PERDIDO by Jill Robinson

PERDIDO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Perhaps now that she has unloaded her Hollywood-child past, talented Jill Robinson (Bed/Time/Story) will go on to write a controlled, effective novel. This rambling one, despite vast sleekness of style and shrewd verbal edginess, is as inconsistent and clichÉ-minded as its yearny heroine-narrator: 15-year-old Susannah, granddaughter of a dead Hollywood mogul, step-daughter of the tycoon who married her hideously cold mother, and unacknowledged child of. . .1949's maverick screen idol, blond Jackson Lane. It takes Susannah about 200 pages to find out that fantasy lover Jackson, with whom she has spent one glorious day, is indeed her dad--200 pages in which Robinson can explore burgeoning teen sexuality, drop Hollywood names or rituals, and heap tragedy around Susannah's blacklisted, alcoholic actor uncle. Three years later, Jackson has dropped out of movies, and Susannah impulsively sets off on The Search for him: by train to Illinois, Florida (Jackson's disfigured brother is in a circus sideshow?), and N.Y. After a brief moment of reunion with the ever-running Jackson, Susannah moves in with her composer cousin Val but goes home to Hollywood when faced with the blazing macho of Val's beau Angelo--only to find her step-father a has-been. So loveless dull marriage is the only way for her to get free of family control (""No wonder movies fade out at the wedding""). The mean, palatial Hollywood here (""a small town and a magic kingdom"") may be authentically juicy Jill Robinson, but the plotting--abortion, perversion (husband Paul masturbates anally with a tampax), burning houses, wrecked cars, and that incest motif--seems more like hand-me-down Harold Robbins. And Susannah, so clearly meant to be irresistibly brave-vulnerable as she learns that life's not really like a movie, isn't. Juvenile melo-drama--with a terrific technicolor veneer.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
Publisher: Knopf