Wasted – Aiden Shaw (Running Press Books)

Buy it Now at Giovanni’s Room or at Amazon through The Dreamwalker Group.

With very few exceptions (Daniel Allen Cox among them), porn stars should not venture into the land of Microsoft Word to create anything other than grocery lists or party invitations. Far be it for me to confine anyone’s career to one small box, but Aiden Shaw has far more to offer the shiny surface of a DVD than he has the bookshelf.

To be fair, I haven’t read his autobiography, My Undoing: Love in the Thick of Sex, Drugs, Pornography and Prostitution. Maybe he’s better cataloguing his own life than creating lives for characters. Who knows? I had high hopes for this when I read the back blurb by Boy George, a personal hero of mine, but he’s obviously been warped by casual heroin use and one rent boy too many.

I’d give you a plot summary but after finishing all 306 pages, I really couldn’t tell you what it’s all about. There’s a gay couple, David and Joe, along with David’s nephew, Ryan, and his girlfriend Leila, who has an odd predilection for raising her skirt over her head at inopportune times. Okay, I’ve been known to do that too, but the similarity ends there. There’s also a lot of sex, drugs, pornography and prostitution. Sensing a theme in this particular body of work?

The prose is clumsy and vague, the characters are insubstantial and the proofing abonimable. Nothing, however, could convey the essence of this book better than this short passage about a dinner party – typed exactly as you will encounter it on page 48 of the softcover edition:

David lifted out a baking dish, and turned as though to a bigger crowd.
“Yum! Yum!” Lasagne said Leila.

What does ‘turning as though to a bigger crowd’ look like? Is there a flourish, a certain showman-like grin, an insouciant tilt of the hips? Although the comma splice in that sentence bothers the grammarian in me, nothing pisses me off more than a vague simile. And we won’t even talk about the proofreading nightmare that is “’Yum! Yum!’ Lasagne said Leila.” There’s at least one of those gaffes on each page.

The other blurb on the back of the book is from Justin Bond (Kiki of that wonderfully psychodramatic cabaret act, Kiki & Herb), who says, “I tried to put it down but it stuck to my hand.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

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