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Traci Lords: Underneath It All

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  1,300 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews

The moving, gripping, and tell–all autobiography of Traci Elizabeth Lords, a former child porn queen, electronica maven, and cult movie and TV star.

At 14, Nora Kuzma ran away from home and ended up on the dirty streets of Hollywood. She fell in with a fast crowd, and her dreams of modelling soon landed her a spectacular centrefold in Penthouse Magazine, where at 15 she

Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 29th 2004 by It Books (first published 2003)
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Because of that horrible pornography, I ended up in Hollywood where I ultimately had a successful career in films, television, recording, DJ-ing, and publishing, and where I met the Prince Charming of my dreams.


OK, so, yes, it's a moderately interesting woe-is-me tale of exploitation and adversity overcome, in which Lords never once stops to consider that maybe porn--illegal and wrong though it may have been, her being under 18 and all--led to her glass being half full rather than half empt
linda sue
Apr 25, 2007 linda sue rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with an open mind
i LOVED this bio. i'm really into bios lately and i read this one in one entire nite. no shit. i sat down and read it in one shot. it sucked me into her life so much i couldn't put it down. even if you're not a porno fan you will enjoy this book. it's a book about salvation and overccoming obstacles. i love this woman.
Amelia Chameleon
Jul 21, 2011 Amelia Chameleon rated it really liked it
I found this book in a thrift store and it appealed to both my interest in biographies and also my interest in crazy characters. I thought it was very well-written and concise and actually very conversational. I cannot say whether there was a ghost writer or a very strong editor involved, but in any case it makes the book very readable.

Traci Lords has been through a very rough life and she's very open about sharing her stories and her point of view. So many times throughout the book, I just want
Jun 26, 2013 Tia rated it it was ok
Shelves: sex-workers
I originally read this when I was a kid in high school, the same age as Traci when she started doing porn. We came from very similar backgrounds, so it's not as if I couldn't relate. But even then, as a teenager, I thought this was the whiniest autobiography I'd ever encountered. Fifteen years and hundreds of books later? Yeah, I still feel the same.

This is a shining example of how not to write, or how to be a completely unlikable narrator & person. How to refuse to take any personal respon
Jun 11, 2012 Shannon rated it it was amazing
I have to say I was surprised at how eloquent and well spoken Traci Lords is. I haven't read a TON of memoirs, but hers is by far the most intelligent, insightful, and poignant by far o all I have read. She is an extremely intelligent who has empowered herself through her surroundings. She has owned up to, and in so doing, has owned her life choices, as opposed to them owning her. I highly recommend this book. It's not a smut novel, so those looking for such need to look elsewhere. This is ...more
Jul 08, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
I had heard about the scandal in the media, Traci Lords, underage porn star, the princess of porn, but it hadn't occurred to me that she had entered the world of pornography unwillingly, a victim of sexual abuse, neglect. Being so young and naive, she was greedily exploited, a child of the night. It's no wonder she abused drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. I understood her need to defend herself after all these years with this tell all book, make peace with her past, put it behind her. I'm glad ...more
Mark Fleeman
Dec 30, 2015 Mark Fleeman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written and hard to put down. As her life story moves on you see just how strong of a woman she truly is. A very inspirational book.

I gave it five stars because it was much more than what I thought it was going to be. Her story had a bit of everything from the horrors of growing up in a dysfunctional home to funny parts when working on her movie sets
Recommended for anyone who needs a feel good book because ultimately for me that's what it was. Clearly an underdog who comes back strong in
Amanda Lyons
Apr 24, 2010 Amanda Lyons rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because it was candid(granted that meant the writing wasn't always great)and it avoided making her porn career the focus of the book. I think that Lords was quite open with this book and enjoyed the section on her acting in Crybaby over many of the other parts. I have to say that I'm glad she could get things resolved after all she went through because she seems to be an enjoyable and intriguing person.
Jan 27, 2010 Melodie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2003
I'm a sucker for these pop culture bios and was really looking forward to this one. I mean, come on, she was a porn star!! But it was pretty boring! I didn't find out anything really good here. Okay for passing some time.
Aug 26, 2016 Neri. rated it it was ok
2.5. There were some good chapters which explain her questionable choices in life but overall this book was 'meh'...
Lila Veen
Apr 19, 2014 Lila Veen rated it it was ok
Shelves: porn-memoirs
Some people have something that makes them interesting. Traci Lords has an obvious one: an underage porn career. Since this book doesn't focus so much on that but rather her struggle to break away from that side of her past, this book wasn't very interesting.
Feb 08, 2016 Viktor rated it liked it
I admire her later charity work. I also like how she has moved on. However, I have a hard time believing that she remembers nothing of her pre-18 porn career. She claims she was too stoned to know. Too many people who were there say otherwise.
Sep 07, 2007 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No idea why I read this... I guess I picked it up at the library one day and got engrossed. I became interested in her side of the story, since she is always demonized in the porn industry.
Kristin Myrtle
Jul 19, 2010 Kristin Myrtle rated it really liked it
A surprisingly well written biography. Lords is one smart girl.
Mar 28, 2015 Amelia rated it liked it
Traci Lords Underneath It All: Salacious Lives Are Just More Interesting!
A Review By: Amelia

Interested in more book reviews? Check out my blog Bookworms Unite! (

Any veteran readers of this blog know that I love reading the most salacious autobiographies I can find. Jenna Jameson’s porn star epic How To Make Love Like A Porn Star, The Last Living Slut about a legendary Iranian groupie, Party Monster for crazy club kids, Mommie Dearest about the abuse Joan
Aug 11, 2016 Holly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Traci fans, disbelievers, celebrity memoir readers
**This review contains spoilers, although you'll find as many details on Wikipedia**

I believe this is a significant, as well as entertaining, memoir, even if it did take me a few months to get through it. I'm sure plenty of people would finish in a day or two, it is an easier read, although the parts where she recounts her sexual assaults might provoke someone to take a break from it.

I noticed that Traci glosses over certain parts of her life that readers might be expecting her to elaborate fur
Jim Dooley
Mar 09, 2014 Jim Dooley rated it really liked it
This is not a book that would have drawn my attention in most circumstances. My knowledge of Traci Lords prior to reading it was that she had been an underage pornography actress, she was the centerfold in the notorious Vanessa Williams issue of PENTHOUSE, and that she made an incredibly abysmal Roger Corman film, the remake of NOT OF THIS EARTH. However, finding all of the "Good" autobiography digital books checked out and needing something to fill the time, I gave it a try.

What I read was a ve
What better way to end the reading year than with the autobiography of one of the most notorious names of the 80s.

I haven't decided if it's because this is very much a woman's narrative (and thus I relate more easily) or whether Lords's extensive therapy has given her more insight, but the introspection in this journey of addiction, exploitation, and recovery is much more honest and compelling than others I have read.

I did enjoy the fact that on the road to "legitimate" acting jobs, Lords does
J.E. Jr.
Feb 29, 2012 J.E. Jr. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
Like many men, I have struggled with the temptation to the use of pornography, especially since it is so readily available to anyone who wants it. One of the ways that, by God’s grace, I have been able to strengthen my resistance to that temptation is by learning to understand the objectification of women that occurs in the porn industry, and by recognizing how abusive and harmful is their participation in the creation of porn.

Traci Lords’ autobiographical work, Underneath It All, is helpful in
Sep 15, 2016 Danne rated it did not like it
i love Traci Lords, but this "autobiography" is a hatchetjob, at best, full of blatant lies, halftruths and corrected-with-the-benefit-of-hindsight "truths".
I had never heard of Traci Lords until I saw her on Oprah years ago, but there was something about her, and her life story that was really intriguing. I suppose a big part of it was wondering what type of childhood you must have to become a penthouse centerfold by the age of 16.

Not shockingly, it's an awful one; but her story presents more than just a never-ending series of horrific tragedies (although there is plenty of that). You get to know Traci and hear how she has dealt with and overcome h
Jan 07, 2016 Kit rated it really liked it
An unexpectedly well written and honest view into the life of a woman who was once notorious as a "teen porn queen".
Traci doesn't hold back on the events that lead to her notoriety in porn and popular culture, providing a sincere look at the effects of sexual assault, and how she managed to move into and then out of the world of pornography. That the events for which she is most commonly associated are not the entire focus of this book moves the reader away from the seedier moments and into the
Honey Halliwell
Jun 22, 2014 Honey Halliwell rated it really liked it
This book is written very conversationally by someone with an amazing memory.

Only three years older than me, Traci helped me embrace my sexuality with her final film. I loved what I believed was liberation; it's unfortunate the price she paid for it.

As an abused child who went through a lot of the same things, I related a lot to what she went through. It's hard to pull yourself out of a reputation you were near destined for given a life-situation childhood provided, but in reading, you could s
Apr 11, 2011 Deodand rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, usa
I've liked Traci since I first saw her in the TV series "First Wave" - she had the best role in that show. Even without her past, I am certain she would have been a famous actress.

The first comments I heard about the whole porn fiasco were about her master stroke - after all, she managed to have most of her films declared illegal when she was ready to leave porn. Those comments nagged at me. I mean, she was fifteen, how Machiavellian could she have been? Do you know any teenagers that are *that
Xiaofei Guo
Jul 03, 2012 Xiaofei Guo rated it really liked it
Shelves: bibliography
I do not remember how I end up reading this book. But the life of Traci is absolutely dramatic and inspirational.

I cannot image how she survive in a family with such irresponsible parents. The environment she grows up is a natural force that lead her into the porn business. However, she wakes up one day, and bravely fights back.

Her fame as a porn star not only gives her popularity, but also create a huge barrier for her to transition into an legitimate film actress. I highly suggest the reader
Michael Hermann
Aug 04, 2014 Michael Hermann rated it really liked it
Hate to admit this, but I started reading this book expecting to hate it for being another book that justified the porn lifestyle and tried to make the author look credible in her crossover to mainstream media outlets. What ended up happening is that I actually like the book and found myself empathizing with Traci Lords. If you want an indepth tell all of her exploits, this book isn't it, what it is instead is her telling the things she went through and how she ended up in the industry. I was ...more
Aug 27, 2013 Judy rated it liked it
This was an interesting read. Her childhood beginnings are not much different from many other women who work in sexually oriented businesses. She managed to see it wasn't the life for her and work her way out of the industry, overcoming the stigma of being a porn star (THE porn star, nonetheless) and an addict.

As an aside, it is interesting to see how many people comment on what type of childhood she had to lead her being a teen porn star, but nary a word about the industry itself that embraced
Jeremy Bagai
May 29, 2015 Jeremy Bagai rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
An uninspired memoir, but a useful illustration of borderline personality disorder.

Traci takes responsibility for exactly none of her actions. People who support her are valued (until she decides to move on) and anyone not actively looking out for her is a traitor. Every obstacle she faces is decidedly unfair, and when will the world finally forget all about her past and judge her solely for who she is now?

Interesting choice, legally changing your given name to your stage name. Or writing a lis
Izzy Rey
Jan 19, 2012 Izzy Rey rated it really liked it
Shelves: well-done
This book was less about the industry and more about a girl who was unfortunate enough to have large breasts at ten and a step-father that noticed. The unusual circumstances that lead a 14-year-old into porn and how it turned her into a coke head...everything is narrated in a fast paced and engaging way. It is not depressing because Traci moved on. I discovered Traci Lords at a record shop. I loved her CD and had NO idea she had been a porn star and couldn't have imagined the worst of it. Worth ...more
Jeffrey McKinley
Sep 21, 2012 Jeffrey McKinley rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about an extraordinary lady who conquered the odds of her early missteps. It is easy to judge people for the choices they make, especially when they are young. When you read a biography like this one, you get to see the factors that lead to a person making missteps and bad choices. There are bad people out there waiting to exploit those who are suffering from childhood misfortunes. Hopefully Traci Lord's bio will be looked at as a helpful, encouraging example of what not to do ...more
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Traci Lords (born Nora Louise Kuzma), also known as Traci Elizabeth Lords and Tracy Lords, is an American film actress, producer, film director, writer and singer. She first achieved notoriety for her underage appearances in pornographic films and Penthouse magazine (she was around 15 or 16 years-old in her first film), later becoming a television and B-movie actress.

In 2003 she published her auto
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