AMERICAN GANGBANG by Sam Benjamin

AMERICAN GANGBANG

A Love Story

KIRKUS REVIEW

An Ivy League graduate belly flops into the adult-entertainment industry.

In this humorous, orgiastic memoir, it might seem as if Benjamin squandered his Brown degree to drive cross-country to Santa Cruz, Calif., in pursuit of a video-art career. But to the author, his choice was genius and spurred a domino effect of rich opportunities beginning with the spontaneous purchase of a VHS collection of “deliciously obscene” porn, prompting “meditative bursts of whacking” and a rapturous, watershed moment to become Southern California’s newest “artistic pornographer” making films that “deliberately left room for spontaneity.” After some motivated networking and the production of two inaugural misfires—one with Benjamin pleasuring himself by banana peel—he found a co-conspirator in Northern California for his first starring porn role in the low-budget skin flick, Slide Bi Me. Prime production stints in Hollywood soon followed, and Benjamin’s incremental ascent up the lascivious ladder to porn royalty makes for a surprisingly compelling narrative. Fraught with industry highs and lows and the requisite social fumbles, the author’s chronicle presents a gracious, explicit insider’s illustration of the adult-film industry via a flurry of colorfully graphic scenes, girls galore, Malibu mansions, drugs, cash, and a business sidekick named Willie Timberlake. Aside from a surplus of seamy, implausibly recalled dialogue, Benjamin amusingly delivers pages of raw, backstage degeneracy with much of the scenery stripped of its carnal sexiness by the spurious nature of the “sexual cinema” business. He provides well-written descriptions of a variety of scenarios, including spending a day smoking crack cocaine, a hilarious live audition at a strip club, his delicate initiation to strap-on anal sex and the melodramatic breakup of an ill-conceived relationship with a female performer. Benjamin’s eventual no-regrets exodus from the sex industry came as a relief to his parents, who were guardedly supportive and then overjoyed at their son’s epiphany: “porn wasn’t what I thought it would be.”

A delicious combination of racy, raunchy and radical—a sex story with a conscience.

 

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4516-2778-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2011




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