Title: I Like It Hard
Author Name & Publisher: Francis James Franklin (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 8, 2016 – 52 pgs
After her brother Dan loses in the final of the XXX-rated Reality TV show I Like It Hard, Helen Arnold finds new purpose in life: enter the show herself—and win.
But no amount of training, or advice from Dan and his lovers, can fully prepare her for naked interviews, two weeks in a porn-studio villa, and weeks of nerve-wracking live sex show—all while dealing with the capricious nature of the judges, who wield absolute power over the show and its contestants.
Being both bisexual and aromantic, Helen is used to dealing with people who don’t like or approve of her—and she’s never been the type to back down when life gets hard.
This was an interesting concept, not only the show format, but the personality of our protagonist, Helen. It’s made very clear how different she is, not only because she’s bisexual, but also because she’s aromantic. Both are things that are very difficult for “normal” people to understand, and because most people don’t, or won’t, even try, Helen becomes very lonely. I think she enters the “I Like It Hard” contest as a way to validate herself. She’s totally focused on winning the contest, not so much on what happens after. I think her speech at the end is what gives her the validation she was looking for. The problem I had was that all the detail about the show and the sex she had to have was in the first part of the story, the part about her two week training period before she even got to the live show portion of the contest. After we move to the show, it seems like everything is rushed, as far as the narration goes. We don’t really get much of an idea about the live shows Helen does, or the training that goes into them. Also the final, where we find out who wins feels almost anti-climactic. I would have liked a more developed ending. Overall, the story was interesting, and I liked Franklin’s style of writing.