THE IDOL by David Benjamin


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The life of Elizabeth Taylor--in a cesspool ""novel"" that just changes the names, adding nothing except some seamy bedroom details and one truly distasteful revision of the facts: here, the disfiguring car accident that ruins the career of homosexual heartthrob Mike McVeigh (Monty Clift) is a faked accident used to cover for Alison Cooper (Liz), who bashes Mike with a bronze lamp after finding him in bed with hubby #2 Leonard Strange (Michael Wilding). Before Leonard, of course, there was rich kid Craig Johnson (""I'm a premature ejaculator. . . and I like bondage"")--and soon to follow are showman Leonard Rose (killed in a plane crash), married crooner Billy Hunter (who wants to break into movies), and boozy, brawling David Osborne, that classical Britisher whom Alison meets on the Rome set of Helen of Troy. He says, ""You're a great fuck, love,"" but later on he's screaming, ""You castrating bitch!"" Yes, it's all here, more or less, the illnesses, the Oscars, the diamond, some purely recreational sex with a liberating Arab (""She wanted a cock in her!""), even--on the last page--marriage to an Assistant Secretary of Commerce named Roger Apple. And, speaking of name changes, the junk prose and anachronistic dialogue of ""David Benjamin"" will remind many of similar slop from one David Slavitt, who did a fictional number on Jacqueline Susann last year. But what's in a name? Whoever's responsible for this, it's dull, tired, zestless stuff--and, just incidentally, beneath contempt.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam