GOLDENGIRL by Peter Lear


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Lear has come upon a supremely viable, inevitable pop-novel idea--the manufacture and marketing of an American Olympic superstar--but he pretty well buries it. With amateurish exposition--as we slowly, slowly learn about top-secret Goldine Serafin, who's 6'2"" (hormones), gorgeous (plastic surgery), and the fastest female runner on earth (training via hypnosis and electric shock). With dubious medical complications--as it's revealed, on the eve of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, that ""Goldengirl"" has diabetes and risks a coma or insanity by running. (And how are we supposed to believe doctors who think that ""schizophrenia"" means ""split personality""?) And with talk, talk, talk--most of it from Goldengirl's adoptive father cum mad-doctor trainer, who tells the sagas of famous Olympians of the past at the drop of a stopwatch. The most promising material here is a consortium's planned merchandising of Goldengirl à la Spitz and Jenner (the dippy hero is a bigtime agent who's raped by and falls in love with G-girl), but it fades away as the general hysterics take over in Moscow. What remains is a padded TV-movie-level scenario, far more exaggerated than it had to be, but close enough to the headlines and 1980 to sprint into the homes of Sunday runners and fervent Olympics-watchers.

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday