WINNING IS EVERYTHING by David Marlow

WINNING IS EVERYTHING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three epically shallow young men pursue fame and success in mid-Sixties New York--as Marlow (Yearbook) tries for something like a male Valley of the Dolls, with glossy but increasingly uninvolving results. The largely comic first chapters are by far the best: the three heroes, just out of college, all have summer jobs st the 1964 World's Fair--a nicely specific, richly nostalgic milieu. Two of the guys, old friends from school, are already roommates: shy, virginal, would-be writer Gary; and macho, swinging Ron Zinelli, ""the undisputed social director of the Ford Pavilion""--who makes extra cash by throwing gross (yet popular), pay-at-the-door parties st their barren N.Y. apartment. And a third ambitious roommate soon moves in: bright, ""amazingly good-looking"" Kip from Philadelphia, who wants to be an actor. . . and who attracts the unrequited adoration of Ellenor, the guys' overweight pal from the Fair. But, after the summer, the comedy pretty much fades out--as the three climbers start climbing in earnest. Ron, now a waiter at top club Arthur, parties with the society/show-biz set, gets a job in advertising--thanks to his sexual prowess and general smarminess; he becomes the resident lover of icy supermarket-heiress Casey but his dreams of marriage are dashed; and so (""now prepared to do anything to get ahead"") Ron joins the set of a flamboyantly homosexual movie-producer, rises to the top of the organization, but gets hooked on assorted drugs. Kip, meanwhile, also uses his body to stimulate his career--in a gigolo-ish liaison with agent Phyliss (after a doomed affair with a ballet dancer); but he soon gets fed up, achieves acting success on his own merits, and finds True Love with the now-slimmed-down Ellenor. And writer Gary, who has been ever-so-slowly realizing that he's sexually ambivalent, works as a script-reader for movie studios, eventually falling in love with his boss Nora; but after she dies Gary settles down to happy homosexuality--with the editor who's working on Gary's great new novel. (""The Literary Guild has taken the book for their main November selection."") Marlow, in over 100 little gumdrop chapters, alternates the three stories efficiently enough; there's professional dialogue and some authentic nastiness in the show-biz/literary backgrounds. But none of the three heroes is especially appealing, the women are ciphers or monsters--and what starts out with engaging nostalgia ends up as formula glitz (cf. the somewhat juicier Boys in the Mailroom), descending to tacky roman à clef in those chapters about Ron and the gay movie producer.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1983
ISBN: 0595129765
Publisher: Putnam