Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Review: The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: January 1st, 1969
Source/Format: Bought it!
Page Count: 511
Goodreads & Amazon
The first book I read of Jacqueline Susann's was, of course, Valley of the Dolls. I devoured the whole novel in a four hour train ride to Michigan, and then wondered how it had taken me so long to finally read the book that had been catching my eye on bookshelves for years. I was entranced by the drama, the allure of retro styles and customs, and the lovable and sometimes hate-worthy characters. I knew I had to read more of her work, and so Jacqueline Susann became one of my biggest guilty pleasures when it came to reading.
The Love Machine delivers much of the same things that I loved about Valley of the Dolls. Robin Stone, a handsome news anchor is on his way to the top at IBC. When the President of the company starts giving him more and more power, his ego gets larger and larger, and the women seem to flock faster. Robin, who eventually becomes nicknamed The Love Machine by the media, is handsome, can drink multiple martinis without ever feeling it's effects, and has some issues. Those issues don't seem to stop Amanda, a beautiful New York fashion model, Maggie, an even more beautiful news reporter, and Judith, the wife of his boss, from falling in love with him. Spanning over nearly a decade, The Love Machine is loaded with sex, vodka, infidelities, and a weird amount of steak dinners.
The pace of this novel was very quick, which really pulled me into reading it obsessively, once again while traveling. The plane that I was reading on could not land back in Chicago due to rough weather, so we had to circle around in the air waiting for clearance. Part of me was disappointed I wouldn't get home as fast as I had wanted, and the other part of me was glad that I would not have to stop reading. Each page was filled with drama that errs on the side of soap opera melodramatics, but was still heart-wrenching and saddening none-the-less. The pace made for a very quick read, though the pace sometimes forced us to miss out or gloss over some pivotal moments. Susann would jump over several months in a sentence, and because of the quick pace, I wish some moments had been slowed down so I could have felt for the characters more.
As for the characters, I loved a majority of them, which is strange because many of them should have been very unlikable. Robin Stone is a man with commitment issues and frequently leaves town without informing his woman of the minute. Near the end, he also starts on somewhat of a self-destructive rampage, and yet Susann built him up so well throughout the novel that we actually sympathized with him and didn't hate him at all. The feministy side of myself was kicking me for feeling sorry for Robin, but at the same time, FEELINGS. Then there was sweet Amanda, who was a little way too naive, I must admit. We didn't get to know Amanda as well as we did Robin, and I think it would have helped to know more about her and why she kept chasing after Mr. Stone for so long. I also loved Danton, the jealous and constantly steaming account executive that must work with Robin and consistently get the short end of the stick.
This book is everything that Mad Men has lead us to believe about the 60's. Easy affairs, high drama, sexy executives, and a little bit of that television glamour. I feel like I should warn everyone who reads Jacqueline Susann, though, that the men in her books will have every reader question the actions of their significant other. I can almost guarantee it ;)
Rating: 5 / 5.
Have you read any Jacqueline Susann? Do you love soap-operaish books?