It took me 4 days to finish the autobiography of Linda Lovelace, Ordeal. I had to finish it. It was such an intense read. Something that I have never felt before. I found her book from the readings of another. It was the book that identified 5 woman that paved the way for woman in history and one of the woman’s identified was Linda. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The only idea I had was that she was a pornstar. Taken advantage of by men in the industry but I had no idea the extent of what my eyes were about to bare witness too. For anybody hesitant on whether or not the book is for you here is what I think. This is a woman’s life that by all other definition should have had a less than desireable outcome but above all else. She did have a vision for who she wanted to become and she fought through hell and high water to become her. To truly understand her journey you have to read her words. As horrific as some events are we owe it to her to get through. Sometimes what we need amongst the darkness is a small glimmer of hope. Linda can do that for you. Now I must warn you I am about to divulge in some details surrounding this book. If you are one to form your own opinion first it is best you stop reading here. Come back to this spot when you have finished and tell me what you thought about her life. If not let me tell you what I think.
Out of curiosity I wanted to see when the book was published. I could tell by the general nature of the book I checked out from the library that it had some age. The book was published in 1980 so that probably meant it happened during the 70’s. There was only one mention of the decade of time that she grew up in and I am pretty sure it was then. It really doesn’t matter too much except to point out this fact. Some people say that the 50’s was the last true American decade. By that I mean Rock n Roll was super cool, so was hanging out at the malt shops, waiting until marriage was also hip, and actually following a curfew too. They say after the 2nd War confidence and happiness was on the rise. How could one not be happy. All of our troops were safe on home soil. People were making babies all was good. Until that all came to a jaw dropping abrupt halt. With the start of the Vietnam war that was when we all had to face the hard facts. American did not have the power to go in and make their presence known. How can one fight against all the citizens on their own soil. It was a definite hard pill to swallow. With time of severe hardships and with the threat of a nuclear war what happens to a Nation…it begins to crumble. We see the assination of JFK, Martin Luther King and any other great leader who was trying to bring us up back from the ashes. They were trying to save us from ourselves but we were never going to want to see saving. As a nation we were scared. We couldn’t believe the amount of needless deaths for a war that so many have no idea what we were fighting far. Nobody likes to lose. Imagine the images those boys who were now alive had seen. Their lives that they once lived where dead. They become shells of who they used to be. Haunted by the ghosts of all those fallen. We as a nation were doomed, maybe cursed how do you acknowledge the ghosts of the past when their were so many to choose from.
I guess that is my way of leading into Linda’s storey. After so many veterans returned home. Some to families that moved on with their lives, they loved to drink, do drugs, anything to numb the pain. When Linda met Chuck she saw somebody in his late 20’s whose best quality about him was the Jaguar he drove. She was introduced to him by a mutual friend. She was very innocent and virtuous then. After just suffering a major accident she had fresh scars on her body. Like any young woman she felt self concious. To any educated poacher she became the perfect victim. Things rarely happen by chance. They are more than likely a staged series of events. And for Linda this became very much true. Chuck was very much one of those squeezy smutt peddlars that you remember seeing on “Boogie Nights”. If you have seen the movie then you would understand the reference. If not think of Larry Flynt. His life was far from vanilla. His artistic interpretation of pornagraphy is very detailed and very intense. Not for everybody. But for those that get off on that stuff. Linda became their muse.
It didn’t happen overnight. In fact her time with Chuck spanned only over 4 years. Not alot a time I know but there were some minutes when reading the book I would have covered my eyes. I cried imagining what he was going through. The reality is I could never imagine the horror. That pain. That humiliation. She was degraded, abused in such a way, such a fashion that this storey is an eye opener maybe even a gateway. But this right here is the reason why this type of porn is kept way underground. This book in the 80’s identified a market for beastility, grotesque pervsion, torture, unlawful confinement, and yes even the introduction of child pornography. What did we do as a nation when this storey came out of what he did to her. Nothing. The whole world did nothing and still treated her like a slut a whore like that what she endured over those years she did willingly. Yes towards the end what would you have done.She paid the ultimate price for fame that she never wanted.
What Chuck sold to her was the life that most young girls dream of. A way to get away from your parents and truly make it on your own. No woman wants to march out of her parents house with head held high only to return weeks or months later with her head between her legs. That is not why she stayed. She would have gladly returned home at any moment just to have the nightmare end. At first it wasn’t so bad but he had to work his way into her brain. Destroy her from the inside out. Rotting away her brain by telling her she was never going to amount to anything he offered her the ultimatum. Work for me as a madame or work for me as a hooker. I am not sure what would have happened if she took the first choice. I am thinking it was only a matter of time. He started being violent with her and even threated to kill her and her family if she didn’t abide by what he said. He held the gun to her head she knew he was crazy enough to do it.
Yes she married him but that was because his lawyer advised him to. She knew way too much from him not letting her out of his site. Even when he would make her turn tricks he was either in the room or spying through a pinhole. Her first time as a worker girl came as a suprise. She went with him to a hotel (which she thought they were picking up weed). She knew something was off when all the men were in business suits. After awhile it was enough idle chit chat clothes off Linda. Can you believe that in a room with 5 guys (and these were bankers and lawyers) the one asked if she really wanted to do it and she said no. Chuck made her. He still had the gun. He could have killed her right there but like he told her the guys would say nothing. They were all married, they had careers, they would never admit to being in a room with a hooker. All 5 of these men raped and sodomized her and nobody helped. After awhile she just went numb. She knew that there was nothing. No hope. That is how she survived through it all. The ability to ignore your current surroundings int he hope that something would change.
He made her engage with a dog. Beat her bloody while her co-workers were in the next room. I saw co-workers because on the set of “Deep Throat” she thought they made friends. They laughed and spent the day together she saw that light at the end of the tunnel. That is why she defied him that night when he told her to wipe off that smile. When she didn’t. He hit and kicked her until he stopped from sheer exhaustion. She knew they heard because the music had shut off next door. This is a human being who was once failed by humanity again. The next day she walked around numb. She knew then who was real to her and so far she had nobody. Her parents when she ran the first time returned her to him. She didn’t have the courage to tell them how bad it really was. The second time she ran to her friend but he was able to find her. He always threatened the people she cared about. He entered Betsy’s house and threatened to shoot them all in the head if she didn’t go back to him. She left willingly wanting to end the confrontation.
I can’t go into all details but I can tell you he tortured her one time so bad she needed medical attention and he refused. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, and for the record here she never choose this path, she deserved to be treated with the basics of humanity and we failed her miserably. I had to read her storey. I had to honour her. She puts it into perspective what it is really like. She was brave enough to share her storey to let us know she how sick the underground of the Universe really is. Her storey should be used as a cautionary tale to help us identify with the evil that surrounds us. Her pain and her endurance that allowed her to keep living tells me that no matter what so can I. I hope that I never have to experience what she went through. More to that I hope I can fight against this evil by helping empower woman. We need to see the true beauty in our lives. I once again will reach out to anybody reading. If you or somebody you know is suffering in anyway please guide them my way. I believe you/them. You will always be safe with me. Your life, your journey is important to me and hopefully in time we can all say the same too.
What gave Linda the courage was when her lawyer said this “I think I’d rather be dead,” he said, “than not really be living.” (Pg 221) This is what made her get up and go. This time she did it differently she did it by involving nobody until it was safe to come out of hiding. She finally saw value in her life and that was through people investing in her and her career. She had to use fame and a little bit of fortune to get there. She saw her way out and she took it. I hope for some of you you can do the same.