Review: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson

October 14, 2016 2.5 stars, 2016 Review Challenge, Autobiography, Book Review, Boring Main Characters, Hardback, Meh, Non- Fiction, TSTL heroine 0 ★★½

Review: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson two-half-stars
Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson
Published by Gallery Books on July 6, 2010
Genres: AutoBiography, Nonfiction
Pages: 246
Format: Hardcover
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KENDRA BARES ALL Fans of the E! smash hit series "The Girls Next Door "fell in love with sporty Playboy beauty Kendra Wilkinson's care- free spirit, infectious laugh, and down-to-earth nature. Now that she's moved out of the world's most famous bachelor pad and into her own delightfully chaotic world on "Kendra "as wife to NFL star Hank Baskett and mother to their newborn son, we've watched her hilarious antics as she adjusts to domestic life. But how much do we really know about the fun-loving star? In this humorous and optimistic, sometimes heartbreaking, but always unfailingly honest memoir, Kendra reveals the highs and lows of her extraordinary journey.

She wasn't always the quintessential girl next door. Before she was a reality television superstar, Hugh Hefner's girlfriend, or one of the most popular Playboy cover models ever, Kendra was an athletic tomboy whose father walked out on her family when she was a little girl. She grew into a rebellious teenager with a serious drug habit before she quit cold turkey and beat the odds to graduate from a high school that almost didn't give her a second (or third, or fourth) chance.

Following her rocky teenage years, an out-of-the- blue phone call from Hugh Hefner changed everything. Kendra dishes candidly about life in the Playboy Mansion: the sex, the parties, the show, and even her relationships with her "Girls Next Door "costars--Hef, Holly, and Bridget. She tells the true story about how she and Hank met and built a relationship in secret while she was still Hef's girl- friend and a public face of Playboy. Finally, she reflects on the slew of unexpected changes in the short space of a year that have brought her sliding into home from Playboy party girl to wife and mother with a blooming Hollywood career. If you think you've seen all of Kendra, think again. She's only warming up. . . .

As I cracked open Sliding Into Home, I realized I’d hit a new low in my reading activities. I mean, I think Kendra is cute but I never thought she could read or anything like that.

Wait. That was mean and unnecessary.

I actually like Kendra. When I used to watch The Girls Next Door, I always liked Kendra most. She always seemed to be the most sincere, fun and real. And by real I mean that she didn’t appear to be pretending (but I’m sure she was – they all are).

But still. Reading Sliding Into Home isn’t one of my finest moments.

When I made the decision to read Sliding into Home, I decided to read Izabella St. James’s Bunny Tales first: it was written years and years before Sliding into Home so I felt I would get the…least biased commentary on Kendra, Holly and Bridget. And I’m glad I did!

In the very first chapter of Sliding into Home I realized I needed to read Sliding into Home with a sharp eye for bullshit, Bunny Tales at hand and a browser open to the latest arguments between Holly and Kendra. Why? Because the very first chapter of Sliding into Home was was already filled with BS:

I was eighteen years old and lived in San Diego. Who did I know in LA?

“Hello?” I answered.

“Hello, is this Kendra?”

“Who is this?”

“This is Hugh Hefner.”

“Year, right,” I said, thinking it was a prank call. “Shut the fuck up.”

It wasn’t a prank.

“I look forward to seeing you at my birthday,” he said. “Also, I’d like you to consider being my girlfriend.”
-pg 7, Sliding Into Home

I knew this entire phone call was BS from reading Bunny Tales. First: Hugh Hefner is old and set in his ways – and one of the things he doesn’t do is chase pussy. If he sees some pussy he wants, either it shows up and throws itself at his money him or someone goes and gets the pussy for him. In fact, he has staff and one of the duties of his assistant, Mary, is to keep track of girls and invite [new girls] places. Second, Izabella was still a Girlfriend at the time Hugh met Kendra and she recalls the first time Hugh met Kendra:

And then a new girl entered the group. Her name was Kendra, and she was one of the naked painted girls at Hef’s birthday party in April 2004. Her job was to hand out Jell-O shots to all the guests, but Kendra stood firmly in front of our table all night to be sure that Hef saw her. He did. He invited he out with us, and strangely enough, Holly and Bridget took her under their wing. We [the other Girlfriends] understood what they were up to, but we were too disinterested to do anything about it. We knew Kendra was really just like us; I saw her doing her booty dance at the clubs, looking around for boys, and flirting with the security guys. I knew she wanted to be a Girlfriend and it was in her interest to befriend Holly and Bridget, but I realized the limits of that friendship. I knew as soon as we were gone, they would turn against her because she was younger, more attractive, and had an outgoing personality. I couldn’t figure out why Kendra, at eighteen, would want to live at the Mansion.

[SNIP]

But the butlers told us that Kendra was a stripper from San Diego, and thought that moving into the Mansion was the best thing she could do in her life to that point.
-St. James, Bunny Tales, p231

Once chapter one was complete, Sliding into Home takes the reader on whirlwind tour of Kendra’s fucked up childhood. It starts with her deadbeat father who was not present and a mother who’s idea of discipline is yell a lot and grounding.

By twelve years old (12), Kendra was a grown ass little girl. It really made me feel as if her mom just…either didn’t know or didn’t care to know how to maintain a good relationship with her child or protect her child. I admit I am having a problem understanding how an adult lost control of a 12 year old. Maybe my mom was just different…but I was totally scared she would beat the living shit out of me if I behaved in this manner….and then make another one who looks just like me.

At 12 years old and in 7th grade, Kendra was “hanging out” with her friends til 10-11pm (and this was WITH permission). She started drinking, skipping school, hanging out with older kids, SNORTING COKE and having sex. At TWELVE. WTF.

By age 17 Kendra has been a drug addict, a drug dealer, she started cutting herself and she almost OD’d – leading to her eventually being hospitalized. By 18 Kendra is a full-time stripper and on her way to becoming one of Hugh Hefner’s Girlfriends.

It was at this point that I started feeling a bit of…disgust towards Kendra. Kendra had many excuses and reasons why she was so fucked up: poor parenting, bad (and perverted) teachers and [now] a learning disability. While all of those things may be true, there’s still the element of personal responsibility. Kendra wasn’t forced into the decisions she made, she consciously made those decisions. At the same time, I do feel that Kendra [also] made a decision to change: she refocused on school and stopped being a druggie. That is wonderful! It takes a lot of strength to fight addiction.

When Kendra meets Hef for the first time she was in a relationship with someone she professed love for. So I was…disappointed to learn that she immediately reverted to her old habit of doing what the fuck she wanted and damn the consequences. Kendra ran off to visit with Hef even though she was in a committed relationship. Even though she knew her boyfriend would be upset.

Each girl road Hef for about a minute or so and then hopped off and did her own thing – some fooled around with the other girls, while others just sort of sat to the side and watched. I studied their every move. It was my turn. I had been taking notes inside my head, so I knew about a minute was all I needed to put in. Counting the time in my head, I had sex with Hef for the first time. At about the minute mark, I pulled away and it was done. It was like a job. Clock in, clock out. Or in this case, cock in, cock out.
-pg 117

I wasn’t thinking about how much older Hef was – all the parts were at the scene, even at his age; at the end of the day a body is the body. Plus, he was a successful, powerful, charming man, and those qualities pulled me right in. But it was still very weird.
-pg 118, Sliding Into Home

So. Kendra does what Kendra does best – she ditches her boyfriend. Off Kendra runs to become a Hef Girlfriend at age 18. Already knowing that she would have to have regular sex with a man old enough to be her grandfather.

But since I was usually very, very drunk during those evenings, I tended not to care so much until the next day. I had to be very drunk or smoke lots of weed to survive those nights – there was no way around it.

I would spend the Sunday after club night hungover, and by Monday I would be recovered enough to get back to sitting on my ass. The rest of the week would be ok, but the cycle was taking its toll on me and getting boring. I had to get out.
-pg 139-140, Sliding Into Home

Yeah. *gag*

Of course, what I really wanted to know was the dishing on Holly & Bridget. Kendra and Holly are 100% claws out in public right now and Bridget is MIA. I wanted to know what Kendra said to make Holly go all pysco Barbie on her. And, strangely enough, Kendra is pretty kind and not catty at all – unlike Izabella. I saw no reason for Holly’s behavior. Kendra does mention that Bridget and Holly tried to get her kicked out and replaced with a different girl shortly before The Girls Next Door started but that’s about it. So I have to wonder if THIS little gem – which by itself means very little but enforces (to me) what Izabella said about Holly in Bunny Tales.

Sticking close to Natalie, I saw there were a bunch of girls in the bathtub. Natalie jumped in. I took off the panties that I had just borrowed and hopped in, too. I thought it whatever the other girls were doing, and I said nothing.

Eventually everyone got out of the tub and climbed onto Hef’s bed, where he was lying on his back waiting. There were about seven other girls with me, and we were all naked.

Holly got things started by getting Hef going, um, orally. Meanwhile, some of the other girls were slapping ass, getting all kinky, and yelling out all sorts of crazy things.

One by one, each girl hopped on Hef and had sex with him.
-pg 116-117, Sliding Into Home

Or maybe it was this?

Even though we’d banded together to preserve our privacy, I still wasn’t that close with them then, and by that point they were the best of friends. Since I wasn’t fitting in to their little group, they thought the show might be better with another girl instead of with me. So Holly and Bridget went to Mary and told her that I was dating another guy behinds Hef’s back.
-pg 146, Sliding Into Home

Other than that, I don’t get it. Other than that, Kendra was pretty complementary (all things considered, that is):

About Holly, Bridget and Kendra together:

Even though we’d banded together to preserve our privacy, I still wasn’t that close with them then, and by that point they were the best of friends. Since I wasn’t fitting in to their little group, they thought the show might be better with another girl instead of with me. So Holly and Bridget went to Mary and told her that I was dating another guy behinds Hef’s back.
-pg 146, Sliding Into Home

Something wild always happened on those flights, and it seemed to bring Holly, Bridget, and me together. We became a team because even though we weren’t best friends, we knew and understood one another, and we needed ne another during those times.
-pg 157, Sliding Into Home

The show tried to hype up some sort of jealously among us and imply that Holly was protective of Hef and didn’t like when Bridget or I got any attention, but I think that was more television than reality. About two and half years after I moved in, our nights with Hef came to an end. I don’t know if it was Holly’s influence or if Hef lost interest or what, but one night after a party he went upstairs without us.

From that point on, Holly had Hef all to herself. If there was any weird tension before, it was gone now. The end of those evenings probably helped us become stronger as a group.
-pg158, Sliding Into Home

About Holly

When she was with Hef she was very by-the-book. Everything she did was so carefully thought out, and she always followed every rule. You can’t live your life like that. Some rules are meant to be broken, it’s the only way to stay sane. But she was always Hef’s number one, and she wanted to make sure everyone knew it, so she always did whatever she had to do to live up to that status. She was like the First Lady. I don’t know why it was so important to her to uphold that position, but she genuinely loved Hef and I think she needed people to know that, so she acted like a model girlfriend.

The downside was that at one point Holly really thought that she was going to spend the rest of her life with Hef, and he loved her, too, so it was a tough breakup for both of them.

When Hef didn’t give her the relationship she wanted, she got really depressed. She was devoted to Hef and she cared a lot about Playboy as a whole. She was a total go-getter in life, especially with Hef. She had his heart; she knew what she wanted from him, and she usually got it.

But in the end it became apparent that it wasn’t going to last, so she moved on.
-pg208, Sliding Into Home

Kendra did speak about how she met and started dating her husband, Hank. MEH. I didn’t care but it’s there for those who do care. Lots of sneaking around since she was still Hef’s girlfriend. But Hef was cool and even thought about walking her down the isle.

All in all, this isn’t a bad look at Kendra. She had her troublesome times but she grew up. She became someone’s concubine but she left that relationship stronger and in a better position than she entered it. Hef was good to her and for her. Good for her! I also noticed that Kendra is NOT as…into money and being hot like Izabella (Bunny Tales). Izabella talked amount money and the things she wanted but didn’t get the entire book. Kendra spoke all about the changes she made and the things she did: leaving Sliding into Home, I feel like I read about the same Kendra I saw on TV. Not the brightest bulb in the basket but great fun at a party!

Works for me!


Citation
St. James, Izabella. Bunny Tales. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2006.

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