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GOLDBERG'S NOVELS, A WINDOW TO HER WORLD?

Lucianne Goldberg has described herself and Linda Tripp as "two middle-aged women who couldn't take it anymore," morally outraged over President Clinton's dalliances. But there is little in Goldberg's past, or in her books, that suggests distaste for sex or scandal. Phone sex, oral sex, talk of wintergreen mints to spice up the action -- many of the most salacious parts of the notoriously explicit Starr report -- can all be found in the collected writings of Goldberg, a novelist as well as a book agent.

Goldberg, in a steamy 1992 book called "Madame Cleo's Girls," recommended Life Savers in much the same way that Monica Lewinsky suggested Altoid mints to Clinton during one of her 1997 visits to the White House.

Another of Goldberg's novels, "People Will Talk," features a tabloid columnist named Baby Bayer who "can unzip a fly with her toes." Still another, "Friends in High Places," is a roman a clef that includes a "star feature writer who will take almost any man to bed for her next day's lead" and a publisher's wife given to lesbian encounters.

Women, Goldberg suggests in her first book, an anti-feminist tract titled "Purr, Baby, Purr," should think of themselves as "a switchboard with all sorts of lovely buttons and plug-ins for lighting up and making connections."

Goldberg's book jacket biographies are somewhat exaggerated as well. One says she "started her journalistic career at The Washington Post" and another describes her as "a former Washington journalist." In fact, she was neither a reporter nor columnist, but a "general clerk" in The Post's promotion department from 1957 to mid-1960, when she quit to take a job as "a press aide" with Lyndon Johnson's presidential campaign committee.

"She was always elevating herself beyond what she was," recalls a former friend, journalist-author Myra MacPherson, then a reporter for the Washington Star. "She can be witty, but God, she is a scorpion."

-- The Washington Post

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