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PRUDE-f_printReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

Emily Southwood begins her life as a newly engaged woman in a very atypical fashion; her fiancé informs her that he has just been offered a job filming porn. Emily, who is about to finally make the move from Vancouver to Los Angeles to be with Robbie, is suddenly faced with a larger dilemma than just living with her future spouse for the first time. Without begrudging Robbie the opportunity to really begin his career and help pay off their student loans, Emily has to bite the bullet and deal with her discomfort over his new career.

The discomfort doesn’t fade and Emily does a poor job of hiding the fact that she finds Robbie’s new gig less than ideal. The open information, no secrets policy that she enacts ends up backfiring on her when she finds Robbie is into certain areas of porn she never knew about on top of him being very open and detailed about his days surrounded by naked women. Emily never seems to outwardly critique Robbie, and even when she does, her inner critic of herself is far harsher. In the book she takes a look at her own sexuality, willingness and confidence. She also ends up taking her self-doubt out on Robbie and her situation. Robbie shooting porn ends up becoming a learning experience for Emily that she didn’t know she needed. The further that she dives into trying to figure out porn, the impact it has on Robbie and her household (and bedroom), she ends up realizing the impact and portrayal it holds in society.

Emily is full of quick wit, self-reflection, observation and a dry humor that makes the reader realize that she’s completely vulnerable and accessible at the same time. Nothing is hidden Prude: Lessons I Learned When My Fiance Filmed Porn and the author makes a point to spare no detail nor hide any of her discomfort. Her unease and growth is shared by the reader and Emily Southwood acts as a soothing narrator. Porn is a topic that Americans have a hard time embracing, let alone discussing even though it’s very prevalent. Southwood shows that sexuality is not the underbelly of society, but rather the undercurrent of so much more and that’s why it cannot be ignored, even if it’s not understood or appreciated at first. The evolution that Emily undergoes is relatable and at times painful, but completely understandable.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Seal Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.