September 7, 2010

Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans

Date Started:  September 5, 2010
Date Finished: September 7, 2010

Summary: Karrine Steffans has lived a hard life. She was abused by her mother, raped by strangers, abused by her ex-husband. In an effort to get past her life of hardship, she leaves for LA. For a while things are going good, until she gets caught up in the LA hip-hop lifestyle. Suddenly her life is filled with drugs, liquor, men, and sex. At her lowest point, she finds herself with no one to turn to except God.

Likes: If you took Memoirs of a Geisha and combined it Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the raw, crazy hip-hop lifestyle, you would have this book. Confessions of Video Vixen wasn't really about a video girl more than it is one woman's messed up childhood and life that led her down a dangerous and outlandish lifestyle and how she picked up the pieces and went on to become famous. It's a story about a girl who was beaten by her mother, abandoned by her father, mistreated and objectified by men in the hip-hop game, became a self abuser, nearly died from a drug overdose, then started getting her act together. It was interesting to see who she came in contact with and the relationships she had with other people.

Dislikes: It wasn't particularly well-written in my opinion, which I feel is true of most memoirs, which is pretty much why I don't read them. It felt like everything was glossed over. That's because it was a memoir, which doesn't seem to lend itself to the conventions of writing because there is a fine line between being truthful and being entertaining. It's just not this book, but memoirs in general that seem to follow this convention (except for David Sedaris). I'm not really a fan of this genre.

Overall: It was okay. It was a nice break from YA and YA fantasy, which is something I need after over saturating myself with it. It reminded me of why I was interested in hip-hop urban fictions for a hot second. I think I might have liked it more if I hadn't known it was a memoir. A fictional story with well rounded characters and a plot is basically what I need from a story so raw. Since this story was about real people and their names weren't sparred, except for Papa (which I have no idea who that might be, but apparently it's someone important... as if no one else was important), there is not a chance for the conventions of writing to shine through. It's not that it was a bad story, but I don't typically like autobiographies or memoirs. I liked it. I can see the appeal and while it didn't speak to me personally, I could see how it could help someone in a similar situation. The author stated that she wanted it to be a cautionary tale and I think I can see her intention quite clearly.

Recommended by: Truth be told, I was watching VH1's 40 Most Sexy Scandals or something like that and the book title came up. Naturally I had to look into it and when I found it, I figured, well why not? I needed a break from all the fantasy for a bit.

Acquired: eBook

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Jinky said...

Quite a racy cover for a memoir! So I take it her life changed after finding God? That's the part I'd like scoop on. :D

Have a great week Najela (btw, love your name!)!!

Najela said...

Well she used to be in hip hop music videos, so I suppose that was the look they were going for.

Yeah, the memoir doesn't really touch on the finding God part, but I wish it did.

Thanks. I hope you have a great week as well.


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