by Norman Bogner ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 1, 1981
Bogner (Seventh Avenue, Arena) seems to be escalating his fiction's sleaze factor in pursuit of bestsellerdom. But, with hardly any likable or believable characters here (only Bogner's N.Y.-Jewish people have ever rung true), this meander through Beverly Hills business-dope-and-sex never juices up much genuine popular appeal. The opening chapters are best--as Claire Stuart, top clothes buyer for a suburban Connecticut department store (with ""an unselfconscious but taunting voluptuousness""), anticipates her wedding to architect Bobby Canaday; the ragbiz scenes here have some of that Seventh Avenue snap, as do Claire's run-ins with her caterer and her crude, Las-Vegas-cashier mother. But then Bobby goes off to seek a job in L.A., and while there he falls for Hillary Martinson, spoiled-rich daughter of the top-of-the-heap (secretly bankrupt) architect who is Bobby's new boss. Bobby dumps Claire to marry Hillary; so Claire--after a suicide attempt and a peptalk from Mom (""You're still a pussy. . . . Shit, shit, shit. . . . Go out there and fight for him"")--heads for L.A. too. And from there on the novel goes downhill into halfhearted plot developments studded with brand names, cocaine snorts, and bad porn-writing of the ""his steaming hot sticky dick"" variety. Claire keeps company with glamorous restaurateur Ed, sells clothes on Rodeo Drive, and opens her own store, Rodeo Wilderness--with help from the ruthless tycoon who also happens to be manipulating Bobby's architect firm. Madeleine, Claire's promiscuous roommate, goes the by-the-numbers starlet route: climbing into producers' beds, doing porn, finding half-success (TV commercials) and disillusionment. Hillary and Bobby have a rotten married time--so she hooks up with a psychotically possessive drug-dealer who gets her pregnant (abortion, suicide). . . while he tries to get Claire back. But Claire won't give up her career, and idealistic Bobby is off to design a chapel in England. Thin story, flat and vulgar writing (though occasionally energetic)--an also-ran in the Scruples crowd, only for those with an infinite appetite for chic, dirty, druggy doings on Rodeo Drive.
Pub Date: May 1, 1981
Page Count: -
Publisher: Wyndham/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1981
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