Alison Poole is a character in the novels and short stories of Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis. She is based on McInerney's real-life ex-girlfriend Lisa Druck, later known as Rielle Hunter. Her debut in McInerney's Story of My Life (1997) tells the story of the real-life horse insurance fraud scandal. In Ellis' novels, she is a victim of serial killer Patrick Bateman and later the girlfriend of club owner Damien Nutchs Ross, and a mistress to male model Victor Ward. Using further real-life news involving Hunter as a basis for another Poole story, McInerney revisits the character in the short story "Penelope on the Pond" (2009).

Where Poole appears in McInerney's works, she is a first-person narrator. Ellis portrays her in third-person.

Story of My Life (1987)Edit

American Psycho (1991)Edit

Glamorama (1998)Edit

"Penelope on the Pond"" (2009)Edit

"Penelope on the Pond" first appears in McInerney's short story collection The Last Bachelor (2009). It is loosed based on Rielle Hunter's extra-marital affair with Senator John Edwards. In "Penelope", Poole is the secret girlfriend of a married man, Presidential-candidate Senator Tom Phipps, hiding out. However, when Phipps begins to neglect her, she finds herself falling for the journalist sent to investigate whether there is any truth in the claim of Phipps's affair.

The title is a reference to Penelope, the main character of an ancient Greek poem by Homer, the Odyssey. In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope fends off many suitors and loyally waits for many years until the return of her beloved husband Odysseus.

Crossover rationaleEdit

While Ellis attributes his use of Poole in American Psycho to McInerney having "ticked [him] off" one time, McInerney feels this explanation is disingenuous, and that Poole's actual provenance in Psycho and later Glamorama in fact owe to Ellis pointing out the disparity in the two authors' styles, despite the fact that early criticism of the writers had in fact lumped them together as a "two-headed enfant terrible" of sorts.[1]


  1. Scott Martelle, “The Dark Side of a Generation”, Los Angeles Times, 1 February 1999 <>