Playground by Jennifer Saginor

For some odd reason, I felt compelled to read this one.  I guess it has something to do with another Playboy Mansions expose I found (Jill Ann Spaulding’s very poorly written Hefnerland), and I figured “well, this one has a much better cover so perhaps it’s better written than the other one I read” and I was mostly right.  It was better written but not by much.

I finished this in early August. I’ve been thinking about it (in between personal drama) and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t really like it that much.  The author, Jennifer Saginor, is not very likeable.  She’s the eldest daughter of Hugh Hefner’s personal physician.  She spent her childhood (spanning the 1970s and 1980s) at the Playboy mansion and her father’s mansion.  The first half is all about her and her sister Savannah hanging out at the Playboy mansion, putting on fashion shows with various half-naked Playmates and walking in on celebrities having sex with other Playmates.  The second half is about her teen years spent with her drug-addicted father and being pissed off at her mother.  As I said, she did not come across as likeable, and I was very disappointed at the end, where she seems to be all “okay, life at the Playboy mansion wasn’t so bad after all”.  This book seems to be far more of an judgment on her father’s drug use and inability to be a decent father than an judgment about anything that went on at the Playboy mansion (which, of course, is a valid judgment to make but this book is called Playground and is about life as a child at the Playboy mansion).

There were a couple moments I felt sympathy for her – such as the times she had to hide under her bed because her father and his junkie girlfriend were being extremely paranoid over the junkie’s ex-boyfriend – who was a drug lord – and his cronies.  However, most of the time I kept thinking “god, what a miserable bitch” because she kept bitching and moaning about her awful life, yet never actually did anything to improve her life – especially considering the fact that she paid her tutors to do all her homework for her, even when she was in college.  That actually irritated the crap out of me – so many people can’t even get to college or a good high school and here she is, skipping class and paying other people to do her work for her.  But I’m supposed to feel sorry for her because her mother’s sooooo authoritarian and her father’s a total junkie/male chauvinist/desperate Hugh Hefner wannabe.

It’s a dishy and quick read, and definitely not for kids, but the ending has no redeeming value whatsoever, especially for an uptight prude like me.

I could also say something about her bisexuality and why I think she ended up a bisexual, but I won’t, because then I’ll get holy hell rained down upon my head by all the liberals who might be reading this.