#5 Sliding into Home
By Kendra Wilkinson
Gallery Books, 2010
Kendra Wilkinson’s name will be familiar to the many fans of her two reality-TV shows, The Girls Next Door and Kendra, and the story she tells in Sliding Into Home, her heavily-ghostwritten 90-page memoir, will be familiar as well: a pretty blond girl comes to the attention of Hugh Hefner, gets invited to live in the Playboy Mansion, is paid $1,000 a week for an occasional five minutes of sex with the octogenarian, has sex with and then meets a professional football player, gets pregnant and marries him, and tells everybody in the world every single detail of it all.
Kendra has none of the qualities we naively associate with the writing of books. She is not intelligent – she appears, rather, to be almost unbelievably stupid. She’s not well-spoken – her Facebook updates and Twitter posts strongly suggest illiteracy, and perhaps struggles with simple cognition. She’s not particularly alive to the lessons her own life has tried to teach her – throughout her 90 pages, she constantly blames anybody but herself for every mistake or bad thing she’s ever done. And she’s not honest – the book has all the endless contradictions and evasions of someone who has never voluntarily told the truth about anything.
“Even though I was always up to no good, deep down I had a good heart,” Kendra tells us, in the middle of her account of dropping out of high school in order to smoke, drink, cut herself, do meth, snort coke, and share needles with heroin addicts. She assures us she wasn’t ever addicted or anything – “I just really, really liked how I felt when I was high. There’s a difference.” True, her really, really liking drugs causes her to steal money from her mother, grandmother, and friends, and true, she OD’s a few times, but the important thing is, it’s always somebody else’s fault. Like the time she tried out for a special traveling soccer team at school:
Despite the toll the drugs took, for the most part I was still a pretty good player. There was a traveling team that I really wanted to be on. It was expensive, and I knew my mom couldn’t afford it, but I tried out anyway and made the team. When my mom told me I couldn’t go, it was heartbreakng. When I realized I was stuck playing on the local team, my interest level dropped even further.
And why was it heartbreaking, when she knew all along her mother couldn’t afford it? Because nothing, nothing in the world, is more important to Kendra than what Kendra wants. Like every other ‘reality’ TV star, she is a compact, ever-churning tornado of nauseating egotism. That there’s a jostling crowd of consumers willing to make celebrities out of these idiots is not exactly an endorsement of our times.
It’s those consumers who are the audience for this booklet. Anybody else will be stopped on every page by the moronic inconsistencies typical of every bad liar. “Since I was always more comfortable around guys than girls, I never really knew if I was sexy or not … I really didn’t know how others saw me – and to be honest, I really didn’t care all that much,” she tells us, one page – 345 words – from “When I was in high school I was always dancing on tables and grinding on guys at parties. I would go to this all-ages club called Ice House and dance all night on stage, hogging the spotlight and winning all sorts of ass-shaking contests … I wasn’t shy at all – I loved the attention, in fact.”
And naturally, there are territorial squabbles with Hefner’s other sex-toys. At one point, one of them starts to say rude things to Kendra on Hefner’s private jet (or they aren’t rude and it wasn’t his private jet – the 90 pages contain a couple different versions):
“What the fuck, bitch?” I finally yelled. “Shut the fuck up!” She’s lucky I was buckled into my seat or I would have knocked her out.
“That’s why I like you, Kendra,” she said. “You tell it like it is.” Then she started calling me chickenhead and a bunch of other names.
I turned to Keith and said, “I’m going to knock this bitch out. Get your girl in check.”
Sliding Into Home is not a booklet written by a Playboy ‘bunny’ – as her hilariously straight-faced Wikipedia page informs us, Kendra was never officially one of Hefner’s ‘bunnies’ (apparently, there are ranks even among whores – King David could’ve told us as much) – but it may be the closest we ever get to a book written by an actual bunny, a petty, petted, fluffy, brainless, ruthlessly self-absorbed gnawing creature accustomed to being kept on display, used for pleasure, and, if there’s any justice in the world, discarded the instant it grows just a bit older.
Rita Consalvos works for an architectural firm in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and is a frequent contributor to Open Letters.