"Why live life constrained by the boundaries of what we traditionally think of as gender lines?”
It is with this wonderfully inspiring thought that Chris Burrows introduces us to the world of Porn's Stars - the title of which is a deliberate pun. Porn is actually a beautiful young transsexual, a friend and mentor to many within the Asian community, and the woman who helped encourage Chris down the path of gender exploration with her rather candid observation that everyone is part male and part female.
There's something so innocent and free about Porn's stories, so welcoming and all-embracing, that you cannot help but fall in love with her. The stories here are sensual as much as they are sexual, as much intelligent as they are erotic. These are stories of real people, each with their own very personal thoughts and feelings about gender. Some are gay, some are straight, some are bisexual, and some may be any of the above, depending on how they're expressing themselves as the time.
As is the case in many of Chris' books, the narrative framework uses a pair of storytellers (Chris and Porn) to distance the reader from the experiences. That allows for a wonderful validation of not just the characters and their experiences, but of our thoughts and feelings in identifying with them. It's a wonderful way of sharing the stories, one that is all-embracing and empowering, without coming across as preachy or artificial.
The stories here encompass the full spectrum of gender expression, from curious cross-dressers discovering themselves for the first time, to out-and-proud transsexuals sharing their pleasures. They are stories were both gender and sexuality are fluid, and where those aforementioned boundaries can be forgotten. It makes for a wonderful variety of erotic experiences in which to share, sexual dalliances that evoke an emotional response wherein you cannot help but vicariously enjoy the moment, even if you wouldn't express yourself the same way.
It's hard to pin Chris down to a genre, but I would describe these stories as erotic romance. They're very well told, honest and realistic, and equally focused on the emotions as well as the physical sensations. Never vulgar or crude, the writing flows naturally, creating a conversational style that really does feel like a bed-side sharing of happy moments. Don't get me wrong, the erotic moments are exceptionally hot but, like the stories themselves, are tastefully told.
[Reviewed by Sally]