Reissued in the lead-up to a movie adaptation, the memoir of infamous porn star Linda Lovelace has lost none of its shock factors since its original publication in 1980.
Ordeal is the story of Linda’s descent into years of physical, sexual, and psychological degradation at the hands of a manipulative bully. When impressionable 21-year-old Linda first encountered Chuck Traynor, she was in awe of his seemingly sophisticated lifestyle. Thus began one of the porn industry’s most infamous and lucrative couplings. Before long, however, Linda found herself trapped in an abusive relationship and violently forced into prostitution.
From dingy motel rooms to the Playboy Mansion, Linda recounts her journey into dark and horrific corners of the porn industry and her own memory. This graphic account of sexual abuse, not to mention the appalling, enabling behaviour of those who turned a blind eye to her obvious distress, makes for a harrowing read.
Nicknamed “Miss Holy-Holy” by her classmates, Linda’s strict upbringing and professed pre-Traynor naivety are at odds with the more common representation of the sexually insatiable Deep Throat actress. For Linda, Ordeal was her chance to set the record straight.
It contradicts her previous two “autobiographies”, which Linda states were complete money-making fabrications created by Traynor. Ordeal explains this dramatic transformation by revealing that Linda was the victim of years of abuse. It is a stance critics argue to be a desperate woman’s attempt to bury a seedy past littered with bad choices.
Tragically though, the truth is often stranger than fiction.
This review appeared on WeLoveThisBook, 6th November 2012.