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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-10-14
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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You are six years old. Every day after school your father takes you to a sprawling castle filled with exotic animals, bowls of candy, and half-naked women catering to your every need.You have your own room. You have new friends. You have an uncle Hef who's always there for you.Welcome to the world of Playground, the true story of a young girl who grew up inside the Playboy Mansion. By the time she was fourteen, she'd done countless drugs, had a secret affair with Hef's girlfriend, and was already losing her grip on reality. Schoolwork, family, and "ordinary people" had no meaning behind the iron gates of the Mansion, where celebrities frolicked, pool parties abounded, and her own father-Hugh Hefner's personal physician and best friend, the man nicknamed "Dr. Feel Good"-typically held court.Every day was a party, every night was an adventure, and through it all was a young girl falling faster and faster down the rabbit hole-trying desperately hard not to get lost.


A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion

Chapter One

It's 1975. I'm six when I see sex for the first time.

After school, I wait alone by the fence. Most of the other kids have gone home. I push my Coke-bottle-thick glasses up my small nose as my green eyes squint against the sun. I pull my long brown hair back into a ponytail.

Dad's housekeeper, Carmela, a Hispanic woman with brokenEnglish, blares the horn of Dad's champagne Rolls-Royce convertiblefrom across the street. She picks me up today because Dad istoo busy.

Carmela cooks, cleans, and drives, but mostly she is my friend.

"Jennifer!" she hollers.

I rush to the car and duck inside.

"Where's your sister?" she asks.

"She's at Mom's. She stayed home sick," I tell her.

Carmela drives the car carefully to my father's five-bedroom,six-bathroom estate in the heart of Beverly Hills. Pulling into thecircular driveway, the automatic gate opens. Water trickles down alarge Mediterranean-style fountain.

Inside the foyer, a huge staircase parts to the left and right, dividingthe room. The walls display the works of Alberto Vargas:nude women with perky breasts and thin legs, and nude womenclad in black fishnet and holding whips posing next to white dogs.Dad's favorite is titled Temptation.

Arcade games and pinball machines line the living room wallsand an air hockey table sits in the center. In the corner is an oldstylejukebox. I punch in Linda Ronstadt and Kenny Rogers sincemy father's always telling me how lucky I am to know them.

I throw my Hello Kitty purse on the leather sofa and play aquick game of pinball. After beating my highest score, I go into thekitchen for a grilled cheese sandwich.

Carmela tells me now there's a note from my father at the topof the staircase in the pair of oversize porcelain breasts designed tohold mail. The note is placed between the breasts and reads, "I'mup at the Mansion. Have Carmela drop you off if you're bored."

I crumple the note, flicking it at the enormous AndyWarhol portraitdisplaying six different angles of my father's face on the wall.

I tear my eyes away from his multiple faces and ask Carmela totake me to Dad.

As we're driving down Sunset Boulevard my curiosity gets thebest of me and I ask, "What's the Mansion?"

"You know, Jennifer, I am just supposed to drive you, youshould ask your father," Carmela rambles.

We pull up to a gigantic barred black gate. I start to get a sickfeeling in my stomach. We look around for a few minutes until wehear a voice coming from a large rock next to Carmela's window. Ifyou look closely, you can see a small round speaker inside the rock.

"Carmela Delatora. I have Jennifer Saginor," she announcesand the enormous gates open.

We drive up a long driveway and I notice at least five gardenersworking on the cliff-like lawn. A castle comes into view and I instantlyfeel like Alice in Wonderland, diving into the Great Unknown. My nerves take over again as we near the massive gray stone mansion before us. I tell Carmela I've changed my mind and to please take me home. She assures me that my father is waiting inside as she pulls around the circular driveway. I ask her to come in, but she says that it would not be right.

Reluctantly, I slip out of the car and begin the journey of my life.

I enter a grand marble foyer to find men lined up in funny black penguin suits. The men smile at me creepily; they already know my name. One of them escorts me through an enormous living room with the biggest television screen I've ever seen. It's like a movie theater, but with soft plush couches, a fireplace, a grand piano, and as much free popcorn as you want. Lounginggirls in short shorts, poufy hair, and Heaven T-shirts stare at me asI pass.

The butler opens the doors to a smoky room where five men glance up for a split second. They're playing cards. There's a built-in backgammon table that is surrounded by a comfy couch and leather chairs. My father's eyes instantly light up at the sight of me as he proudly introduces me to the men one by one. They nod, distractedly, and wave hello. Dad motions for me to say hello to Hef, the handsome, kind-looking man dressed casually in a silk robe.

"Hello, darling." Hef smiles graciously, as if he's known me mywhole life. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you. Doc, you have suchan adorable daughter, are you sure you're related?"

"Why, thanks, Hef. Your girls aren't so bad themselves."

Dad excuses himself and leads me through the screening room,where four young blondes jump up to kiss him and wrap theirskinny arms around him.

Dad is a powerfully built man in his forties, with broad shoulders,an athletic body, manicured hands, and a handsome face—a face people turn to look at. He's a doctor, but he looks more like a movie star playing the part of one.

He's the kind of guy everyone wants to know . . .

A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion
. Copyright © by Jennifer Saginor. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Playground: A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion by Jennifer Saginor
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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