I AM JENNIE by Jennie Ketcham, Former Adult Actor Penny Flame

Pub. Info: Gallery Books, 7/2012, Hardcover
Genre: Memoir/Autobiography
My Grade: A-

From Publisher: Drunk and high, holed up in a hotel room with a beautiful blonde she barely knew, Jennie Ketcham was thirty-six hours away from entering rehab. Her on-camera alter ego, Penny Flame, was a rising star. Her personal life, however, had been getting worse for years and finally hit an all-time low.

Guys are gonna want one thing from you. To Jennie’s young ears, her father’s advice meant one thing: You can use your sexuality to control men. Life was imploding around her: her parents’ divorce, their spiraling addictions, her deteriorating relationships with them. She lost her virginity at thirteen and began a game of initiating boys her age into manhood. For the fleeting moments she spent in bed with them, she got to be the center of attention.

Eventually, Jennie found porn—that enticing world of immediate gratification, endless drugs, and seemingly endless money—and became Penny Flame. Divorced from her feelings, tempted into a lifestyle she couldn’t afford, financially or emotionally, she entered Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew to boost her career. But when Dr. Drew and his staff insisted she go by her real name, the once indestructible walls she had built around herself began to burn down.

Two stories make up this direct and disarming memoir: that of a troubled girl desperately fleeing intimacy and herself, and that of a woman courageously breaking down emotional barriers to build a new life. Many will recognize Jennie’s struggles: confusing sex with self-worth, addiction with love, detachment with strength. Ultimately, I Am Jennie is a tale of a woman who considers herself a work in progress but who finally understands that the only person she can truly afford to be is herself.

MY THOUGHTS: I was excited to see that Jennie had written a book. I'd first heard of her when she was on VH1's Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, then its spinoff, Sober House. I've since seen one of her films (great scene in Reform School Girls, by the way!).

I really appreciate when adult actors tell us their stories. I don't understand what lead Jennie into becoming a promiscuous teenager or drug abuser. I never felt like her home life was bad and would like to understand that better. I don't see how her parents unhappy marriage could have sent her down a dangerous path.

She never discussed when she realized she was bisexual, how she felt about it nor did she mention if she ever discussed with a therapist being raped on a train. She also didn't mention if she thought doing porn was having some impact on her drug use.

The best part of the book was near the end when she met with an ex-boyfriend to apologize to him for her behavior while they were dating. That part really touched me. The funniest part was when she was talking with fellow actor and agent (?) Ben English and answered him in a faux British accent to mimic his.

The comment from her father in the synopsis about guys only wanting one thing from her isn't in full context. He said it to her because she was dressed in a short skirt when she was twelve or thirteen. He was letting her know that if she dressed like that, boys would only want one thing.

She's very honest and explicit and seems to have a great personality. The book was an interesting read and I'd recommend it to anyone who has a interest in the adult films. I happen to enjoy watching porn (I have plenty of it) but I'm happy she got out of the industry since she felt it wasn't the place for her any longer. According to her blog, Becoming Jennie, she seems to be doing fine and I wish her the best.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Same review posted here.

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