The author of The Devil Made Me Do It, Georgina Spelvin, starred in the groundbreaking and much-imitated porn movie The Devil and Miss Jones. When I read books like this engaging memoir of Spelvins sexual career, both private and public, it seems almost like science fiction to me: a completely different world, with completely different rules, one that Ill never be able to see or visit. The people in this book are so carefree with their sexuality! (Spelvin does, however, mention Adult Industry Medical (AIM), which administered the testing regime for most porn performers in the US until collapsing in scandal in 2010, late in the book, but that takes place well after she has departed from the industry). While the dalliances of Ms. Spelvin and her friends seem carefree from the perspective of those of us whose sex lives started in the HIV era, that doesnt mean that they were in any way cavalier; Georgina leads with her heart, has many crushes, a few divorces, and gets her heart broken on several occasions. Spelvin takes us through the rustic setting of the porn industry in those days, well before it had become the big, industrial megaplex it is today. You really have to respect someone who can star in a porn movie and then feed her fellow performers and crew a standing rib roast, as Spelvin does on the set, having snagged food for the entire crew for $56 at wholesalers in her New York City neighborhood. Spelvin never blames the porn industry for her troubles, nor, indeed, does she seem very troubled by starring in what she and her crowd call fuckfilms, in fact, many of the happiest passages of the book involve the laughter and camraderie of people on the sets of her movies.
An experienced and independent woman in her late thirties when she freely chose to make adult porn movies, Spelvin rapidly shot to fame in the early days of the narrative adult film era after a starring role in one of the most acclaimed adult films of all time, The Devil in Miss Jones directed by Gerard Damiano. In these early porn films, though skewed through the lens of male fantasy, women had the same freedom to express themselves sexually and a number of performers found tremendous personal and sexual satisfaction in the making of fuck films. Spelvin was one such performer and recounts her experiences with the mature intelligence of a woman who found reward and fulfilment in what she did. The Devil Made Me Do It is Spelvins recollection of her entry into the porn world, the making of the film The Devil in Miss Jones, her subsequent life as theatrical performer and stripper through to her writing of the memoir and her cameo appearance in the Paul Thomas directed recent remake of her seminal film. But the joyous read that is Spelvins book comes not from the positivist recollection of making porn and stripping but from the cleverly constructed sense of narrative through this memoir, in which her sexual experience and fulfilment reveals her not as a sexual object but as a sexual subject. The majesty of Spelvins The Devil Made Me Do It is that her perspective as a woman who found sexual fulfilment in what has traditionally been considered an objectified role (porn star and stripper) transforms her from object to subject. The Devil Made Me Do It although concerning the porn trade for its initial third, slowly widens in focus to include more of the details of Spelvins life from her romantic attractions to her personal sexual experiences to her relations with her parents, particularly her mother who was with her backstage during some of her stripper appearances. However, it does fill in and personalize the details found in reference books from the narrative perspective of the participating woman as sexual subject. She was a genuine pioneer in the transformation of porn from objectifying women to subjectifying them, carried on in the work of Candida Royalle who did what the circumstances of the time could not yet offer Spelvin as a woman take creative control of the behind the scenes process - and her memoir is a revealing and entertaining read.
I was hearing the "why" that brought her into pornography and the emotions that made her commit to it. I'll admit I wanted more of the insight I had experienced in her interviews, not only pertaining to her work but her inner life and what emotionally motivated her choices. When you have such a storied life there is a time where you're inevitably prompted to look back, regardless of whether the devil got you there.
She takes us, year by year, through her life and some of the films shes done. Id also like to know what her brother and extended family thought of her career choice. Shes definitely lead an interesting life.
At some point in this book someone gives Georgina a sound piece of advice about writing a biography - don't start at the beginning, start at the most interesting part and work your way out.
Didn't know much about Spelvin until I got this book.
This is a history book -- a tale of the 1970's and later, specific to a woman who was just looking to be a star.
At times it was an entertaining read, if not always.
A fascinating true tale of the struggles of a professional dancer during the 50's, 60's and 70's turned porn goddess by accident.