Story of My Life (novel)


Story of My Life (novel)

Story of My Life is a novel published in 1988 by the American author Jay McInerney.

Plot and characters

The novel is narrated in the first-person from the point of view of Alison Poole, "an ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious 20-year old."cite news | last = McInerney| first = Jay | authorlink = Jay McInerney | title = Interview | work = BREATHE MAGAZINE | date = JAN/FEB 2005 ] cite web | title = Scrubbed: Edwards Filmmaker's Deleted Website Raises Questions | last = Stein | first = Sam | work = Huffington Post | accessdate = 2008-08-01 | url = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/10/10/scrubbed-edwards-filmmak_n_67868.html ] Alison is originally from Virginia and lives in Manhattan, New York where she is involved in several sexual relationships and is aspiring to become an actress. She falls in love with bond trader and Shakespeare expert Dean but soon they betray each other. The novel implies that the cause of protagonist Alison Poole's "party girl" behavior is her father's abuse including the murder of her prize jumping horse.

Influences

Jay McInerney has said in interviews that the character of Alison Poole was based on his former girlfriend Rielle Hunter, then named Lisa Druck.cite news | last = Johnson | first = Richard | title = NOVEL TALE OF POL'S 'MISTRESS' | work = New York Post | date = 2008-08-06 | url = http://www.nypost.com/seven/08062008/gossip/pagesix/novel_tale_of_pols_mistress_123174.htm | accessdate = 2008-08-06 | quote =We dated for only a few months, but in that period, I spent a lot of time with her and her friends, whose behavior intrigued and appalled me to such an extent that I ended up basing a novel on the experience.] In the story the character of Alison Poole describes her childhood and tells how her show jumper horse Dangerous Dan had suddenly "dropped dead,"cite book | title = Story of My Life | last = McInerney | first = Jay | authorlink = Jay McInerney | year = 1988 | publisher = Vintage Books | location = New York | id = ISBN 0679722572 | pages = 1–7 | quote =When I was a kid I spent most of my time on horseback. I went around the country showing my horses and jumping, until Dangerous Dan dropped dead. I loved Dan more than just about any living thing since and that was it for me and horses. ] which closely parallels real-life horse murderer accusations made against Lisa Druck's father James Druck by FBI informant Tommy "The Sandman" Burns, who testified that James Druck paid him to kill the Druck family's own show jumper horse Henry the Hawk, on whose life James Druck had taken out a $150,000 life-insurance policy. [cite news | title = "Was dad of John Edwards' lover a horse killer?" | last = Lambiet | first = Jose | publisher = Palm Beach Post | date = 2008-09-12 | accessdate = 2008-08-11] [cite book | last = Englade | first = Ken | title = Hot Blood: The Money, the Brach Heiress, the Horse Murders | publisher = Macmillan | location = New York | year = 1997 | pages = 159 | id = ISBN 0312957262 | url = http://books.google.com/books?q=%22Hot+Blood%22+%22Ken+Englade%22+Druck&btnG=Search+Books ] [cite news | title = Blood Money: In the rich, clubby world of horsemen, some greedy owners have hired killers to murder their animals for the insurance payoffs | author = William Nack and Lester Munson | date = 1992-11-16 | work = Sports Illustrated | url = http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1004483/1/index.htm | accessdate = 2008-08-11 | quote = [Burns] says the late James Druck, an Ocala, Fla., attorney who represented insurance companies, paid him to kill the brilliant show jumper Henry the Hawk, on whose life Druck had taken out a $150,000 life-insurance policy. ] McInerney's novel ends with Poole disclosing that her horse was poisoned by her father: cquote|I loved that horse. … When he was poisoned I went into shock. They kept me on tranquilizers for a week. There was an investigation—nothing came of it. The insurance company paid off in full, but I quit riding. A few months later, Dad came into my bedroom one night. I was like, uh-oh, not this again. He buried his face in my shoulder. His cheek was wet and he smelled of booze. I'm sorry about Dangerous Dan, he said. Tell me you forgive me. He muttered something about the business [.] There was open speculation that "Story of My Life" was a "roman à clef" novel when it first appeared; to "New York Magazine"'s questions "Is it real? Did it happen?" McInerney replied, "I'm anticipating some of that kind of speculation, but I'm utterly confident of not having any lawsuits on my hands. The book is a fully imagined work of fiction. On the other hand, it's not to say that I didn't make use of [pause] … That's why I live in New York. Mine is not an autonomous imagination."cite news | title = Slave of New York: Jay McInerney is back with another nightlife novel. | work = New York Magazine | date = 1988-09-05 | url = http://nymag.com/arts/books/profiles/48479/index3.html | accessdate = 2008-08-15 ]

The character of Alison Poole has also been featured in the novels of Bret Easton Ellis, including "American Psycho", in which she is sexually assaulted by the protagonist Patrick Bateman, and plays a major role in "Glamorama" as the girlfriend of protagonist Victor Ward.cite news | title = Allow Bret Easton Ellis to Introduce You to Alison Poole, A.K.A. Rielle Hunter | work = New York Magazine | date = 2008-08-06 | url = http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2008/08/allow_bret_easton_ellis_to_int.html | accessdate = 2008-08-06 ] A reference to Alison Poole's character and the Kentucky Derby—a chapter in McInerney's novel—is also included in Mary Harron's film adaptation of "American Psycho" in a conversation between Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale), Elizabeth (played by screenplay co-writer Guinevere Turner), and Christie (played by Cara Seymour):

Critical response

Michiko Kakutani wrote, " [T] here are some quick, funny portraits of club denizens in this volume, and some satiric renditions of the stoned dialogue that can accompany the ingestion of chemical substances. In the end, though, none of this makes us care about Mr. McInerney's characters. It simply leaves us depressed at the shallowness of these people's lives, and at the author's failure to find a worthy showcase for his talents." [Michiko Kakutani, [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE5DF133CF933A1575BC0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 Gold Cards, Parties and Late Rent] , "New York Times", August 20, 1988]

Publishing history

In August 2008, Vintage Books ordered an additional 2,500 copies of the book in the wake of the interest generated by politician John Edwards acknowledging an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter. [ [http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/news/bal-to.people122aug12,0,632658.story "Edwards' mistress was basis for '80s book character", "Baltimore Sun"] ]

Notes


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