Once Is Not Enough

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Once Is Not Enough is a 1973 novel by Jacqueline Susann. It was the #2 best-selling novel of 1973 in the United States, and was the basis for the 1975 film of the same name.


The novel is Susann's third. The book was ready in October 1972, and was released the following year, on March 20, shortly after Susann had been diagnosed with cancer, a condition that did not stop her from promoting her book in her usual hardworking fashion.[1]


The novel's main character is January Wayne, the daughter of a Hollywood producer who, once rich, has fallen on hard times. She is sent to Miss Haddon's boarding school in Connecticut, and spends weekends with her father at the Plaza Hotel in New York, N.Y.; her mother died after she botched a DIY abortion when January was 7. At 17, Wayne has a motorcycle accident while visiting Rome with her father, and spends three years in Switzerland recuperating. When she returns to her father in Manhattan, his business has collapsed and he's married a rich woman. January, in turn, takes up with an older, impotent writer named Tom Colt (based on Norman Mailer[2]), an old nemesis of her father's. January's father and his wife die in a plane crash,[3] and at the end of the novel January appears to commit suicide.


The daughter is "a conflicted young beauty in the throes of an Electra complex".[4] Barbara Seaman, in her 1987 biography Lovely Me: The Life of Jacqueline Susann, cites film critic Andrew Sarris, who notes that the Electra complex is a red thread in all of Susann's novels and has a biographical background.[5]

Reception, legacy[edit]

Pearl Cleage praises the book for the economical way in which Susann is "establishing character and moving plot forward".[6] Emily Stone commented that this and other books created Susann's "legacy of tasty yet tasteless tomfoolery", a legacy continued by writers like Judith Krantz.[7]

Nicole Richie's 2010 novel Priceless suggests an "update" to Susann's Once is not Enough, according to Joel Ryan of the Los Angeles Times.[8]


Bibliographical notes[edit]

  1. ^ Seaman 429, 423.
  2. ^ Seaman 392
  3. ^ O'Reilly, Jane (1 April 1973). "A guide to the good parts of Jacqueline Susann". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Server 244-45.
  5. ^ Seaman 233.
  6. ^ Cleage 152.
  7. ^ Stone 203.
  8. ^ Ryan, Joel (25 September 2010). "Book Review: Is Nicole Richie's new novel a Jackie Susann redux?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2015.