Weekly Wire
Memphis Flyer That Girl

By Leonard Gill

MARCH 15, 1999: 

Monica’s Story, By Andrew Morton, St. Martin’s Press, 279 pp., $24.95

If there is one thing Monica Samille Lewinsky, age 25, does not need, it is my two cents on where she goes from here. So what she, her biographer-for-hire Andrew Morton, and St. Martin’s Press got instead was my 25 bucks, and if a single sale contributes to ending this saga without end, please let it.

White House intern with “face time” for the president is one way we’ve been force-fed Lewinsky this past year. Trusting, betrayed friend of Linda Tripp (she, in Morton’s words, of the “unlovely figure” and “unfortunate nose”) is another. Recipient of some illegal strong-arming by a former Bible salesman turned special prosecutor is a third. Confident young woman one moment, teary-eyed teen the next is a fourth. Mixed-up, shook-up girl-next-door runs an unfortunate and distant fifth. Unfortunate, because unextraordinary may be all Monica Lewinsky is, or until recently, was. But, according to Monica’s Story, until you are the sole classmate at the John Thomas Dye School in Bel Air not invited to Tori Spelling’s grade-school birthday bash (entertainment provided by Michael Jackson and the world’s smallest pony), you don’t know the meaning of indignity or what goes into the making of “the most humiliated woman in history.”

Assorted other, early humiliations as Lewinsky endured them and as Morton chronicles them: humiliation at being presented with a full-sleeve flower-girl outfit when sleeveless is what the already fashion-conscious 3-year-old Lewinsky thought the part called for; humiliation at being asked to do with $100 a month on hair at the age of 11 as stipulated in her mother’s divorce settlement; humiliation at being given a subpar, $500 bat mitzvah when all about her were spending thousands; and humiliation at being biologically cursed with surely the ungreatest gift of them all: a tendency to pile on the pounds in a town, Beverly Hills, that is, in the words of a friend, “very unkind to heavy people.” (In this weird world of uneven but parallel universes, Tripp, of the linebacker build and working-class background, put up with the high-school nickname “Gus”; Clinton, for his part and in the love nest of the Oval Office, comforted Lewinsky with his own boyhood battles of the bulge.)

In this story, however, worse is always waiting in the wings, and when Lewinsky lost her virginity at the age of 18 it was to “a piece of garbage” according to her mother, an “asshole” according to a friend, and a “jerk” and “schmuck” according to the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. The man? A “drama technician” at Lewinsky’s former high school by the name of Andy Bleiler, and on this one, the president may for once have achieved universal acclamation. Lewinsky, incredibly, put up with this married man, father, and four-star loser for five unfulfilling years before newscasters got 15 minutes of bad-mouth on his ex-girlfriend straight from the adulterer’s mouth. Petty stuff? Perhaps. Indicator of the kind of guy Lewinsky seemed to think was all she deserved? Absolutely. By the time she reached the White House, Lewinsky as full-functioning basket-case was just asking for the next creep to give her the eye, some half-hearted affection, and then the brush-off. You know the rest, or do you?

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