Asa Akira hits us with her next book Dirty Thirty: A Memoir that is out NOW! Dirty Thirty = haiku goodness, witty commentary, amazing cover art, and a profoundly honest look into the life of novelist, podcaster, and Japanese-American actress Asa Akira!
My knowledge of Asa Akira is limited to a couple of segments from her adult films that I featured in a group project a few years ago for a sexual health course. In my discussion of the porn industry and rise of female viewers, I wanted discuss women of color representation within the industry; the names of women of color actresses ranking at the top of Google were far and few in comparison to their white counterparts, except for Asa Akira and Skin Diamond. So when the opportunity arose to review Asa’s Dirty Thirty: A Memoir I jumped at the chance to learn more about what many referred to as an icon within the industry. I wasn’t sure if We So Nerdy would be approved to review her memoir, but was pleasantly surprise that we were. Much of the erotic content we discuss on WSN is fiction. We haven’t delved into this type of literature and I’m affectionately starting a We So Nerdy: After Dark series were we can openly discuss novels like Dirty Thirty.
Due to my limited exposure I wasn’t sure how much I would learn about Asa Akira, but I assumed that if she was as open in her book as she is on her Twitter feeds, I would get a detailed look into her life. Like her online personality I was treated to a compelling writing style that makes one feel like you are discussing her life with her over a cup of FitTea rather than reading her story. I read Dirty Thirty: A Memoir twice. First, to enjoy what she was willing to share with the audience and second, to comprehend what was discussed.
Asa takes us in some ways through every aspect of her life, which includes her insecurities, love life, family, drug use, sobriety, sexual experiences in front and behind the camera. Each experience she shared felt brutally honest. And I know she probably doesn’t need or care for my accolades, but I applaud her openness. Even if I often felt uncomfortable reading items she shared.
For instances, there was a physical fight she mentioned between her and her husband Toni, and I wondered if she felt this interaction with the man she loves would be classified as an incident of intimate partner violence (on both their parts). Did she realize or care that some statements uttered (probably in jest) could be seen as problematic or extremely prejudicial or laced with stereotypes? Is she stating as her truth that ephebophilia, even subjectively, couldn’t cause irrevocably harm to a young man if acted upon? But then her ability to take ownership over her body even when battling her demons should be something we all take notes on. As well as, how she has been able to not let others use the word slut it to define her, but how she chooses when, where, and how this word is defined by her. I’m impressed that Asa fully recognizes her issues with body dysmorphic disorder more than most.
I learned a lot from Dirty Thirty, and I do feel if you want an honest look into someone’s life this is the book for you even if you know nothing about porn or want to. Asa will give you a new perspective on living and how you can choose to live your life and possibly end it one day. And I recognize 3.5 STARS doesn’t seem like a lot when I discuss how much I enjoyed reading the book and the fact I did so twice, even though I’ve admitted in the past how much of a slow reader I am. However, I can’t bring myself to go above 3.5 STARS for Dirty Thirty, when the book brought me a lot of unease over certain parts. Also, there were aspects of her life that she repeated which should have been edited out. Sometimes, the story presented as she was the tour guide touting off facts, rather than letting us be the fly on the wall experiencing things or joining as much as we could in her story.
Overall, pick up a copy, borrow one…just take time to read her Dirty Thirty: A Memoir by Asa Akira. It will be an interesting time! Plus, you get a haiku gem like the one below between each chapter:
Fuck you, kale salad
You’re not a real fucking meal
I’m still hungry, dick
Get Inside Asa Akira!
The world knows her as a porn star. . . but it’s her way with words that will touch you again and again. As she contemplates turning thirty years old while still being in the adult film trade, Asa Akira delves into her past, present, and future, exploring the events that brought her to where she is now and the surprising and insightful plans she has for her future. Asa’s perceptive, funny, and straightforward writings on love, sex, death, marriage and celebrity come together in this surprising book of essays that will have you laughing hysterically one minute and deep in reverent thought the next. Personally revealing as well as universal, Dirty Thirty marks the coming of age of a new literary star.