her dark experiences (and she’s got some dark ones– she contracted herpes, a non-curable disease that resulted in early cervical cancer where half of her cervix was removed), to the rejection of her parents, and her near deadly experience in a Mexican brothel.
But what is ASTOUNDING (and I mean ASTOUNDING–what word is better than that, I’m not sure), is how God proved faithful to Shelley even on set. Even in the dark alleys, even when prostituting herself. God was there. Whispering to her, protecting her from even WORSE consequences (and yes, there were some–wait until she recalls in hindsight toward the end of the book). God kept her near Him and proved the promise in the Bible when it tells us to raise a child in the way he/she is to go and when he/she is older they will not depart from it. Praise God that Shelley had childhood church experiences where she fell in love with Jesus early on! But hey, any Christian will tell you it’s easy to wander and stray as we get older, gain freedom, seek acceptance among our peers, etc. Some just take it a lot farther than others.
Shelley is herpes-free (can you attribute that to anything other than God?!), married and with 3 daughters. Her first-born (who was conceived during one of her nights prostituting) writes a chapter in the book as well about her pain from porn– including her mother’s boyfriends molesting her and attempts at suicide.
Devastating most of the time, readers cannot deny the power of God in Shelley’s life. And the biggest takeaway message for me? If God can prove faithful to Shelley during her years stripping for strangers, sleeping with strangers for money, and engaging in rough sex acts on film that will stay forever, and then redeem her and give her a powerful ministry because of it… well, then God is faithful to ALL of us and can use ALL of us. How could anybody read this book and NOT take that message away? However, if this isn’t the message you hope to receive, I’d advise to tread lightly–this book is not for sensitive readers.
Sometimes the very thing we work hardest to escape is the very thing God can heal us from and call us BACK to to minister to others still trapped in the vicious cycle. And that’s exactly what He did and is still doing in Shelley’s life. Bravo, Shelley, for sharing your painful story. I know that couldn’t have been easy, but God is the perfect Healer and Redeemer. Praise Him for rescuing you and keeping you near! Praying for you and your family this holiday season to know a joy and peace you’ve never felt as you bask in the glory of His presence.
Book #48: Fabookulous December 15, 2010
Like most women, Teri Hatcher learned her first lessons through her mother. And like many women, her mother had a hard time putting herself first. If a piece of toast got burned, she ate it herself, giving the better slices away. While this act of love and sacrifice was well intended, it also taught a lesson that is hard to unlearn: Your own satisfaction is not worth a slice of bread.
With Burnt Toast, a heartfelt, funny, poignant, and inspiring manifesto on this philosophy, Teri Hatcher reveals her life in unexpected ways, in the hopes of keeping other women from eating the burnt toast, and explaining why you’ll never get a second chance if you don’t open yourself up to the possibility.
If you’ve ever given up something good and taken the worst for yourself; if you’ve wondered if you’ll ever have sex again; if you’ve found yourself planning to fail rather than expecting to succeed, then you’ve eaten the burnt toast…and Teri Hatcher would like to have a word with you!
When I choose to read a book written by a celebrity author, it is usually because I am a fan and want to know more about them. But I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a “fan” of Teri Hatcher’s. Sure, I still tune into Desparate Housewives but for some reason I have a hard time separating the actor from the role and I think of Teri as Susan. Which is pretty much what I got out of this book too.
The amount of information she shares in this book is shocking; from no sex on her honeymoon to intimate massages to her favorite body parts, you’ll be surprised and almost feel like a voyeur. It’s so surprising because most celebrities spend so much time fighting for their privacy and hiding things about their personal lives, that to read the things this one penned almost feels absurd. And in the first 50 pages it is evident that this is someone who is VERY insecure. It’s a constant topic of discussion in this book. *sigh*
I have never before read a book that quoted the title so much. (She even recognizes this at one point and says “It is the title of the book” to which I thought of that childhood saying, “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”) The idea is intriguing (moms and many women will sacrifice themselves to put others ahead) but to repeat the same thing the same way so many times gets tiring.
At times, the book is laugh out loud funny and that’s apparent when she offers stories of adventures with her daughter (who, clearly, and in a sweet way, is the love of her life.) Teri shares her challenges in being a single parent and how she had to overcome everything from getting all of the “intruders” (spiders to lizards) out of her home alone to her daughter’s first away trip with dad, leaving her home without her daughter. These stories made me reflect on my own childhood as my mom was a single parent as well. As children, you don’t realize your moms (or dads) have to deal with things they might not want to (bugs–eek!) but they do anyway to show you they are in control and able. That is really sweet 🙂 Teri has a lot of those stories about times she wanted to react a different way than she did because she knew her daughter’s eyes were on her.
While this isn’t my all time favorite memoir (but who said it had to be?) parts of it offered a smile and some chuckles. Would I recommend it? Only if you are a Teri Hatcher fan. Few books have been jointly reviewed by both LibraryLove and myself this year and this is one of them. Check out LibraryLove’s review of Burnt Toast if you haven’t already seen it!
Status update for the year: As I kick into high gear to finish this challenge, I’ve now got an audio book going (you know, driving/getting ready/anything that keeps progress progressing ;)) as well as another book. Stay tuned for some reviews to spit out from Fabookulous!
Book #23: Fabookulous & Book #36: LibraryLove July 11, 2010
Book description: It’s not every Hollywood starlet whose name greets you on a Virgin Airways flight into la-la land. But Tori Spelling has come to accept that her life is a spectacle. Her name is her brand, and business is booming. Too bad when your job is to be yourself, you can’t exactly take a break.
Tori finally has everything she thought she wanted- a loving family and a successful career- but trying to live a normal life in Hollywood is a little weird. With the irresistible wit, attitude, and humor that fans have come to love, the New York Times best selling author of sTORI telling and Mommywood is back with more hilarious, heartwarming, and candid stories of juggling work, marriage, motherhood, and reality television cameras.
Tori comes clean about doing her time on jury duty, stalking herself on Twitter, discovering her former 90210 castmates’ “I Hate Tori” club, contracting swine flu, and contacting Farrah Fawcett from the dead. Like many mothers, she struggles to find balance (Stars, they’re just like us!)- only most women don’t have to battle it out with the paparazzi at the grocery store. She talks openly about the darker side of life in the spotlight: media scrutiny over her weight and her marriage to Dean McDermott, her controversial relationship with Dean’s ex-wife, and her unfolding reconciliation with her mother.
Having it all isn’t always easy- especially when you’re a perfectionist- but with the help of her unconventional family and friends, an underwear-clad spiritual cleansing or two, and faith in herself, she’s learning to find her happy ending. Because when you’re Tori Spelling, every day brings uncharted terriTORI.
FABOOKULOUS’ REVIEW (BOOK #23)
It took me a while to hop on the Tori Spelling bandwagon. I was never a fan of hers during 90210 and didn’t care to see her movies or give her a second thought, really. Then her reality show came out and two of my girlfriends (LibraryLove being one of them) talked about how much they loved her and how funny she was on her show with her family. So I sighed heavily and watched an episode of the show. I was surprised to find I actually liked her! Tori’s wit and humor cracked me up and her sweet relationship with Dean was endearing and cute to watch.
So naturally I stayed on the bandwagon and read (and loved) both of her first two books, sTORI telling and Mommywood. I loved how candid she was and how much she shared. My mouth dropped while reading of her mothers’ neuroses at her first wedding, and I couldn’t imagine having a mother as neurotic as Candy Spelling.
While the show has fallen down my favorite list, I still wanted to read the newest Tori book. But I was so disappointed with this one. More than one chapter detailed events that have aired on the show (stale material, anyone?) and I felt like the book makes Tori Spelling look like a freak-show. I mean, really. The woman is afraid of EVERYTHING and quite frankly, that’s exhausting to read about over and over. She (admittedly) lives her life in fear of anything and everything that could happen in a given day. I rolled my eyes more than once, thinking “Get a hold of yourself, woman.”
Tori’s obsession with other world mediums is out there. She consults psychics (even gifting visits with them for loved ones) and has voodoos performed in her home and on her person. Feeling she had an evil spirit within her, “Mama Lola…combined cornmeal, dried beans, vegetables, and chopped-up yams. She added gin and Florida water, a cologne from the nineteenth century that’s still popular in South American and Caribbean cultures…chanted…slashed my clothing into strips.” She goes on for an entire chapter about this experience and it leaves me (the reader) wondering why this wasn’t a “private” event that she refrained from publishing?
Reading about her going to her mother’s for a Christmas party convinced me she is JUST like her mother. Once portrayed to be a loony tune, Candy Spelling raised a daughter just like her. Communicating through Candy’s assistant, Tori plans to attend a Christmas party at “The Manor”, the obscene Spelling private residence. Reading about Tori getting ready for this was unreal. She went to Papyrus to get their fanciest gift wrap paper for the hostess gift she was giving her mother. When curling her hair, she writes, “How would my mother react? Would she think I was too old for long, loose curls? Would wearing it up be more lady-like?” While picking out her outfit, she writes “I started with red…but then I got nervous about wearing red because I didn’t want my mother or anyone else to think I was trying to steal the show. I must have tried on a total of eight dresses.” I mean, listen, I get that there are perfectionists out there, but this is exhausting. No wonder Tori winds up in the hospital, literally sick to her stomach with stress and migraines on more than one occasion. She drives herself crazy!
I am disappointed to post a negative review because I’ve been a fan for a while. But this book paints Tori Spelling as a self-obsessed, neurotic, spoiled and materialistic wack-a-doodle. Definitely not my favorite of her books. Though she was still funny in her writing, the craziness far outweighed the comedy. Maybe next time?
LIBRARYLOVE’S REVIEW (BOOK #36)
Note: In order to properly review this book, I have not read Fabookulous’ review and will do so only after I hit ‘publish’. We’ve never done a simultaneous read/review before. One of my besties, Planet Books, is also reading this book as we speak. Can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts…here goes.
Driven, Type-A, quirky multitasker who loves her busy life and to entertain with flair while surrounded by family and friends. These are a few personality traits that Tori and I both share. She is so misunderstood and I wish more people would stop judging her solely on her role as Donna Martin on 90210. Despite the fact that we have VERY different views on a LOT of things, I’ve found common ground with her just in reading her 3 novels, let alone watching her show Tori & Dean which chronicles she and her husband’s lives. uncharted terriTORI is her best book so far, in my humble opinion. In uncharted terriTORI, Spelling’s 3rd and latest installment of her autobiography series, she continues to allow the public in to her life with no holds barred. Spelling’s most endearing quality? She is literally and figuratively an open book. You’d think after dealing with all the media scrutiny, failed marriage, unsuccessful pilots , movies and business ventures, she’d become a hermit and keep a life outside the public eye. But instead, she takes her reputation seriously and wanted a chance to show the public the real Tori, crazy VooDoo cleanses and all.
In her first novel, sTori Telling, Spelling opened up mostly about her childhood, family struggles, and about her show so noTORIous. Her second novel, Mommywood, was mostly about how to balance the ever-dynamic terrain of being a new mother, when she didn’t have a positive one to model her ‘motherliness’ after. In uncharted terriTORI, Spelling is learning how to juggle TWO children, a husband who wants her attention, more successful businesses than I can count on my hands and toes, AND executive producing a hugely successful reality show on the Oxygen network. I’ve been Team Tori from the beginning and couldn’t care less whether you like her or not. I couldn’t care less about who saw me reading this book at the pool and judging me thinking I’m shallow, vapid or any of the other words you may be thinking. If you know me, or have been following along with this blog, you know I have depth and I guarantee you if you read any one of her books, you will change your opinion of her. What makes uncharted terriTORI such a great ‘palette- cleansing’ read, is that being a loyal Tori fan, I’ve watched Tori & Dean since the first season when she was pregnant with first son, Liam while The McDermott’s managed to open a Bed & Breakfast. I’ve watched her grow on so many levels right before my, and America’s, eyes. Her books basically summarize her life events that unfold on the shows, but it’s like we’re getting to read her commentary from each episode in the book. I do think she has a serious anxiety disorder (cluster C) that she needs assistance and counseling to offer her better coping mechanisms, none of us are perfect. This past season, she really struggled to find a balance between all the hats she wears in her life and most of all, to keep the passion alive in her marriage, keeping Dean a priority which, to her credit, she is shockingly candid about. It’s refreshing to see how Tori’s communication style continues to grow and mature. She’s finally getting to a place where she can openly confront issues rather than harboring them and blowing a gasket…although she does that too QUITE a few times and sending herself straight into the hospital all year-long because of the stress during last season’s taping of Tori & Dean.
Bottom line, if you need a fun and quick read (I read this book in two days), I recommend you pick up uncharted terriTORI or at least one of her other books.
36 down, 16 to go!
In progress-The Lost Girls and the Wander Year: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.
Book #17: Fabookulous May 29, 2010
In this brave, beautiful, and deeply personal memoir, Laura Bush, one of our most beloved and private first ladies, tells her own extraordinary story.
Born in the boom-and-bust oil town of Midland, Texas, Laura Welch grew up as an only child in a family that lost three babies to miscarriage or infant death. She vividly evokes Midland’s brash, rugged culture, her close relationship with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that sustain her to this day. For the first time, in heart-wrenching detail, she writes about the devastating high school car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead and about her decades of unspoken grief.
When Laura Welch first left West Texas in 1964, she never imagined that her journey would lead her to the world stage and the White House. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1968, in the thick of student rebellions across the country and at the dawn of the women’s movement, she became an elementary school teacher, working in inner-city schools, then trained to be a librarian. At age thirty, she met George W. Bush, whom she had last passed in the hallway in seventh grade. Three months later, “the old maid of Midland married Midland’s most eligible bachelor.” With rare intimacy and candor, Laura Bush writes about her early married life as she was thrust into one of America’s most prominent political families, as well as her deep longing for children and her husband’s decision to give up drinking. By 1993, she found herself in the full glare of the political spotlight. But just as her husband won the Texas governorship in a stunning upset victory, her father, Harold Welch, was dying in Midland.
In 2001, after one of the closest elections in American history, Laura Bush moved into the White House. Here she captures presidential life in the harrowing days and weeks after 9/11, when fighter-jet cover echoed through the walls and security scares sent the family to an underground shelter. She writes openly about the White House during wartime, the withering and relentless media spotlight, and the transformation of her role as she began to understand the power of the first lady. One of the first U.S. officials to visit war-torn Afghanistan, she also reached out to disease-stricken African nations and tirelessly advocated for women in the Middle East and dissidents in Burma. She championed programs to get kids out of gangs and to stop urban violence. And she was a major force in rebuilding Gulf Coast schools and libraries post-Katrina. Movingly, she writes of her visits with U.S. troops and their loved ones, and of her empathy for and immense gratitude to military families.
With deft humor and a sharp eye, Laura Bush lifts the curtain on what really happens inside the White House, from presidential finances to the 175-year-old tradition of separate bedrooms for presidents and their wives to the antics of some White House guests and even a few members of Congress. She writes with honesty and eloquence about her family, her public triumphs, and her personal tribulations. Laura Bush’s compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other first lady’s memoir ever written.
It became clear to me early on while reading this memoir that it was going to be a beautiful read. From cover to cover, Laura Bush’s personal and deeply touching story is beautifully written and a delight to read. I closed the book with a smile on my face and yet sadness that it was the end. Taking three weeks to read it (due partly to the fact that I was on business travel one of those weeks and by the time my head hit the pillow I could hardly read a single paragraph), I feel I spent enough time to soak up every word.
Laura Bush is to be admired, respected, and an example to follow. Not only has she always been (and remains to be) committed to her husband and family, she has a heart for people that stretches to the corners of the world. She used her platform as First Lady to serve others and bring attention and aid to some of the most devastating circumstances around the globe.
Spoken from the Heart discusses painful topics for the former First Lady, from the tragic accident that took a friend’s life and the grief-stricken years to follow, to the challenging decisions her husband was faced with every single day and her admiration for him to persevere in tough times. She does a marvelous job “humanizing” the former First Family. The Bush family respected each other and remained committed despite all the negative circumstance and attention surrounding them. They stayed true to themselves and served our country with honor and integrity.
Something that came to mind frequently while reading Spoken from the Heart was a quote from the Book of Esther. When Esther is called to become Queen, her uncle tells her she was called, “…for such a time as this.” I truly believe President Bush was called for his time. He brought with him a beautiful family and a strong, caring, loving and gracious wife.
Laura Bush is a genuine soul who continues work for many of the initiatives she began in the White House. As a fellow lover of books and literacy, she has inspired me to consider where I can lend my hand and support. To share books with others, to encourage education and literacy, to meet authors and enrich our understandings, all of this is a gift to be shared.
What more can I say other than I respect, admire, and appreciate Laura Bush. I thank her for opening up to the world and writing a memoir, despite her preference for privacy. I thank her for her efforts and her faith in the human people to help one another. And I recommend this memoir to anyone who admires the Bush family, enjoys autobiographies and memoirs, or just wants to be inspired to make a difference in their world.
Without a doubt, 5/5 stars.
Book #3: Fabookulous January 26, 2010
A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth
Book description: You might know her as a Tony Award-winning Broadway star, who originated the role of Galinda the Good Witch in the smash musical ‘Wicked’ and won a Tony for 1999’s ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’. Or you may recognize her from her starring roles on TV- ‘The West Wing’, ‘Pushing Daisies’, ‘Sesame Street’…oh, and her Huge Hit Sitcom ‘Kristin’ on NBC. (Huge hit. L.A. breast-implant huge. Ask either of the people who watched it.) Or maybe you saw her sexy spread in FHM magazine? Or her appearance on Pat Robertson’s ‘The 700 Club’? Kristin is a wonderful collection of contradictions- but everyone who’s ever met her remembers her as the little girl with the big voice. At four foot eleven, Kristin Chenoweth is an immense talent in a petite but powerful package.
In this lively, laugh-out-loud book, Kristin shares her journey from Oklahoma beauty queen to Broadway leading lady, reflecting on how faith and family have kept her grounded in the dysfunctional rodeo of show biz. The daughter of an engineer and a nurse, Kristin was singing in front of thousands at Baptist conventions by age twelve and winning beauty pageants by age twenty-two. (Well, actually she was second runner-up almost every freaking time. But, hey, she’s not bitter.) On her way to a career as a professional opera singer, she stopped in New York to visit a friend and went on a whim to an audition. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and (she’s quick to add) the grace of God, Kristin took Broadway by storm. But of course, into every storm, the occassional drizzle of disaster must fall.
Filled with wit, wisdom, and backstage insight, A Little Bit Wicked is long on love and short on sleep; it’s essential reading for Kristin’s legions of fans and an uplifting story for anyone seeking motivation to follow his or her dreams- over the rainbow and beyond.
Ok, this book was fantastic! Kristin Chenoweth is hilarious and this book was a laugh out loud read the entire time. Not a full fledged autobiography, this book tells stories of her life and career and how her faith and finding love played into it thus far. She is proud to be from Oklahoma and proud to be a Christian in Hollywood, though not everyone agrees with her views; this is detailed further in the book.
I loved this book, I loved Kristin’s stories, I loved her attitude and positive outlook, I love her friendship with her best friend Denny (who I’d like to meet now), and I recommend this book to anyone looking to get to know a laid back, dedicated, very talented, ambitious woman in Hollywood. She might only stand 4 feet and 11 inches tall but she is a talent powerhouse that has no limits.
5 out of 5 stars.
Closin’ the books on #3…49 to go for me!