Jackie Collins' "Poor Little Bitch Girl"
"Poor Little Bitch Girl", page 73: "Mario is a total all that I could ask for and then some. He's way hot, from the tip of his beautifully shaped toes to his deep olive skin. And about his abs... well, all I can say is gimme more! They are world class! I have a thing about abs. I guess I feel about them the same way most men feel about boobs. Kind of obsessed... I opened up like a flower thirsting for water. I was hungry for the feel of a man inside me, a real man. And Mario definitely scored on all levels."
With her new novel, best-selling (400 million books) authoress Jackie Collins doesn't venture too far from the territory she knows so well. Her sexed-up, deliciously in-your-face style of writing lies right on the border of erotic and trashy, and blurs the line between fantasy and what's really going on in the circles of "the beautiful people". Stripped down to the basics, it's all about sex, drugs, social standing, and money for her characters. References to crotch-flashing young actresses, texting, Blackberries, Ashton Kutcher, and Rob Pattinson notwithstanding, Ms. Collins' new work is Case #999,999 of Reinventing the Wheel: We learn that (1) the mega-rich, appearance-conscious, powerful people of New York and Hollywood have their own issues; (2) money can't buy happiness; and (3) it's not easy being a woman in this day and age. The slick new book features no less than five intertwined stories. The central tale is that of the "poor little bitch girl" of the title. Her name is Annabelle Maestro, and she's the wealthy-- but bored and embittered-- daughter of two high-profile movie stars. She works as a madam to an exclusive call girl business. Most interestingly, she is not above turning a trick or two herself. While it may be a popular (male) fantasy that a woman would get off at being a high-priced hooker just for the thrill of it, it's awfully hard to swallow. However, the other stories of "Poor Little Rich Girl" are disturbingly believable: Annabelle's famous mother is viciously murdered, and the tragedy quickly turns into a Hollywood-style, sensationalistic power play. In another subplot, a married senator impregnates his young female employee, then arranges to have her kidnapped and roughed up so that she'll lose the baby. We also meet rising young lawyer Denver Jones, who tells her story from the first person... perhaps because she's the one character with some kind of grounding. The women of the book get to have as much sex as the men do. Sadly, though, they also have to deal with an unfair proportion of the baggage that goes along with it. (It makes you want to ask, Haven't they learned anything from their gay male peers?)
To reiterate, Ms. Collins knows what her readers want, so of course there's adultery, plastic surgery, strip clubs, cocaine, expensive hotels, etc... She also crams in dozens of pop culture references, from "The View" to Michael Jackson's death-- and sometimes those references feel kind of synthetically injected. (One of the characters has a dog named Amy Winehouse! Come on now!) Culture vultures will love guessing the real-life celebs whose Collins' characters may be based on (There's a man-eating pop superstar "on the wrong side of 40" named Zeena with a preference for 19-year old boy toys. Hmmm...), as well as wondering what actors will get to play these characters in the inevitable movie version. It's no surprise why Jackie Collins decided to visit the gay boys at a networking party in New York City in February to promote her latest literary endeavor. While the book may as well be subtitled "Heteros Behaving Badly", the glamor and trashiness side by side make "Poor Little Bitch Girl" the ultimate guilty pleasure. Read it. I promise I won't tell...