Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.
Author: A.L. Roger
Discovered at: Kayo Books, San Francisco
The Cover Promises: “A lusty story of a sex-mad girl who gave away what most men hunger for.” Also, it asks the unforgettable question “What made her go for everything in pants?”
“She felt his hand moving over her breast through the dressing gown and her lips parted eagerly as his hand moved inside the gown and cupped her round breast.” (page 105)
Despite the promise of its title and its starlet-bent-over-for-leapfrog cover pose, Hobo Girl is not the story of a rail-riding, bean-eating Boxcar Bertha beauty who somehow has socked tubs of wigs and makeup into her bindle.
Instead of frisky business involving railroad dicks and widow women’s pies, this hayseed stroke book concerns the un-fantastic sexual misadventures of a runaway Texas debutante– misadventures that, thanks to the sexual revolution not yet by 1962 having upended America’s obscenity laws, are only detailed above the waist. When heroine Libby Dryden’s “lips parted eagerly” in that quote above, author A.L. Roger means her mouth.
So, here’s a vintage sex novel that builds every couple of pages to a passionate dash to second base. What happens after that is always touchingly vague, as the only thing that seems to pulse beneath Libby’s underpants is a boundless reservoir of disembodied longing.
But that won’t stop us from savoring. Here’s 17 choice bits, the passages you would steal glimpses if you were ten and found a copy of this beneath your grandpa’s mattress.
The book’s opening is a grand combination of in media res and coitus interruptus. Seventeen year-old Libby, drunk, races her Mercedes down Texas back roads and then lets a local dope paw at her:
“With sudden, frantic movements, as if she hated the feel of them against her body, she began to pull off her clothes. He helped her get the dress over her head, the open bra quickly fell away, and she almost tore off the lace trimmed panties. Then she lay exposed to the moonlight with only her stockings on, and Rod looked at her magnificently shapely body in wonderment. The moonlight playing on the white skin seemed to make it sing of a joyous world.” (page 11)
This encounter proves unsatisfying. Afterwards, Libby reflects on the pattern she has fallen into with salesmen, oilmen, ranch owners, and gas-station attendants:
“Let them put their hands over your breasts, up your legs and thighs, let them take your clothes off and bury themselves in you, hold them tight and kiss them and claw them and feel as if the whole world is exploding around you and suddenly find it all leads to nothing but the taste of ashes in your mouth and then cry.” (page 16)
This self-flagellation reminds her of the one man who ever spurned her, wealthy college football star Forbes McIntyre:
“She stood before him in all her glorious, youthful nudity, her ripe breasts challenging him, and he didn’t move toward her.” (page 19)
Forbes isn’t just unwilling to rise to the challenge of her breasts. He actually regards Libby with revulsion, telling her “I’m funny, I guess.” (This funniness, we’re told, later gets him kicked out of school.) Libby grows so despondent that her mother insists that she begin seeing a psychiatrist. Also influencing mom’s decision: Libby’s habit of hooking up with mom’s society friends. Libby imagines her first session:
“She saw herself lying down on a brown leather couch and behind her sat a tall, dark man with a heavy mustache. She was telling him about how she felt when Rod Campbell was holding her against the tree, and as she fell asleep she felt the doctor’s strong hand caressing her cheek as if to soothe her excitement, but his hand was exciting her all the more and she clutched it and held the writs to her lips, feeling the short dark hairs tickle her nostrils.” (page 32)
Note for future sex writers: No steamy paragraph should end on the word “nostrils.”
Libby duly attempts to seduce the shrink. At first he’s into it, but then he begs off and issues an excited diagnosis. Here, Libby gets breathless thinking about it:
“‘There’s the word … the ugly word I’ve never dared say aloud to myself … nymphomaniac … I’m a nymphomaniac … that’s what I am … Libby Dryden, the girl who’ll go for anything in a pair of pants.” (page 41)
Thinking herself something of a monster, Libby does the only thing that a nymphomaniac hoping to avoid sex with strangers should do: Hitch-hike and bus-ride her way across the country. Even non-sexual pleasures stir guilt in her:
“Momentarily, she resented the pleasant sense of well-being that the sandwich and milk had given her. What right did she have to feel like a cat about to purr?” (page 45)
On a bus, as a runaway, she meets a nice young man and proposes that they could both warm up if he spread his trenchcoat over both of their laps.
“The only sound came from the hum of the tires beneath them. Or was the hum somewhere inside her head … the hum of some invisible engine that controlled her life? ‘Oh, I feel so snug and good,’ she said and moved close to Jean-Pierre. ‘I’m glad you brought the bottle.'” (52)
Then there’s the usual nostril-tickling action:
“Their hands under the trenchcoat telegraphed messages to each other that were way more expressive than the spoken word.” (54)
Libby gets caught sleeping in a boxcar with a 16 year-old hobo named Sam’s “boyish head cradled against her breasts.” A cop tells her,
“‘A cute gal like you ought to be fussier about who she sleeps with and where she does the sleepin’. So help me, she oughta.” (71)
The cops aren’t too fussy about who she sleeps with, however. The next scene, inevitably, takes place in a women’s prison:
“‘Relax, darling,’ Carol was saying.
Relax! Did she dare? There was a name for what was going on here. Must she add this, too, to the aberration from which she already suffered? Yet the lips on her breast, the firm but gentle hand on her thigh, could be comforting if she let herself go.” (80)
Libby does not let herself go. Neither do her bunkmates:
“Once more she leaped forward, and this time the women came for her in a pack, like she-wolves. Fighting desperately, Libby clawed and kicked.” (82)
As she weeps, afterwards, that scene of horror inspires in Libby a realization that just right qualify her to run for the senate on a Tea Party ticket:
“And now, through the pain and the ache, she felt a sudden joy. Perhaps there was hope for her. Maybe she wasn’t too far gone. It wasn’t true that she’d go for anything in pants, she exulted.” (90)
Next time you meet someone nostalgic for the pre-Beatles 1960s, please scream “Rape as a cure for nymphomania?!”
Anyway, Libby meets up with Fletch, a photographer, and lights out for New York, where she lands a job at YEAR magazine … and a man she can trust with her secret. Libby and Fletch attempt to hold off lovemaking until she feels something like love, but this does nothing to slow the book’s steady parade of scenes centered on her rack:
“He held out his arms and she rushed into them. She gloried in the pressure on her breasts as he held her close. Their lips were fused in a long, searching kiss. Her thighs were pressed against his as if to become part of them.” (113)
Speaking of those breasts, which turn up at least once every two pages: Attentive readers might have notice that the cover of Hobo Girl emphasizes its heroine’s most well-traveled assets. But that cover image, like the book’s sex scenes, is curtailed for the sake of America’s purported innocence. We’ll probably never see the original photo, but your Crap Archivist has a pretty good guess what it looked like:
Hobo Girl finger puppets for all your Hobo Girl fan-fic!
“Fletch had a spacious three-room apartment in the east 60s.” (page 120)
A single-income, low-level magazine photographer! Maybe 1962 wasn’t so terrible after all!
Anyway, they fall in true love, and start doing it for real. Roget seems to be getting tired at this point and only describes the seduction in words pilfered from previous scenes:
“Fletch’s eyes were pinpoints of desire as he watched her unhook her bra at the back and drop it to the floor. Her full, firm breasts stood forth white and pink-tipped. A moment later, she had kicked off the panties she wore and stood forth in all her glorious nudity.” (page 122)
But the sex is unsatisfying for Libby. Fletch tries not to finish before her, but he writhes enough that “she defeated his mastery of himself.”
After that, she feels more guilt for having sex and then not enjoying it. In the final pages, a desperate Libby attempts to hook up with an older gentleman but discovers that he is actually the father who abandoned her years ago. Then Fletch proposes to her, and just like that her sex problem is fixed: Libby only wants it with one man, her betrothed, and now instead of a mouth full of ashes after a long build up she now feels “hitherto unknown ecstasy.”
Hooray! The love of a goodhearted man is just as magical in 1962 as the kiss of Prince What’s-His-Dick in Snow White!
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