PLAYGROUND by Jennifer Saginor


A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion
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A debut memoir recounts a childhood spent at Hugh Hefner’s knee.

Saginor’s father was a close friend of the mogul, who actually gave him his own room in the Playboy Mansion. From the time Saginor was six, she and her younger sister spent a goodly amount of time there, even though their horrified mother got a court order to prevent her ex-husband from taking them to bunny-land. To no avail: the girls reveled in the attention their dad showered upon them; they loved playing in Hef’s game room; they loved having butlers at their service. So they lied to their mother about where they were, becoming pawns in a parental chess game. In high school, Saginor finally moved out of her mom’s house and in with dad. At the mansion she learned about cocaine and cunnilingus. She had a fling with a hunky young actor, but developed a much closer sexual and emotional relationship with one of Hef’s girlfriends, a woman she calls Kendall. Occasionally, Saginor made forays back into normal life at Beverly Hills High, but as the months rolled on, she invested more and more of herself in the Playboy world. Ultimately, she went east to college, where at friends’ homes she saw normal family life for the first time. Saginor concludes with her post-college return to L.A. “with a new set of eyes.” She sometimes still dropped by the Mansion, but only on special occasions. Overall, the story she tells is quite repetitive: sex, drugs, guns, more sex, more drugs, bouncing back and forth between the Mansion and high school, more sex, another gun. In addition, Saginor’s therapeutic revelations tend to the banal. She realizes that she had been seeking a mother figure in Kendall, and she shares with us the blinding revelation that “my parents may never be who I want them to be [but their] spirit will always be with me.”

Occasionally titillating, more often tedious.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-076156-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperEntertainment
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2005