Depending on your gender, Irving Wallace’s The Fan Club is either about the ultimate high or the worst degradation.
An interview fabricated by Sharon Field’s PR agent reveals Hollywood’s “Love Goddess” longs for an ordinary man to love her.
Adam Malone, a part-time grocery clerk and wannabe writer, enlists three other equally ordinary, and equally gullible men to kidnap Sharon believing if she meets them, she’ll willingly have sex with them.
The four agree if Sharon won’t willingly participate, they’ll release her.
Once they have Sharon in an isolated mountain cabin, Adam’s quixotism is trampled by his three accomplices’ sex drive.
The men tie her down and rape her.
One beats her.
Using her dramatic skills and retentive memory, Sharon fights back.
A less skillful writer than Wallace would have reduced the kidnappers to stereotypes. Wallace makes each of them distinct individuals whose behavior is as plausible as it is despicable.
He also makes clear that when sex is used to sell entertainment, the entertainment industry must accept some blame if people believe the stories they’re told.
Wallace blows his superb plotting with what may possibly be the most implausible ending on any 20th century novel.
The Fan Club by Irving Wallace
Simon and Schuster  511 p.
1974 bestseller #10. My grade: B.
© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni