Saturday, September 19

My first big read, and gateway drug

The first Jackie Collins book I read was Lucky. I was 12 years old, and it was during the first summer I was allowed to stay home by myself during the day rather than go to camp or anything. Mom had the book sitting on her headboard in her room. I mean, look at the cover there. How does it not intrigue and tempt a girl? It doesn't. Not at all. But I picked it up anyway, and read it in secret and on the sly every day. I have no idea how long it took me to finish the book. All I know is that it was/is an incredibly inappropriate book for a 12-year-old to read.
I spent the next several years of my life catching up on all the Jackie Collins books in existence. I was obsessed for a super long time. I can't tell you when exactly I stopped reading them religiously, but it was some time in college, I think. Or maybe after. Like I said, I don't really remember. I'm trying to remember why I stopped reading them. I think because I stopped liking one of the main characters. I still have my treasure trove of paperback and hardcover Collins books.
The weird thing is, with the release of her new book, The Santangelos, I had decided to catch up on what's been doing in her universe, and added that book to my library reading queue. I had a bunch to catch up on first, of course, but have this one in my phone, just to be sure I remembered to dig into them.
So, as you can imagine, I'm pretty heartbroken to hear that she died today, of breast cancer. She didn't tell anyone, not even her famous sister, Joan, until two weeks ago. She died surrounded by family and close friends, as is befitting.
She was an incredible author, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I mean, come on, Hollywood Wives? Gold. Lovers & Gamblers, Hollywood Husbands, and Chances were great. One of the things that I enjoyed most about her, as a writer, was that she wrote all her novels in long hand on legal pads. Isn't that crazy? Even in today's world, she was old school, with paper and pen.
I'll always remember her as the catalyst for my obsession with reading. Who knew that books could be like that? Who knew that authors could write stuff like that? She opened my eyes, friends, to all the good and bad that could reside between the covers of a book. She'll always have my gratitude for that.

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