This morning in "Page Six" author Jay McInerney discusses Rielle Hunter, the actress turned producer who the National Enquirer is convinced fathered a love child with former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. See, McInerney used to date Hunter, back when she was known as Lisa Druck in the eighties. "When she wasn't out at nightclubs, she was taking acting classes," McInerney described. "We dated for only a few months, but in that period, I spent a lot of time with her and her friends, whose behavior intrigued and appalled me to such an extent that I ended up basing a novel on the experience." On a day when the Enquirer is publishing photos of Edwards with the alleged love child, it's pretty tepid stuff. After all, we already knew McInerney's book Story of My Life was based on Hunter — Radar went to the trouble of picking out relevant passages already.
But what's been fascinating us lately is the appearance of that same character, Alison Poole, in books by McInerney's friend Bret Easton Ellis. She appears briefly in his American Psycho and plays a major role in his lesser-known Glamorama. It's this literary-journalistic parallel that's sort of making us insane — since we know so little about Rielle Hunter and the true story of her relationship with Edwards, we are free to imagine all sorts of things. It sometimes seems like that's what the Enquirer is doing, though at other times their reporting seems all too real. In an oddly parallel way, Ellis took creative freedom with Rielle in his writing, turning her at times into a victim and into a monster.
In American Psycho, Poole appears as a drugged-out, casually willing victim of murderer-rapist Patrick Bateman. Warning — some of the text following is graphic and disturbing. This section is after Bateman performs a violent sex act on Poole:
"I suddenly remember, painfully, that I would have liked to see Alison bleed to death that afternoon last spring but something stopped me. She was so high — "oh my god," she kept moaning during those hours, blood bubbling out of her nose — she never wept. Maybe that was the problem; maybe that was what saved her. I won a lot of money that weekend on a horse named Indecent Exposure.
Um, yeah. And:
"You were hanging out with that bimbo Alison something … Stoole?"
"Poole, honey," I reply calmly. "Alison Poole."
"Yeah, that was her name, " [Elizabeth] says, then with unmasked sarcasm, "Hot number."
"What do you mean by that?" I ask, offended. "She was a hot number."
Elizabeth turns to Christie and unfortunately says, "If you had an American Express card she'd give you a blow-job."
In Glamorama Poole's characterization is amplified, but only slightly more nuanced. She's the coke-addled, sex-fiend girlfriend of a jealous club owner who happens to also be sleeping with the protagonist of the novel, Victor Ward, who is a model and promoter. Once again, the first time readers meet her is during a sex scene. After which, she berates Ward for not breaking up with his other girlfriend, a supermodel:
"You're having dinner with her?" she screams.
"Honey, I had no idea."
Alison walks out of the closet holding a Todd Oldham wraparound dress in front of her and waits for my reaction, showing it off: not-so-basic black-slash-beige, strapless, Navajo-inspired and neon quilted.
"That's a Todd Oldham, baby," I finally say.
"I'm wearing it tomorrow night." Pause. "It's an original," she whispers seductively, eyes glittering. "I'm gonna make your little girlfriend look like shit!"
Alison reaches over and slaps the controls out of my hand and turns on a Green Day video and dances over to the Vivienne Tam-designed mirror, studying herself holding the dress in it, and then completes a halfhearted swirl, looking very happy but also very stressed.
Later, Poole loses it at her boyfriend Damien's club opening after a rival for Ward's affections, Lauren Hynde, sets her off:
Alison's totally wired, sucking on a joint, greedily chatting away with Ian Schrager and Kelly Klein, then Damien looks away from me and watches too as Lauren says something that causes Tim Hutton to raise his eyebrows and cough while Uma's talking to David Geffen. Her eyes gleaming, Lauren brings [a] cocktail napkin to her lips, kissing it, wetting it, and I'm holding my breath watching everything and Alison whispers something to Kelly Klein and Lauren leans away from Tim and with the hand holding the cocktail napkin pats Alison on the back and the napkin sticks and Damien makes a strangled noise.
On the napkin is one word in giant garish purple letters: CUNT.
Alison glances up briefly. She pushes Lauren's hand away.
Next to me, Chloe's watching too and she lets out a little whimper.
Damien lurches from his table.
Lauren's laughing gaily, walking away from Tim Hutton in mid-sentence. And then he notices the napkin on Alison's back.
Before Damien can get to Alison she's already reaching behind her neck and feels the napkin and pulls it off and slowly brings it in front of her face and her eyes go wide and she lets out a giant mama of a scream.
She spots Lauren making her way out of the dining room and hurls a glass at her, which misses Lauren and explodes against the wall.
Man, don't you miss the early nineties? There's no way Ellis (or McInerney) could have predicted that Rielle Hunter would find her way into the national spotlight for a different kind of flameout. But now that it's happened, doesn't it make your head kind of want to explode?
Related: John Edwards' Docudrama — The Anatomy of Innuendo [NYM]
‘National Enquirer’ Still Chasing John Edwards–Affair Story; Claim to Have Caught Him in Hotel Tryst [NYM]
Edwards Admits to Affair [NYM]
The Latest On Edwards: Why Are You Still Smiling, John? [NYM]