Terri Lenee Peake’s memoir is a fascinating read. Hers has been a life that very few of us know anything about, the world where the young, beautiful and amply endowed excel as exotic dancers and nude models. It doesn’t get into any debate about the objectification of women or moral judgments but instead it is an honest, plainspoken, personal account of life of a top rated professional dream girl living in the fast lane. Peake reveals how doggedly she pursued fame and stardom in this compelling read that is hard to put down once you get started.
Peake is not a professional writer but the way she tells her story enhances the authenticity of the read. Imagine her confiding her stories of success and failure directly to you, that you can hear her voice as she conveys the details of a life close to the edge – and sometimes over it. Although there are instances of redundancies and other stylistic quirks that some critics might point out as annoying or distracting, they’re really part of the way Peak stitches together her recollections in a more subjective and less chronological manner. For example, you find out right away that she succeeds but you also learn of the tragic loss that impacts her emotionally as the love of her life is executed in a gangland-style shooting.
Peake weaves a tale of what it was like to risk everything, especially her life to pursue her fantasy of becoming a centerfold for a major national magazine. Far from satisfying prurient interests with salacious details, the information she presents peals away the glittery façade revealing the tawdry underpinning and corruption underlying wholesale exploitation of sexuality. It is an important story that needs to be told and one that may impact anyone who consents to having breast augmentation surgery involving so-called `safe’ implants.The incredible highs of being treated as a glamorous star are followed with desperate lows from which it is amazing that the author emerges, not unscathed but a little wiser.
Born pretty and smart, early on, that’s really all she had going for her. Growing up in broken home she was abused physically, mentally and sexually, learning to be a fighter and survivor. Despite her diminutive stature she learned to be tough. Beneath her girl-next-door looks and curvaceous figure was a tenacious young lady determined to escape her humble origins, focusing on schoolwork and becoming interested in performing in theatrical productions. She graduated with high marks and started attending college. Like so many, though, she dreamed of being a movie star and was lured into a highly competitive world populated with other gorgeous girls.
In pursuit of her ultimate goal, Peake navigates an intriguing world, becomes romantically involved with an ultra possessive gangster and rubs elbows with the famous and semi-famous. In pursuit of her dream she consents to breast augmentation surgery prior to posing for a centerfold photo shoot – a once in a lifetime chance to make it big time. That decision leads not only to the greatest high in her life but also seriously endangers her health, risks her life as a mother of two and challenges her ability to earn a living and survive after her days as an exotic dancer are over.
Dying To Be A Centerfold is a compelling read that once started it is hard to set aside but make the time for it. After a while you’ll feel like you know the author as you pull for her to make it through her difficulties.
Review based on Kindle version of the book.