Porn*ol*o*gy -- and, yes, the title has those annoying dots in it everywhere it appears, so they're official -- claims to be the story of an ordinary "Good Girl" who decided to investigate "porn" (her umbrella term for everything and anything sex-related, from actual porn to brothels to strip clubs to sex toys) after her then-boyfriend called her "pornophobic." Along the way, she Met Cute -- repeatedly -- with the proverbial Great Guy who was at first put off by her zany pratfalls, but who finally succumbed to her feminine wiles.
At least one part of that is true: Ayn Carillo-Gailey knows nothing about any bit of the sex business, and doesn't even manage to look up from her own navel long enough to even think up any good questions to ask about it. I can believe the general outline of the story she tells in this book, but the details -- trying on a cock ring as a bracelet and getting it stuck, dancing spastically on the bar at Coyote Ugly and losing her shirt to the ceiling fan, not bothering to do basic research on the "radio sex therapist" whose show she's going to see -- are too sitcom-y and doofy to be believed.
I also find it difficult to believe that there are grown women, working in the media, living in such supposedly cosmopolitan cities as Los Angeles, who are as ignorant about sex and modern culture as Ms. Carrillo-Gailley claims to be. Maybe if she was living in a hovel -- or in Kansas City -- this would be understandable, but the woman has obviously seen Sex and the City, and otherwise is a functional member of modern society.
Oh, and one more thing: Ms. Carrillo-Gailey has not one but two comedy-relief ethic parents (different ethnicities, too). She seemed to be thisclose to dragging a wacky, smutty grandma out of the closet of tired cliches as well.
There are two reasons to read a book like this: for information or titillation. Any male readers, such as myself, are reading for the second reason, and will be vastly disappointed. (Unless they are even more sheltered than the author, in which case they are either Mormons or Amish.) Female readers, at whom the book is squarely and deliberately aimed, are more likely to be similarly innocent of the ways of the modern sex industry, and so they may find this of interest. However, women on the Internet have probably repeatedly stumbled across references to things that would make Ms. Carrillo-Gailley swoon at the mere thought of them...so it's my belief that anyone who might possibly be reading this review would have no need of, or much interest in, Porn*ol*o*gy. So do yourselves a favor and avoid it.
Note: I read this because I was poking through the new non-fiction section of my local library a week or so ago and the word "porn" jumped out at me -- I'll admit that. But I'm very happy no money changed hands.
Postscript, two years later: This post seems to get a hit most days -- I don't know if anyone is actually reading it, or if the vast Porn Engines of the Internet are just casting smut-seekers up on my shores randomly. But I did want to add, for the benefit of anyone who might be reading this review, that I now think I was entirely too mean about Ms. Carillo-Gailey and her book. I still don't think Porn*ol*o*gy was very good, but I was definitely trying to show off above, which is generally not helpful. So take all of this with a large grain of salt.