The woman who introduced many to the fine world of erotica, who made up steamy stories as a teenager, who wrote openly about the double standards and chronicled the raunchy, glittering world of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and was called the “queen of the bonkbuster”, passed away on 19th September after battling breast cancer for six years.
Jacqueline Jill “Jackie” Collins, 77, changed the way we thought about sex. Jackie was often dismissed as a purveyor of salacious titillation, but all her novels, undoubtedly evoked the female desire and imagination.
Jackie wrote 32 New York Times best-sellers, five of them after being diagnosed with cancer which she chose to hide from her Hollywood actress sister Joana Collins and fought in isolation. With over 500 million copies of her books sold in more than 40 countries, she was one of the world’s top-selling novelists.
Jackie was honest. Brutally honest. She gave her readers unadulterated inside truths of Hollywood, stardom, glamour and glitter. Most of her writing revolved around the lives and loves of the rich, and “celebrities” looked through the pages to unearth something about themselves or friends and enemies.
The greater than life persona, Jackie always thought she was a panther in another life and made it her own personal motif which was stamped pointedly on all her books and her letterhead. A dropout from school at the age of 15, Jackie confessed she was a “juvenile delinquent” and said, “I’m glad I got all of that out of my system at an early age”. She also said she “never pretended to be a literary writer”.
Jackie’s first novel was published in 1968. In those times, Jackie’s writing was called “nasty, filthy and disgusting” and was charged with “creating every pervert in Britain”. Her first novel, The World Is Full Of Married Men was banned in Australia and South Africa. 47 years later, today, she revived “foreplay” in relationships, became the “mother of chic lit”, awakened the women from a deep sexual slumber and taught them not to conform to the clichéd defined gender roles of the 50’s and 60’s.
Jackie revamped the whole idea of story-telling and redefined what a story-teller is. Her stories were about strong, sexually liberated women and the bad boys of Hollywood who were both wild and powerful.
From sex to revenge to murder to obsession to power to seduction, Jackie wrote it all. Her book Hollywood Kids came dangerously close to telling the harsh, ruthless truth about ambition, sex, power and danger among the grown offspring of major celebrities. A firm believer of truth which is always stronger than fiction, she once admitted “if anything, my characters are toned down- the truth is much more bizarre”.
Jackie Collins got everyone to turn the page, book after book, year after year, again and again. Like her protagonists, Jackie was non-dyadic, untamed, unrestrained and well ahead of her time. She gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure, a sentiment she said she wanted engraved on her tombstone. She made the infamous, famous.
In someone’s words [couldn’t find the author’s name], “But wherever she is, Jackie Collins is just getting started. And waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.”
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