Free to Love by Ivana Trump; The Ghost by Danielle Steel; Before I Say Goodbye by Mary Higgins Clark; The Naked Face by Sidney Sheldon. Free to Love was in glorious hardcover as befitting its stature; the rest were lowly paperbacks.
Poor Ivana!!! From the penthouse to the outhouse. The sequel to her bestselling debut novel, For Love Alone Lucy Wilkins, Free to Love now wallows in the gutter where it belongs. This book is the very definition of the trash novel. Not worth the paper it is printed on, a blatant cash grab, and the product of a bloated, impotent, yet lecherous corporate publishing industry, Ivana’s masterpiece about the (divorce) trials and tribulations of Katrinka van Hollen, is the literary equivalent of a junk bond. Katrinka? I thinka the hell not.
Quite simply, this stuff ends up at the dump because it serves a basic purpose and it is disposable. Like toilet paper. Growing up I was surrounded by this trash; my mother had a massive library of all the classics. Danielle Steel’s Message from Nam (even when she tried to get away from Daddy, Steel was always trash), Shirley Conran’s Lace (Phobe Cates’ Lili Lace is second only to Linda Barrett in terms of naughty girls. The main difference? Lili may have said “Which one of you bitches is my mother?, but Linda got nude. The Cars never sounded so good. Check out the cast in the TV version of Lace: Bess Armstrong, Angela Lansbury (a true whore of the stage and screen, she would do anything for a paycheck), Brooke Adams, Anthony Higgins, Pussy Galore, and the cherry on top Herbert Lom of The Pink Panther as a gay headmaster. Cue frantic eye-twitching now.); Scruples by Judith Krantz (Krantz did Ivana Trump proud; Krantz’s books were a fuckin’ ATM machine. The paperback rights for Princess Daisy sold for a then record $3.2 million dollars. Krantz is a corporation, literally.). My mother also had all the mystery and thriller trash as well. The Deadly Sin series by Lawrence Sanders, the post-Ian Fleming James Bond novels by John Gardner; Eric Van Lustbader, Clive Cussler, and Dick Francis. She had them all.
Nowadays my mother is a bit of a fitness fanatic. Tennis four times a week; daily bicycle rides, various stretching exercises. But that was not always the case. For years my mother consumed tons and tons of the literary Funjuns. Pure junk food. Quite possibly, I turned into a literary snob and all around windbag out of rebellion against the books that were all around the house. God knows I did not play hooky from school. Probably should have. I could have used a break. Currently my mother swears she would never lower herself to read a Danielle Steel book but back in the day she bought them all, and all in hardcover. Hardcover?? She could not possibly wait until the much cheaper paperback came out to dig her nose into the latest recycled heap of shit dear old Danielle plopped out. It was an addiction really. Like those people who cannot not stop eating bags and bags of Doritos. As a kid I was seriously worried that my mother’s brain would get flabby from lack of use and she would suffer a stroke.
In New York, they are attempting to legislate out of existence the 55 gallon drums of Coke sold at 7-11s. They should initiate similar legislation on these 700+ page monstrosities of pure sugar and empty calories. There should only be trash novellas or short stories in an attempt to protect love and adventure starved readers from their own IQ-threatening desires. In a sense, these books already exist and they sprout up like mushrooms in shit at the dump library. They are called Best Sellers from the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. For those poor old birds out there who cannot possibly stomach already processed literature, the folks at the Digest chew it over for you and spit it in your mouth. Bon appétit!!!