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The Last Days of August

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  4,223 ratings  ·  497 reviews
In December 2017 the famous porn star August Ames committed suicide in a park in the Conejo Valley. It happened a day after she’d been the victim of a pile-on, via Twitter, by fellow porn professionals - punishment for her tweeting something deemed homophobic.

A month later, August’s husband, Kevin, connected with Jon Ronson to tell the story of how Twitter bullying killed
Audiobook, 4 pages
Published January 3rd 2019 by Audible Studios
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Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
The truth is, it's impossible to tell a story about sex industry that is not utterly devastating. As one of the interviewees of The Last Days of August says, the industry is built on the backs of mentally ill. I wouldn't put it so narrowly, but yeah, even those who find themselves empowered by working in porn or prostitution, if you (I mean the people who do the actual research) dig deep enough, turn out to have come from some kind of trauma.

Jon Ronson hasn't uncovered anything new, even though
Sam Quixote
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In December 2017, pornstar August Ames (real name Mercedes Grabowski) found out that she was scheduled to shoot a scene with a male performer who had previously done gay porn and not been subsequently tested. As a result, she refused to perform in the scene and tweeted out this refusal and explanation to her followers on Twitter. This immediately led to a series of intense tweets from people calling her homophobic, demanding her to apologise and, in one case, telling her to swallow a cyanide pil ...more
Kevin Kelsey
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Whew, this was a wild, emotional ride. Jon Ronson always delivers.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Audiobook narrated by Jon Ronson 3hrs 43mins 10 secs
My second Audible original selection for January reunited me with Jon Ronson (The Butterfly Effect) who once again takes listeners to the backstage of the porn industry. As Jon and his producer delve into the death of the young porn star, August Ames( real name Mercedes Grabowski), my head was spinning from all the secrets, lies, and dare I say half-truths?
What I think is very important about Ronson's work in both this and The Butterfly
Sonja Arlow
2.5 stars

This was one of the free Audible Original picks for January and is an audio documentary / podcast from the author of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry.

To be honest I think I was expecting an in-depth look at online/social media bullying when in reality it was an investigation into the porn industry and the sad death of a young woman who clearly had big issues to deal with.

I have never found the porn industry disgusting or titillating, I find it deeply sad. All
Angus McKeogh
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can’t say enough about Ronson. Interesting, well-written, compassionate, thought-provoking. I’m not even going to dock any stars for this being audio only. Just bring me more of his stuff.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a 7-part free series on Audible and I picked this up after listening to the Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson. It's actually super quick to get through as each part is only about 30mins, but it's a look at the life of an A-list pornstar after she is found to have committed suicide on the day she was bullied online about some seemingly homophobic comments she made on social media.

This is a story I hadn't heard of before Ronson investigated it, and it was one I immediately wanted to uncover t
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
DNF. This has no point. It's not sufficiently about anything it reports to be - not enough about cyber bullying, or suicide, or mental health, or abuse, or porn, or anything. If it's one thing it's about 3 hours of gossip.
Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
Jon Ronson and Neil Gaiman are 100% the reasons I listen to audiobooks. Those Welsh (actually maybe Gaiman is just straight English?) wonders have the most delicious whispery voices and i will listen to either of them read anything. Even, apparently, a weird long-form podcast about the porn industry.
Sebastien Castell
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There's an easy way to tell if you're going to enjoy a Jon Ronson book: just figure out if you like Jon Ronson. His style and approach are so consistent across subjects that he could probably write about just about anything and I'd find it fascinating.

In this particular case, the subject is the death by suicide of a young woman in the adult film industry and the varying places where those who knew her seek to lay blame, both to make sense of something that feels so needlessly tragic and to justi
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Last Days of August is a fascinating look inside a tragedy that most of the world ignored because it happened to a porn actress. Jon Ronson set out on this journey because he believed the reason the beautiful, 23-year old August Ames hanged herself in the woods was because of a social media "pile-on". That was enough to grab my attention, but what we're left with is so much more interesting than that, if no more fulfilling.

August Ames was one of the more popular porn stars in the world when
Brendan Monroe
In an effort to catch up on this year's Reading Challenge, on which I am woefully behind schedule, I am going to cheat and add this ... well, it's not an audiobook as it's not a "book", simply an Audible Original.

Speaking of Audible, it breaks my heart that they're owned by Amazon. What a pity. I've made a personal commitment not to order anything from Amazon due to the fact that they're a major corporation and one that, it's widely reported, treats the majority of their employees (particularly
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another spectacular work by Mr Ronson. Listen to The Butterfly Effect first, then follow up with this tragic tale.
Chafic (Rello)
Investigative journalism with a podcast interview-style reminiscent of 'Serial'.

Jon Ronson looks into the aftermath of the suicide of notable porn star August Ames' back in 2017, which was initially attributed to social media bullying.
This book takes a deeper dive into the investigation around those who suspect it may not have been a suicide and brings up a dialogue/commentary on the toll it takes on the young women of the adult industry.

Just a fascinating listen.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great audio-book from Jon Ronson.

The Last Days of August is like a continuing journey from the previous audio book by Jon Ronson: the butterfly effect. This also covers the concept of the porn industry however the main topic is the death of a young porn star: August Ames. Ames took her own life in a park after she was 'bullied' on twitter for a tweet which caused a backlash.

This covers the life of a porn star, relationships in this industry and mental health. Something which really stu
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Multiple times in this book the author and narrator says he’s not telling a murder mystery yet he incessantly sets up each chapter, each transition, and each snippet of interview as if he is telling a murder mystery and some truth bomb is about to go off. And he spoon feeds it in an annoying manner, such as “I tell you this now because it becomes important later” or “this detail is important when we discuss such and such” sort of narration. Give the reader some credit for connecting dots on his ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I really liked Ronson's book on shame so I thought this audiobook would be a nice follow-up and I get the sense that he did too, but then the story is not what he thinks it is and then he tries to make it a murder mystery and digs himself a hole and then he tries to save himself from it by coming up with some banal lessons.

But I did think the view into the business of the porn industry and the interviews with some of the women was really interesting
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
The seven part audible original was a mixed bag. Exploring the suicide of pornstar August Ames - the book tries to understand the cheery star's environment looking for clues.

Ronson gets called in to investigate the death by her husband Kevin who pegs it as a case of Twitter bullying. At the end of first episode it is established the Twitter pile on is not the only reason.

Credit to the production team - they establish very early on it is not a murder. In one of the later chapters they get told of
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my second audiobook by Jon Ronson focused on some aspect of the pornography industry and I truly love his style. In The Last Days of August, he digs into the apparent suicide of 23-year-old porn star August Ames. Frankly, this is the only access I plan to have into the business and I'm glad that Ronson and his producer, Lena (not sure of the spelling because it's an audiobook...) spend months tracking people down and interviewing a good many people in an effort to paint a picture of not ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Jon Ronson investigates what he thinks is another instance of internet mob brutality of the kind he profiled in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed: A porn star commits suicide after being harshly called out for her ostensibly homophobic tweets.

It turns out there’s a lot more to the story, and all of it is depressingly sordid. As the victim’s husband, a porn producer, says: “You don’t get into this [industry] if you’re a well-adjusted human being.”
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Another recycled podcast from Audible's failed attempt at podcasting converted into an audiobook. However, unlike Twain's Feast the production values and research is top notch. Once you get past the subject matter (the porn industry) and the seriously screwed up people involved, Ronson conducted a surprisingly compassionate look at the suicide of a young actress. The only reason I give this 3 instead of 4 stars is the yuck factor.
Interesting and quite compelling. Ronson looks into the suicide of August Ames, an adult movie star, who apparently took her life after online bullying. Only, was this the only reason? The story unfolding says otherwise, even though this isn't a classcial true crime (in a sense of whodunnit) tale. It's more a general look at the porn industry, its players and relations.

I really enjoyed the way the story was unfolding, it was quite revealing to see who spoke to Ronson, when, and what they said. V
Jessica Frances
This was a really interesting listen. I didn't know this story before hearing this, but I thought it was portrayed well and in a way where it was just presenting the facts. I think many things from this will stick with me for a while. It brought up, and helped shine a light on, a lot of issues that I think need more attention. I definitely recommend to anyone who knew of August Ames, who is interested in hearing about what struggles and life this woman led, and anyone who is just looking to list ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology, usa
Jon has produced an absolutely riveting audio documentary on the current state of the porn industry. An environment where young girls who are casually encouraged to please men at a cost of their own emotional selves. The men in the porn industry are generally middle-aged but haven't really mentally aged beyond their teenage years. They are still watching porn and playing video games and are social recluses, whom working girls mistakenly assume to be father figures will look after their welfare. ...more
Dawn C
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: media-audible
Following the suicide of young porn star August Ames, journalist Jon Ronson starts to unravel what really lay behind her tragic death. What on the surface looks to be a case of cyberbullying that pushed her over the edge, a topic Ronson has written a great deal about and his initial focus on the case, quickly turns into a complex look at the people closest to her and the much deeper root of August's demise. Thorough and unsensationalized, it's a chilling and very important scrutiny and I highly ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Small town girls, tweet mobs, porn stars
Jon Ronson, a journalist who writes a lot about social media and contemporary culture, has done pieces on the porn industry before, with The Butterfly Effect, but I think this was a better work, as it's the result of a year-long investigation focused on a single individual's story. Compiled from a podcast series into an Audible original, it's a combination of narrative and interviews, in which Ronson speaks candidly about his ethical qualms at various points during the investigation.

The subject
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm not a fan of the generalization that all women working in porn have some kind of unresolved mental trauma and/or daddy issues. After all, porn is one of the few industries where the female performers' salaries far outstrip (pun not intended but left in...god, everything can be a pun when we're talking porn, eh?) that of their male co-stars. That said, as Ronson's latest foray into the porn world - after The Butterfly Effect - makes apparent, misogyny is still alive and kicking in the industr ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Jon Ronson's work and this was no exception. What I enjoy about his work is that he follows the story wherever it goes. This started out as an additional piece following on from his book on public shaming but this story soon turns into something else. WHat is so compelling about the Last Days of August is all the grey. There's no black and answers because what seems so obvious to an outsider becomes so complex when you speak to all the people in this woman's life. Not one person has the s ...more
Ron Versetto
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I wasn't really sure what to make of this book and I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone as I didn't really find a conclusion, opinion or singular focal point of the story.

The book was free on Audible and I thought it was supposed to focus on the details surrounding the death of an adult film actress. However the story jumps all over the place from speculation on the actress' death, implications of a potential murder and grandiose statements about the entirety of the adult film business. Had t
Andrea Trenary
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
I really enjoyed this, since it was basically a 'true crime' esque podcast. And I love those. Listened to on Audible, glad I got this one.
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Play Book Tag: The Last Days of August - Jon Ronson 3.5/5 (audible original) 4 13 May 18, 2019 10:14PM  

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Jon Ronson is a writer and documentary filmmaker. His work includes the international bestsellers Them: Adventures With Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats, which was adapted into a major motion picture starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.

A contributor to The Guardian, Ronson is the author of the columns "Human Zoo" and "Out of the Ordinary". He writes and

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