I Am Jennie – Book

Drunk and high, holed up in a hotel room with a beautiful blonde she barely knew, Jennie Ketcham was thirty-six hours away from entering rehab. Her on-camera alter ego, Penny Flame, was a rising star. Her personal life, however, had been getting worse for years and finally hit an all-time low.

Guys are gonna want one thing from you. To Jennie’s young ears, her father’s advice meant one thing: You can use your sexuality to control men. Life was imploding around her: her parents’ divorce, their spiraling addictions, her deteriorating relationships with them. She lost her virginity at thirteen and began a game of initiating boys her age into manhood. For the fleeting moments she spent in bed with them, she got to be the center of attention.

Eventually, Jennie found porn—that enticing world of immediate gratification, endless drugs, and seemingly endless money—and became Penny Flame. Divorced from her feelings, tempted into a lifestyle she couldn’t afford, financially or emotionally, she entered Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew to boost her career. But when Dr. Drew and his staff insisted she go by her real name, the once indestructible walls she had built around herself began to burn down.

Two stories make up this direct and disarming memoir: that of a troubled girl desperately fleeing intimacy and herself, and that of a woman courageously breaking down emotional barriers to build a new life. Many will recognize Jennie’s struggles: confusing sex with self-worth, addiction with love, detachment with strength. Ultimately, I Am Jennie is a tale of a woman who considers herself a work in progress but who finally understands that the only person she can truly afford to be is herself.

***

I had never allowed myself to wonder why i ran from people, from connection, from what Dr. Drew was labeling as intimacy. I had never questioned why I habitually hurt the men I dated, or the people in my family. I had never thought: Jennie, why are you doing this?

In the past, I had simply acted, and then moved forward. If I felt like crying, I shut the emotions down. This quality made me a good porn star. But it suddenly didn’t seem like a great way to live.

“It’s a wall,” I whispered.

“What do you think is behind that wall?” Dr. Drew said.

He looked directly in my eyes. The thought of something existing behind this impenetrable wall was horrifying, exhausting. I grabbed a Kleenex, thinking if I could make the perfect triangle, I could dab my inner eyes without disrupting the glue that held my fake eyelashes in place.

“Hopefully, a caring, sensitive person who can have meaningful relationships,” I said.

PRE-ORDER: I Am Jennie 

38 Responses “I Am Jennie – Book” →
  1. Hey Jennie,
    Glad to hear your doing well. I saw you on the news with Dr Drew. I just wanted to say hi and that my heart goes out to you. I’m planning on buying your book soon. Keep being awesome.

    Rob

    Reply
  2. It really is an amazing read. That you were able to find such clarity and sanity from such murkiness and insanity in such a relatively short time is a testimony to both your own obvious inner strength and the quality of the people you surround yourself with (most notably Dr. D and Mr. M). We both know this is just the beginning of an amazing ride :-)

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      July 12, 2012

      you are 100% right in your statement about the people surrounding me! Without them, the inner strength would never have found it’s way to the surface. I am thrilled you are enjoying it, and thrilled that you are here with me.

      Reply
  3. Hi Jennie,
    I bought your book two nights ago and I can’t put it down. You are such an honest writer, and your voice really comes through the pages. I’m enjoying your story and I really admire you for finding the strength to completely change your life. God bless.

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      July 13, 2012

      Thank you for the support and love Erin, and for participating in my recovery. xo

      Reply
  4. Hi Jennie

    Wow I loved your book. It’s crazy that you survived all of that and got out alive. I think you will be a huge inspiration to other porn girls to leave the industry. I hope lots more will because of you esp you friend Camilla.

    Dr Drew and Jill sound like wonderful therapists. I’ve been struggling with depression for years and hope that I can come out at the end smiling like from your tough life.

    Soo happy that everything is going great for you. I’m sure you have your off days too. Keep us updated with what’s going on.

    Lots of love from Adelaide, Australia. You need to come visit us down here. I’m sure you would love it Jennie xxx

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      July 20, 2012

      Thank you Adelaide (LOVE the name by the way!)… I am sure you can work through the depression, if I can work through this shit anyone can you know? I am positive that with your hopeful attitude, determination, and the right support, you will come out the end smiling. You may even find yourself in the middle smiling.

      Thanks for commenting here, and keep at it!

      Reply
  5. Please make this book text to speech enabled on kindle..if it was text to speech I know 3 people who’d purchase it right now…please talk to your publisher about making it text to speech…Thank You so much for an inspiring story..

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      July 26, 2012

      Great suggestion, and I will definitely write to my publisher and ask if we are going to do something like that!

      Reply

  6. Julie Verhoff Pipes

    July 28, 2012

    I just finished the book. Tears in my eyes. Best wishes for the life you deserve!

    Reply
  7. Hi Jennie, I just finished your book, read it in one sitting, I cant remember the last time I did that! I got in the program in 1999 and your book reminded me once again why I work to stay sober, on all levels. You make a wonderful voice for the words that I think every addict can relate to; I sure did. You are such a great writer, and even though I dont know you, I want to tell you that I a proud of you. What you have done in changing your life is remarkable enough, but you have also written a roadmap for anyone trying to find their way back home.

    Reply

  8. sogetthis99

    August 6, 2012

    Just finished the book. It was all wonderfully said. Although I had the same sense of sadness toward the end that I had toward the end of watching SR and to a lesser extent SH. Not about you, but about the cast members that it appeared were not going to get better. I had the same reaction about your friend Camilla. She hates what she’s doing, wants to stop, she’s barely making ends meet, but continues because she’s put everything she has into “the company”.

    In a sad way it’s brings up an image of a ski/snowboarding cartoon I saw years ago. Picture yourself at Mammoth. Despite the long lines you’re going on the lifts anyway because it’s G.D. long drive up there. The lines are really long. You finally get on the lift, get off at the top, and then you have to hike uphill from the end of the ski lift so that you can get to the end of the line.

    Camilla pours all her money into this company, has to do things she hates to make ends meet… to be able to pour more money back into the company….to do things she hates.

    With good fortune maybe someday Camilla will be allowed, or decide for herself to reach the same moment of awakening you did, of the type where it’s not a question of wanting, or even desperately wanting, but becomes that she simply CANNOT do this anymore, PERIOD.

    Perhaps her personal SR and village will arrive for her. Or perhaps she’ll be motivated one day to visit an everyday, non-industry/untainted financial planner to work out a 2-3 year financial plan to exit this business, to a healthier life and job without having to “just quit paying the bills”.

    SR, SH and your book allowed us to care about others we would have never known or heard about. I pray and hope for a healthier life for them also.

    Reply
  9. Jennie,
    I’ve been a fan of you and your blog for the past few years. I’m so grateful for you, your story, and the courage you have to tell it. I’m eager to buy your book and get the whole story, as only you can tell it. I was wondering, however, is there any way to get it signed by you? Thanks for all of your time over the past few years. You are a true wonder.

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      August 20, 2012

      For sure Ginny, I have some extra Book Plates, if you want one. Send me your address and I’ll send it out with the lot.
      Info@iamjennie.com thank you and glad you are here.

      Reply
  10. I’ll be seeking out your book. Did some research on what it was generally about and you seem very interesting. We’re not the same person obviously but I too have struggled with addiction. Having Severe OCD and social anxiety has made me pretty much a hermit and recluse throughout most of my life. Success stories are inspiring and can teach a lesson weather its related or not and I thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  11. Stephster

    August 28, 2012

    So I promised my review and here it is!

    My initial reaction to reading the first chapter of the book can only be described as “stunned”. As I’ve read your blog and you’ve spoken about your past, I never imagined it to be as you described it. As I read, I could see it, hear it, feel it….even smell it as If I was there watching this happen to you. They say that if an actor can physically make you feel what the character is feeling, then they are a great actor…you, lady, are a phenominal writer. From the first moments of your book I was captured by your brutal honesty. Maybe it’s because I’ve been here reading your words and exchanging comments with you that it gave me a more familiar, or personal feel, but I felt that you held nothing back. If this story was to be told, the only way to do it justice was to “bare all”. I think that the cover photo for your book is completely apropo; you laid it all out for the world to see. All the hurt, confusion, pain, sadness, anger….it’s all there in your words. You also had to strip away the layers of protection from many jaded years in order to accomplish what you have.

    However, as I was pulled and grasped by all of the chaos and turmoil, in every single paragraph, sentence, and word, I also felt hope. To me, that was the most impressive. A lot of people would have given up, or (if they were in your shoes) the moment they felt their defenses beginning to crumble, self-preservation would kick in and they would have quit the process and continued to remain in their coccoon no matter how unhealthy it was for them because it was safe….but not Jennie. Jennie was scared to death, but Jennie faced the pain, Jennie challenged it, and Jennie continues to take control of her life.

    Jennie is my hero. I wish someday I could be as brave as Jennie.

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      August 29, 2012

      You absolutely already are as brave as me. It’s in you. I can see it. I bet other people can see it too.

      Now, it’s your turn to see it in yourself. xo

      Reply

  12. chuck D

    August 31, 2012

    Holy Christ, the commenters here are delusional… the woman is not a martyr or a hero because she quit banging on film and stopped doing drugs, it just means she has taken a couple of steps to make herself happier… a lot of the people here could really use some perspective. Anyways Jennie, thanks for the beat-off material all these years…cheers!

    Reply

  13. Stephster

    August 31, 2012

    You are absolutely correct. Jennie is not a martyr since she still lives and breathes and hasn’t been killed or persecuted for her choices….and as much as I hate to admit it again, you are right; she isn’t a hero…because, you know, she’s female….Jennie is a heroine to a lot of people because she had the strength and courage to look at herself and acknowledge that this was not how she wanted to continue to live. She could have stayed and made lots of money…instead she decided respecting and loving herself was worth more than a cheap buck for an hours worth of dirty work. She’s also learning to love herself despite any faults she feels she has which is something that almost everyone struggles with. Instead of continuing to objectify her with your crude comments, why dont you have some perspective and read her book and then take a moment to put yourself in her shoes? Maybe you’ll learn to respect yourself too…then you can respect others.

    (Sorry Jen….)

    Reply
  14. I bought and read your book. The way you closed the door on your past and resisted grabbing the knob is almost unbelievable. I pictured you as tentatively stepping away from that door onto slippery irregular ground unsure on a dimly lit path. The steps are surer now and the light seems to be getting brighter. Cheers for you.
    So many of your blog commenters have had addictions parallel to yours and offer positive, practical advice well received by you. I have always feared addiction and do not share the damaging ones you depict (to, I’m afraid, end up being rather dull but don’t mention peanut butter). As you well explain and show examples, much of your deeper problems hinged on avoiding intimacy, a stance that resulted from early causes and protected you on many fronts. Your revelation, realization that intimacy is a pillar of a healthy life is for me the profound disturbing lesson of your book. I am myself trying to write my memoirs and wonder if I have your quality of courage (and literary skill) to face vacancies in my life that have resulted from my avoiding intimacy. You are an inspiration. Thanks.

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      September 4, 2012

      You absolutely have the courage. That you are willing to look at and question what it will take is the first step. You do. Write. Do not fear your words or your feelings. The will all fade with time.

      And when you are feeling strong, try sharing your work with someone. Start building your intimacy muscles.

      Reply
  15. Hi Jennie! I accidently came across your book as I was placing a hold for another on my library’s website. I am so glad that you have the courage to tell it like it is, because I was almost tempted to go down the same path when I was 17. I totally agree with you that being in an industry, such as porn, it is about validation and instant gratifcation (not always in the form of an orgasm, but maybe a buzz from a drug or maybe worse and more intoxicating, a hyperinflated ego). There was a time when I saw sex as a way to feel more confident about my sensuality, thankfully it’s not the case now. I am married to a wonderful man who encourages my sensuality and sexuality which increases my self-esteem in a healthy way. Your strength to rediscover yourself is definitely one of several things about you I hope you are proud of, keep up the great work =)

    Reply
  16. at what age u loose ur virginity ?

    Reply
  17. Hi Jennie,
    Like many around here I found your book and blog a true godsend. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for your sincerity, openess, and honest dialogue about your recovery I wouldn’t be here today.

    Not only did I check myself in recovery, but you also inspired me to create a blog about my own recovery. Here’s a link: http://hackthyself.net/2012/09/05/to-be-or-not-to-be-that-was-the-question/ .

    If you do get a chance to read the post, I can only hope it’ll help lighten your load as you see how you’ve touched and helped on more lost soul.

    Thank you again Jennie. May Gravity continue to carry you onward and protect you on your own Recovery Journey.

    Reply
  18. Hi Jennie! I am in the middle of reading your book thanks from a shout out from Perez Hilton and I just want to say keep up the good work. You have overcome so may things and should always keep your head held high.

    God bless!

    Reply
  19. Hi there. I picked up your book last night at the B&N in Mission Valley. Thank you for sharing. I am so happy for you. The promises they are a coming true for you…in spades. DG Day 6. Having only a week of abstinence from internet porn, getting through Chapter 1 was to say the least a bit tough. I had my hand in the air a couple of times, but I made it through, and I am the better for it. No doubt there will be other rough sections, but that’s okay. I can do this. Thank you again.

    Reply

    • becomingjennie

      September 21, 2012

      Ch 1 is pretty much the toughest chapter of the whole book, at least in terms of graphic sexuality. The rest will be more “user” friendly ;) But if you are triggered, don’t feel compelled to force your way through it. Put it down. Come back to it. If you find you can’t read the part then skip over. I will not be offended and you will be the healthier for knowing your boundaries. welcome to the rooms and keep coming back amigo.

      Reply
      • Jennie, Thank you so much for the support. It really means a lot. Say, what is the likelihood of getting an inspirational inscription from you inside of it? Sorry, I missed your book tour through San Diego. By the way, 8, 9, 10 and 11 are no picnic either. Geez, gravity, or God, or whatever, really wants you here, otherwise, well, I think you would have been taken somewhere at the beginning of Capter 9. And then I nearly peed my pants when I read about pour Manuel’s toungue. 12-15 were only hard because my eyes were all blurry from crying. Thank you for helping me get in touch with some feelings I’d been numbing with internet porn, and escorts. Keep up the great work, you are great. Thank you. DG (gonna stop the count, this is your recovery, not mine, but I was abstinent all day to day, thank you very much.)

      • As I said, I’ve been dancing around the middle circle lately. So curiousity got the better of me, cat’s have lost their lives for less, and I went to Google and typed in Penny Plame and Manuel Ferrara. It took minutes for my brain to finally rationalize clicking the link. It took several more minutes for it to rationlize clicking play. And you know what, as I sat there and watched (you looked so different) and listened (my, my, those chain smoked Parliments did a number on your voice) to Penny do the intro set up for the scene, the feelings I had, they were all muddled. I wasn’t aroused, I wasn’t ashamed, I wasn’t sad for Jennie, I didn’t have pity for Jennie. It’s like I saw through the porn to the woman on the other side, and I saw porn for the first time. It was surreal, and I couldn’t watch it. I just couldn’t. So, I clicked off, and went to bed. Penny was good, because Jennie was. But Jennie is is great, because Jennie is. You are Jennie. Best of luck to you with your new healthy life. DG

  20. Happy New Year, JK! I haven’t followed the blog in a long, long while, but I was very happy/surprised/proud when I strolled into the library last week and saw your book displayed! Read it over X-mas, what a wonderful accomplishment and a damn fine book you have produced and given to the world. So rad! Congrats!

    Also, listen to Tame Impala’s “Lonerism” album if you haven’t heard it already.
    It’s the giving season…so there’s my gift. Thanks for the book-gift. Ha. JRL

    Reply
  21. Hi Jennie!

    I have been watching you on celebrity rehab, reading your blog and finished your book in 2 days! Just want to say thank you for sharing. I have been through therapy myself for abandonment issues and straight afterwards, went to uni and got my degree and its the best thing I ever did. I have an inner child, who I nurture and prioritise.

    Keep doing what you are doing and keep sharing. You can change your whole life and offer others so much inspiration.

    Lots of love

    Katie

    Reply
  22. You are a good writer Jennie Ketcham.

    Reply
  23. Does Jennie Ketcham have an Active Blog as of January 2013?

    I admire her strength from seeing her a few times on HLN/Dr. Drew & VH-1/Sex Rehab.

    Also a Survivor in Recovery & have a Grad. Degree to help people.

    Thanks.

    Peace.

    Thanks.

    Reply

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