4.5 exposed Stars
We all hide things about ourselves. Hoping that no one will find out our dirty secrets. Their source matters little – our past, fantasies, dreams, mistakes, regrets, wishes on falling stars, embarrassments – you name it, we all have things we’d be happier if no one else ever knew.
But what happens when that thing isn’t confined to our past? But, if unleashed, could severely impact our present and future? And not only our own, but those around us? What would you do to contain that kind of secret? Would you lock yourself away for years on end? No contact with the outside world whatsoever? To what lengths would you go to keep the world safe, from you?
Deanna Madden has secrets that make all of ours look like kids sneaking off into the corner to eat paste. She is also wicked smart, lovely and funny. She made the hard choice to quarantine herself away from the rest of the world and in the process has soared to the very top of the sex camming world, is stinkin’ rich and hasn’t touched another human being for three years. She has an assortment of unconventional and wonderful relationships with doctors, therapists and hackers however who give her life just enough honest-ish interpersonal interaction to keep her sane.
I started off this book feeling vaguely sorry for Deanna (who is known as Jessica to her clients). She had a lovely childhood that was absolutely shattered in a heartbeat and changed her forever. A woman who has endured such intense tragedy is easy to feel sorry for at first glance, until you really start getting to know her. Once you start to peek behind the events and learn about what makes her tick, her general worldview and watch her interact with other people that sympathy quickly turns into respect.
AR Torre has written a book that shouldn’t work. This young woman should not be able to carve out any kind of existence. She should not be able to start this book abiding so closely to her routine as a gateway to keep tethered to her sanity and finish the book a modern day superhero. It shouldn’t all fit together. But it does. And beautifully so.
This book is written with brutal honesty but also incredible insight into human nature. This book works because Torre is so willing and able to push the boundaries of investigation into the human condition. She does not shy away from putting the darkest and strangest elements of what makes us all tick under her microscope and weaving them into her story. In the end, what is created is an unabashed tale of one woman making an uneasy peace with her demons. A tale full of unflinching emotions felt by imperfect but gorgeously constructed characters.
If you can put your own presumptions aside, put that judgment aside that keeps us all contained and within our own quarantine zones, you might catch glimpses of the courage it takes to live outside of that zone, in the real world, fully embracing even our deepest secrets. Because at the end of the day, we are all the sum of our parts, despite our secrets, we are already, whole.