IN NAME ONLY by Barbara Wilkins


Email this review


 A rich, pretty teenager flees the bourgeois terrors of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, heading straight for the demimonde of E-Z living, star-studded L.A., where she gives birth to the hottest child star since the current ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Wilkins (Elements of Chance, 1989) was West Coast bureau chief for E-Z reading, star- studded People magazine. Caught in flagrante with her cute but baseborn boyfriend by her icy banker father, 16-year-old Beth Carol Barnes lifts four hundred dollars from the family cashbox and takes the midnight bus out of town, hoping to find warmth and tolerance in southern California. She is joined in midflight by tacky, resourceful Fern Darling, also in her teens, also headed for L.A. The two girls will be linked for the rest of their silly lives even though they separate on arrival. Fern takes the low road to a career as a gossip czaress; Beth Carol takes the low road to social prominence and newsworthy motherhood. Beth Carol's undoer is preppy drug- dealer and Yale graduate Paul Fournier, who would have everybody believe he owns the mansion he inhabits even though he is the child of a lowly secretary. Nine sordid months after her arrival, Beth Carol gives birth to Raleigh Barnes, who may or may not be Paul's child but who is certainly the most photogenic, cooperative, sensible, and box-office-bankable baby you could ask for. But there is a mystery about little Raleigh that leads to the pubescent child's disappearance at the hands of supposedly trustworthy supposed father Paul. Washing up on the shore of Mexico, young Raleigh acquires wisdom at an intellectual colony, picks up a degree at the University of Chicago, acquires a fortune, becomes gorgeous, and returns to L.A. bent on revenge. Perfect reading for the waiting room or the grocery line. Robin Leach should do the cassette version if Mary Hart can't.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-06-017957-0
Page count: 468pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1992