Book review: 'Poor Little Bitch Girl' by Jackie Collins

By Claudia Deane
Wednesday, February 10, 2010


By Jackie Collins

St. Martin's. 472 pp. $26.99

I was a Jackie Collins virgin.

Until, that is, "Poor Little Bitch Girl" arrived on my doorstep in an anonymous brown wrapper. After opening it, I immediately did what I had done with Judy Blume's "Forever" in junior high school: hurried to my desk and shoved the book, front cover down, in the middle of a very large pile of papers. (I want my 5-year-old to increase her vocabulary, but I don't want her expelled from kindergarten!)

"Poor Little Bitch Girl." The title says it all, really. The wee, sad young thing referred to is Annabelle Maestro, the beautiful but underappreciated daughter of two mega movie stars. She has made it on her own as the diamond in a high-end, Manhattan call-girl ring. When her mother is viciously murdered in Beverly Hills, Annabelle is thrown together with former high school classmate Ms. Denver Jones, a "hot-shot attorney" who describes herself as "a normal, healthy American female, acting like a normal, healthy American male." One of their mutual lust interests is hunky shipping heir Bobby Santangelo Stanislopoulos, son of Collins's recurring character Lucky Santangelo.

Oh, but here's the good part: There's a Washington angle to this salacious story. It's a U.S. senator, of course: soulless, sexually avaricious and fairly stupid, traits balanced by his having a wealthy, well-connected wife and a full head of hair. Sen. Stoneman is in the midst of a two-year affair-gone-wrong with his young personal assistant Carolyn Henderson, another old classmate of Annabelle and Denver's.

Wait, you say. Surely no modern, educated young woman is so naive as to believe the intimate promises of an elected official. And would a real-life politician actually risk his career for the sake of such fleeting, repetitive satisfactions? Hello? Clearly, you're from out of town.

If there was anything surprising in my first visit to CollinsWorld, it was how totally unshocked I was. Who knew that following politics could prepare you so well for this stuff! High-class call girls? Totally 2008. And don't let's get started with the intern thing. Yes, there's sex on the first page of the book, sex on the last page and plenty more in the middle, but the same goes for the front section of our daily newspaper.

I read this novel in two sittings and was slowed down only by the occasional need to read giggly snippets out loud to whatever consenting adult was in earshot, i.e., "As for the bed activity . . . double, triple wow! Not to mention bingo!" I'm not proud of this, and I truly hope my mother and my book club never find out, but in the Collins virginity department, I have been guiltily, divertingly deflowered.

Deane is a writer in Silver Spring.

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