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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Sharratt, Mary: The Vanishing Point | Main | Levine, Paul: Deep Blue Alibi »

Saginor, Jennifer: Playground: A Childhood Lost inside the Playboy Mansion

  

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Harper © 2005, 277 pages [amazon]
3.5 stars

The blurb on the back of the book is misleading. A Salon.com review claims that Jennifer Saginor's memoir Playground is "Bizarre...hilarious, disturbing." Bizarre and disturbing it certainly is, but there's nothing whatever hilarious here. Saginor's father, "Dr. Feel Good," was (he has since lost his license, after the events described in the book) a doctor with a thriving Beverly Hills practice, famous for dispensing pills to models and Hollywood starlets. He was also Hugh Hefner's personal physician and Hef's right-hand man for more than thirty years, a fixture at the Playboy Mansion. Saginor's parents were divorced when she and her sister Savannah, two and a half years her junior, were very young. Saginor's father had custody of the girls on Thursdays and alternate weekends: he started bringing them to the Playboy Mansion when Jennifer was six.

He left his girls to roam the Mansion grounds alone, at the ages of six and four, while he played with Hef and the bunnies poolside.It is one thing to introduce one's little girls at so young an age to the Playboy brand of in-your-face hedonism: topless girls rubbing against Hef and their father, the atmosphere dripping with easy sex, ready drugs and the glorification of instant gratification. Incredibly, though, that Saginor's father regularly brought his daughters to the Mansion was the lesser of his offenses. Far more heinous was his complete abdication of all parental responsibility. He left his girls to roam the Mansion grounds alone, at the ages of six and four, while he played with Hef and the bunnies poolside. Let loose without parental guidance in the Hefner playground, the girls did and saw and ate what they pleased, room service and the occasional centerfold catering to their needs. Their father made no attempt to conceal his sexual promiscuity from the girls, and indeed engaged in his crass flirtations right in front of them.

Because their mother did not approve of the girls spending time at the Mansion, their father induced them to lie to her: this was one manner in which he attempted to poison the relationship between his daughters, Jennifer in particular, and their mother. Eventually this split the family further apart: Savannah rejected her father and his lifestyle for the most part, while Jennifer was swallowed by her devotion to him. Neglected in childhood, Jennifer wallowed in decadence during adolescence--sex, drugs, and endless clubbing. Money came easy. School was an afterthought. Homework was something you paid someone else to do for you.

Saginor became her father's accomplice in debauchery during these years, fully cognizant of his action, scoping out the girls with him. She allegedly had the following conversation with her father when she was fifteen, during one of their innumerable nights out at one of the innumerable hot spots that counted them as A-listers:

"Dad and I are then distracted by two stunning girls locked in a heated French kiss. Their boyfriends lurk beside them on standby.

'It's called intergroup dating,' I inform him.

'Friends of yours?' Dad questions.

'Interested?' I ask as Dad reviews his choices.

By now, checking out girls with my father is too familiar to seem scandalous. I wave to Hef  and the circle of young beauties by his side. I nudge my dad.

'What are you waiting around for, sloppy seconds?'

'Very funny.' He grimaces, but we both know it's true."

Later Saginor's relationship with her father, always complicated, would worsen as he spiraled into drug-induced paranoia. One bright spot in her life, an affair with Hugh Hefner's current girlfriend--was doomed by their need to keep it quiet: apparently sexual license has its limits even at Hef's Mansion.

So there's nothing funny about Saginor's life story, the neglected child morphing into irresponsible adolescent; relationships destroyed, overdoses, the sheer volume of time wasted on meaningless pursuits. As for Saginor's book itself, it certainly has an interesting story to tell, but it falls short of gripping prose: the constant recitation of designer names in the author's descriptions become tiresome, as do the playmates' conversations as Saginor records them--presumably capturing their spirit if not their precise content. The repeated descriptions of further acts of decadence--more nights out, more drugs--also become monotonous after a time. But perhaps that's part of the point: the reader tires of Saginor's lifestyle even as she comes to despise it and to realize that changes are necessary. Would that she had decided as much sooner.

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Comments

1.

thank you for reviewing my book

jennifer

2.

Thanks for visiting, Jennifer!

3.

Category: Fearless

You think George Bush has no clue? How about Hugh Hefner, who built the PLAYBOY empire, based on the FIRST AMENDMENT and FREEDOM OF SPEECH--having his secretary leave a THREATENING voicemail on HEFNER'S behalf telling me to STOP PUBLICITY on PLAYGROUND or else...Or else what? I wont receive invites to your D-list parties filled with hookers on a payroll? I am so sick of your threats for the past 3 years(Before, during, after I wrote memoir) Due to your intimidation tactics, I portrayed you as someone I admired. There is no slander! I deleted 200 pages on request. You asked me to say you knew nothing of my underage affair with your girlfriend, Kendall, (who outed herself in the NY Post) Meanwhile, we both know what REALLY HAPPENED - how you did in fact know about my 3-year teenage affair along with other sick, twisted experiences involving YOU that I chose not to write about! You cast aside my father, your best friend and doctor for 35 years, who saved your life and gave up his family and career for YOU! Yet, you continue to use your power and money to THREATEN MY FREDOM OF SPEECH? How HYPOCRITICAL are you? PLAYGROUND is a MEMOIR ABOUT PARENTAL NEGLECT, my experiences and lessons learned.

Anyone who actually believes "GIRLS NEXT DOOR" is not a total FACADE is either extremely bored or has no concept what really happens behind closed doors!

I am no longer scared, but FEARLESS!

SUE ME! BUT YOU CANT BECAUSE TRUTH IS MY DEFENSE AND TRUTH ALWAYS PREVAIL IN THE END

4.

Category: Fearless

You think George Bush has no clue? How about Hugh Hefner, who built the PLAYBOY empire, based on the FIRST AMENDMENT and FREEDOM OF SPEECH--having his secretary leave a THREATENING voicemail on HEFNER'S behalf telling me to STOP PUBLICITY on PLAYGROUND or else...Or else what? I wont receive invites to your D-list parties filled with hookers on a payroll? I am so sick of your threats for the past 3 years(Before, during, after I wrote memoir) Due to your intimidation tactics, I portrayed you as someone I admired. There is no slander! I deleted 200 pages on request. You asked me to say you knew nothing of my underage affair with your girlfriend, Kendall, (who outed herself in the NY Post) Meanwhile, we both know what REALLY HAPPENED - how you did in fact know about my 3-year teenage affair along with other sick, twisted experiences involving YOU that I chose not to write about! You cast aside my father, your best friend and doctor for 35 years, who saved your life and gave up his family and career for YOU! Yet, you continue to use your power and money to THREATEN MY FREDOM OF SPEECH? How HYPOCRITICAL are you? PLAYGROUND is a MEMOIR ABOUT PARENTAL NEGLECT, my experiences and lessons learned.

Anyone who actually believes "GIRLS NEXT DOOR" is not a total FACADE is either extremely bored or has no concept what really happens behind closed doors!

I am no longer scared, but FEARLESS!

SUE ME! BUT YOU CANT BECAUSE TRUTH IS MY DEFENSE AND TRUTH ALWAYS PREVAIL IN THE END

5.

HELLO plz ant one know arbic translate that for me [url=http://www.s7ak.com/banatfun-f22.html] [/url] http://www.s7ak.com/banatfun-f22.html thn

6.

[url=http://www.3rb69.com/f6-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D9%83%D8%B3-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%B3/] [/url] http://www.3rb69.com/f6-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D9%83%D8%B3-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%B3 all love (kiss)

7.

ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING & ATROCIOUS !

THE WORST MEMOIR I`VE EVER HAD THE DISPLEASURE OF READING !

JENNIFERS `FATHER` IS BY FAR THE WORST PARENT ON THE PLANET.

I`M SO REVOLTED & FURIOUS I CANT EVEN REALLY PUT IT INTO WORDS WHAT THIS MOFO IS !

DEF ONE OF THE WORLDS BIGGEST DEGENERATES, LOSERS AND MOST DISTURBINGLY ... PEDOPHILES !

JENNIFER AND HER POOR SISTER SAVANNAH SHOULD VE BEEN TAKEN AWAY BY CHILD SERVICES !

WHAT COURT IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD GIVE CUSTODY TO A P.O.S. LIKE THEIR FATHER .

IF THEY ONLY KNEW THE TRUTH THEN ..

MY GOD !!

THE *ONLY* ONE ANYONE SHOULD FEEL SORRY FOR IS JENNIFERS MOTHER. THIS POOR WOMAN GOD BLESS YOU WOMAN.

MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU !!

YOU WORKED YOURSELF TO THE BONE AND TRIED SO HARD TO GIVE YOUR GIRLS A HEALTHY & SAFE UPBRINGING AND HOME

TO WATCH YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH ALL THAT YOU DID I DONT KNOW HOW YOU STAYED SANE .. LET ALONE HOW YOU DIDNT
STAY OUT OF PRISON

SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE SHOT THAT EVIL MOFO AND MADE THE WORLD, AND YOUR KIDS LIVES, A BETETR AND SAFER PLACE :S

I ONCE HAD ADMIRATION FOR PBAND ALL IT REPRESENTED BUT AFTER READING A SERIES OF BOOKS WRITTEN BY THOSE IN THE KNOW, I CAN HONESTLY SAY MY IMPRESSION IS SHATTERED.
I AM TRULY DISAPOINTED & HEARTBROKEN TO READ THAT EVEN THE MANSION STAFF & HIGHER UPS CONDONED AND EVEN PARTICIPATED IN THESE LURID AND *ILLEGAL* SHENANIGANS !

AS FOR JENNIFER, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF. AND HOW DARE YOU TRY TO BLAME YOUR POOR MOTHER WHO TRIED TILL SHE WAS ILL TO GIVE YOU A NORMAL AND STABLE UPBRINGING ! YOU HAVE NOONE TO BLAME BUT YOURSELF !

YOU SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO YOUR MOTHER, *RESPECTED* YOUR MOTHER, AND STAYED IN HER HOME, AND AWAY FROM ALL THAT GARBAGE AND THAT WORTHLESS PIECE OF CRAP CALLING HIMSELF YOUR FATHER.

HOW THIS EVIL DERANGED LUNATIC MANAGED TO KEEP HIS MEDICAL LISCENSE AND STAY OUT OF PRISON IS BEYOND MY UNDERSTANDING.

THIS WORLD IS A TRADGEDY !

ANYONE WHO THINKS THIS IS A GOOD READ NEEDS TO GIVE THEIR HEAD A SHAKE, AND GET BACK ON THEIR OWN *LEGAL* MEDICATIONS !

8.

you ppl are severly fucked. this cunt jennifer chose her life, it wasnt chosen for her. she watches a young girl die, does nothing about it, and later on the bitch has the adacity when the poor girls father turns up to turn him away and not even give the guy who loves his Daughter piece of mind and closure, and you ppl feel sorry for jennifer ?
WOW YOU PPL ARE SOMETHING ELSE - MORE FUCKED UP AND SAD THEN I ORIGINALLY THOUGHT




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.