HIT ME WITH A RAINBOW by James Kirkwood


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This new slab of Kirkwood camp--half imitation screwball-comedy, half imitation Bette Davis tearjerker--begins with hero Kelly McDermott talking to his penis. . . and goes downhill from there. Kelly, you see, though 27 and gorgeous, is totally impotent; he's been that way ever since a youthful sexual encounter led to his killing his creepy father in anger. So Kelly's in a funk--and then, furious over not getting a promotion, he quits his job in N.Y. publishing and winds up by himself on his birthday, ""alone in the Copa-fucking-cabana.!"" But who else should be at the Copa that night but aging superstar Maggie Banner, together with her possessive lover: has-been, mob-connected opera star Rafaello Tucci. Maggie falls for Kelly at first sight, they dance, Tucci sneers, Kelly somehow punches Tucci--and so Maggie and Kelly have to go into hiding as crazed Tucci fumes. Maggie even persuades Kelly to fly with her and Flora (tough maternal confidante) and Stosh (ex-gay hustler bodyguard) to a secluded Mexican hideaway; and on the way there Kelly tells Maggie his sad story. (""It's fascinating, it's all fascinating,"" Maggie gushes.) But though Kelly digs Maggie the most, he still can't quite cut the mustard. Then, however. . . he and we learn that Maggie has--argh--a Terminal Disease. And, yes, folks, that does the trick (""I must. I must do something for her. I must not fail her eternally. No--interminably!""), so soon there are pages of orgasmic undulation as the surf roars, From Here to Eternity-style. Finally, despite Tucci trailing the lovers and taking pot-shots at them with a rifle, they jet off into the sunset: ""You're right, my Kelly--we've had the miracle! Of course, we have. My God, anything else is. . . rainbows and hot fudge sundaes."" Saccharine sexual baloney? You bet. Especially since, in addition to failing on any sub-surface level, it's not even convincingly heterosexual on the surface: Mame-ish Maggie mostly speaks in basic drag-queen (she tells a Bette Davis anecdote and ""it's Bette to the tits!""); Kirkwood remains obsessed with the male posterior (cf. P.S. Your Cat Is Dead); and super-sexy, super-naive Kelly is little more than a gay-fiction stereotype. A sticky little notion padded out to nearly 400 pages with leaden comedy, painfully arch dialogue, and limp aphorisms (""You'd fucking well better do well at something if you can't do well at fucking"")--probably a treat for Kirkwood groupies, but a likely stomach-turner for all others.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1980
Publisher: Delacorte