I, GOLDSTEIN by Al Goldstein


My Screwed Life
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The unsavory, wild adventures of the man who made his fortune delivering pornography to the American mass market, the former King of Smut, now destitute, dependent on lithium, Social Security and the kindness of strangers.

Back in the day, before the Internet made his special product available to everybody at the click of a mouse, Goldstein was a seminal figure in the industry. No dirty place was too far for his pulp magazine, Screw, to travel. Some called it liberal, countercultural, a trumpet for freedom, while others simply called it filth. Clearly, both were right. Screw embodied a special art form presenting schoolyard humor that featured naughty words, muddy photographs and explicit artwork, all as thoroughly offensive as intended. The periodical was first sold, Goldstein says, by blind newsstand operators. The publisher made millions. He wallowed in the unrelenting potty talk—he still does—and reveled in the nonstop sexual play, which he remembers fondly in his account of a unique life. Goldstein’s story is a chronicle of his appetites for expensive watches, sweet revenge, cigars, pastrami and, foremost, sex organs. It is populated by a lot of porn stars, scum-peddlers, lubricious whores, faithless wives and one disloyal son. (His own father was a “putz.”) Included are pop-culture figures like Walter Winchell, Larry Flynt and Linda Lovelace, friendly restaurateurs, slick lawyers, actor-murderers and made guys. Our hero got a rise out of the citizenry; he was jailed and, finally, forgotten and abandoned by old comrades in the sex business. Screw shut down in 2003 after 35 years and 1,800 issues. Now, Goldstein is a tired scalawag, a corpulent old lion, toothlessly gnawing old bones. Without his wealth or health, Goldstein retains his talent for lewdness.

The autobiography, much of which may be factual, of a dirty old man, illustrated with x-rated photos. You may want to wash your hands after handling this one.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 2006
ISBN: 1-56025-868-3
Page count: 296pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2006


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