New York Times bestselling author Jackie Collins was recently in Australia promoting her new novel, Confessions of a Wild Child, which tells the story of the teen years of her much loved character Lucky Santangelo. Jackie had hoped her publisher would promote the novel as a novel for teens. But Jackie’s publisher decided her fanbase would feel left out if they did so. And besides, they knew, just as Jackie probably did, that teens had been borrowing/stealing their mothers’ copies of her books since 1968 when her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men set tongues wagging and would read Confessions of a Wild Child whether it was published as a young adult novel or not.
Having read Confessions of a Wild Child I can see why Jackie would want young girls in particular to read it. Confessions is set in a world outside time, this could be the 1960s, the 90s or now and Jackie has gone to great trouble to write a very fast moving story in which her heroine, fifteen year old Lucky, learns very quickly about love, lust, boys, men, friendship, sex, betrayal and the value of ‘almost’.
The driver for Lucky is personal freedom and much of that is expressed in a desire to have as much fun as a young girl can have. But there are lessons along the way, and having been instructed in the pleasures of ‘almost’ by her more experienced friend, Olympia, (‘almost’ meaning kissing, fondling, touching and everything one can do with a cute guy without doing ‘it’) Lucky navigates her way through adventure after adventure fairly unscathed. The same cannot be said of Olympia, who abandons the wise course of ‘almost’ and repeatedly gets Lucky into trouble.
In a world where teens carry iPhones with unlimited access to the Internet, i.e. porn, Jackie’s hope that a novel like Confessions of a Wild Child might serve as some sort of antidote to the sexualisation of youth may seem a little naive considering the sheer size of the challenge. But then I couldn’t help but feel that the novel, by advocating the pleasures of ‘almost’, might get some readers thinking about what they are missing out on, and may encourage a handful to take the tourist route to adulthood.
INTERVIEW: Thanks wholly to Caroline Baum’s decision to go on holiday there was a vacant seat opposite Jackie Collins in an interview which was scheduled to be filmed for Caroline’s Bookshots. When Caroline asked me to take her place she did not have to ask twice. Here is my interview with Jackie Collins (and yes, I ask her about her fling with Marlon Brando):
Lucky Santangelo is a powerful and charismatic woman. But how did she become the woman she is today?
Many people have asked, and in Confessions of a Wild Child we discover the teenage Lucky, and follow her on her trip to discover boys, love and how she fought her father, the infamous Gino Santangelo, to forge her own individual and strong road to success.
Confessions of a Wild Child takes you on a trip and navigates the teenage years of a wild child who will eventually rule an empire. Even at 15 Lucky follows her own path and it’s a crazy ride, taking the reader from a strict girls’ school in Switzerland to an idyllic Greek island, a Bel Air estate, a New York penthouse, and a shuttered villa in the South of France. Nobody can control Lucky. She knows what she wants and she goes for it with no holds barred. Lucky at 15 – a true revelation.
Buy Confessions of a Wild Child from Booktopia before November 30th 2013 for your chance to win an incredible backlist prize pack – 29 books all signed by Jackie Collins herself! Woo!
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.