Overcome: A Memoir Of Abuse, Addiction, Sex Work, and Recovery by Amber Van De Bunt aka Karmen Karma

I only discovered porn star Karmen Karma last year via Twitter. I started following her before I’d even seen any of her scenes. I’d noticed that she was promoting her autobiography, written under her real name Amber Van De Bunt, and I’ve always enjoyed autobiographies so I went ahead and bought it and finally finished reading it.

All I can say is…GODDAMN.

This book is riviting. She’s still a young woman but she’s already packed more experiences into her life than most people who are twice her age. As you’re reading it you’ll find yourself shocked that she’s even still alive, considering what she’s been through. Pretty much every cliché stereotype you could imagine about the story of a poor girl from a small town who gets mixed up in the porn industry is completely confirmed in this book.

She was born and raised in small town in Michigan, her mother was physically and emotionally abusive to her, and when her parents divorced she and her younger sisters stayed with her father, but she admits that she remained sad over not having a good mother in her life and that that really affected her. She became sexual very early, earning a reputation as “class slut” by sixth grade, although she didn’t actually lose her virginity until she was 14, and she suffered from anorexia and bulimia and also cutting. She also engaged in underage drinking, beginning a habit of whenever she drank alcohol it was always to excess, leading to her often blacking out. At 17 she began webcamming, getting naked for strangers online right in her bedroom, continuing for over a year until a customer traced her IP address, found her home phone and called her father and told her what she was doing, while she was doing it.

At 18, after graduating High School she moved to Florida, living with her estranged mother and stepfather, to become a professional stripper. The next few years are a whirlwind of stripping, abusive relationships, promiscuous sex with various male and female partners, a traumatic abortion, more blackout drinking, being sexually assaulted, a cocaine addiction that lead to actually becoming a cocaine dealer, broken friendships, health scares, and suicide attempts.

And then she decides to go to California to become a porn star.

She enjoyed her first shoot, for which the crew gave her a round of applause when it was over, and people were amazed that it was her first time. But more negative stereotypes about the porn business would be confirmed as she had to deal with shady agents, companies, directors and performers who looked for ways to take advantage of her, and starts “escorting” on the side. She also continued the poor choices in her personal life including another unhealthy and abusive relationship, along with continuing her abuse of drugs and alcohol.

She writes about all of these experiences in a simple matter-of-fact style that’s easy to follow along. I was captivated reading each page. And you’d think, as you’re reading it, that there’s two ways for this story to end. Either she dies, which we know she didn’t since she wrote the book, or she ends up becoming a born again Christian and renouncing her previous lifestyle, setting down to live a “normal” life, or perhaps becoming an anti-porn activist.


She does finally meet a good man, who would help her get clean, they would get married and have a healthy daughter and are a loving happy family. And she still does porn. She controls her own content through her Only Fans account now. The final chapter of the book is written by her husband Alex, and he explains why his marriage to Amber works, despite her job, and believe it or not, he makes a lot of sense. At least the two of them are happy, so who are we to judge?

Amber also seems very happy with how her life has turned out. This book doesn’t make you feel sorry for her, in fact it’s quite the opposite. It’s impressive reading about all she’s been through and survived. Writing this book was clearly a therapeutic action for her and I really can’t recommend it strongly enough. If any producers from the Lifetime Movie Network are reading this, trust me, you need to buy the option to turn this book into a movie (or perhaps a miniseries.

Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS

Available on Amazon

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