The Kay Addams Autobiographies: The Secret Perversions and My Secret Perversions! as told to Orrie Hitt (Novel Books, 1963)

Addams - Secret Perversions of Kay Addams

Good ol’ Orrie gets metafictional here with these two related titles from Novel Books, both short, c. 40,000 words in large roomy type font.  asically, these are memoirs of a 24-year-old female writer, Kay Addams, as “told to” Orrir Hitt, because she doesn’t like to type on a typewriter.

She typed her first novel (title never given) but the next three she hired a young redhead reporter, Ann, to type from a dictation machine — she also has a sexual tryst with Ann, and when she decides to no longer be a lesbian, Ann sliced her flesh up with a razor so no man would ever lust for body.

Kay, it seems, has a 42 inch bust, 19 inch waist, and 36 inch hips, as apparent from the woman on the cover, I suppose.

Not sure what the true title of this book is — on the cover it’s The Secret Perversions of Kay Addams by Kay Addams as Told to Orrie Hitt, but the spine and inside page has: Autobiography of Kay Addams.

Orrie Hitt is a character in both books, and he makes fun of himself. Kay does not find him attractive, and she’s annoyed that he was so cheap that he called her collect.  Upon meeting Orrie,

my first reaction when I opened the door was one of disappointment. Somehow I expected a big man but he was only average height, with a high forehead and brown hair that was beginning to thin out to the point of becoming nothing.  Some might say he was stocky but I was inclined to beieve that he was heavier than he should be.  His face was far from being handsome, but when he smiled there was an inner warmth about him that seemed to reach out and grip me […] Maybe I was a little nervous in his presence. Certainly he was a far more productive novelist than I dreamed of ever being and he had been established much longer.  Still, I had my own following and I made a decent living.

Her first novel, published at age 19 or 20, was about her teenage years and lesbianism.  The cover says Kay is the author Lucy and twelve other bestselling lesbian novels.”  Lucy, Hitt’s first Kay Addams, wasn’t really a lesbian novel.  [A Note: It was reprinted by Softcover Library in the U.K. as Beautiful Tramp but with Hitt’s byline.]

Hitt - beautful tramp

Also, there doesn’t seem to be 12 Kay Addams novels, only Lucy, Three Strange Women, Queer Patterns, Warped Desire, and The Strangest Sin all from Beacon, and then a few from Novel.

Well, this is meta-fiction, after all.

The back cover blurb is hilarious:

As you know, Novel Books does not like lesbians — and thus does not like to publish books about them.  We believe in man as a hero (and woman as heroine). But once in a great while we make an exception.  Kay Addams is a beautiful 24 year old writer who wrote 12 bestselling books about lesbians because she herself as always been one!  More important — each of those books has been dominated by her heroine’s attempt to break away from perversion.  We wondered whether Kay herself had been able to break away from women to men.  We commissioned our most renowned author, Orrie Hitt (who himself has sold over 12 million novels) to get Kay Addams’ story. Here it is, as Kay told Orrie — for the first time anywhere!

Yes, this is Kay’s confession of lesbian wanton ways and how she found happiness and marriage in the arms of a man.  But what Orrie, and Novel, are doing is making fun of that genre trope — that a lesbian must repent and love the cock instead, or come to a tragic end — (like with Vin Packer’s Spring Fire, when the lesbian girl goes insane from her perversions, or how in Sin Girls by Robert Silverberg (as Marlene Longman, reviewed here), eschews dykehood for a man.

The story of Kay’s not-so-exciting life is: she grows up wealthy, her father is a successful attorney; her mother leaves them and when Kay is 17, her father marries a 19 year old woman, Laurie, and gets her pregnant.  Kay is raped by one of her father’s employees but she keeps it a secret, and she is disgsutedby men.  She is raped again during prom night — or, she lets a boy do what he wants, drunk, and she just lays there and takes it but hates it.  She doesn’t date, has no interest in men, although she befreinds a typewriter salesman, Al.  She needs a typewriter for college, plus she has an idea of becoming a writer and wants to compose a novel.

Everyone who hears her dream of being a novelist guffaws — she’s a girl, she’s too young, what does she know about life to write?  She gets the same in college — her professors discourage her, but one classmate at the girls college encourages her, and the two become lovers.  Kay realizes she is a lesbian, that she finds pleasure in the act of twilight sex.

The two girls are caught in the act of Lesbos, however, and Kay is expelled and sent home. Her father is disgusted and disowns her, leaving her penniless.  She gets a room and, in order to have money to fibish her novel, she modles for nude photos.

All along Al tries to date her, as does another fellow from a gas station who gets some girl pregnant, his dreams of college shattered.  No one takes her desire to be a writer seriously, something Orrie Hitt experienced (as many young wrters once did, including myself).

Kay has read the sleazy paperbacks on the drugstore racks and thinks she can do better.  She takes the “write what you know” method and writes a novel about a young lesbian coming to terms with her sexuality.  She sends the manuscript off to the publisher of the books she’s found (Beacon?) and eventally it is accepted, with edits, and she gets a whipping $600 advance.

Still, she feels she has conquered the world, and she has shown everyone who didn’t believe in her how wrong they true. Ah, sweet revenge, sweet justice, also something every writer feels when selling that first novel (including me, and every time I sell another).  Kay’s thoughts on writing novels  mirror Hitt’s, similar to the musings he has in Taboo Thirlls/Warped Woman:

You see it as a challange and you wonder if you’re capable of meeting that challenge. It isn’t like any other buisiness or profesion. If you sell a man an insurance policy you have certain rate to guide you. A carpenter who builds a house or chicken coup has a set of plans. A doctor can study a book in regards to the symptoms of a case which he’s trying to treat.  The artist has his painting in front of him and he can see all of his work at a single glance.  An autor has none of these iads. Just yourself.  Your mind.

The publication of her novel — and we still never know the title — does not go over well in this small town of Port Sands where she lives.  Its the talk of the town, and people gossip: is Kay Addams really a secret lesbian?  Her father shows her what he thinks of her novel: he tosses a copy in the fire in frnt of her. Everyone sees it as dirty smut and trash, not serous literature.

In Warped Woman, the Hitt alter-ego Chet Long does not consider himself a writer of sleaze trash and sex books, but sees his work as serious social examinations of human sexuality and the politics of society regarding depravity and the dark side of the soul.  Kay shares the same view of her work:

My last novel before the storm broke was about a frigid wife [Lucy?]  Ann and I discussed my approach to this subject but a casual investigation  caused me o alter much of the contents.  I discovered that many wives were firgid, a rather shocking percentage, to be exact, but I also learned that most of these women could be cured through a virile, selfish man making love to them. The publisher was pleased with the book and I felt it was my best effort. The manuscript inspected the problem as a sort of female bankruptcy and while the marriage was salvaged in the last chapter I didn’t pretend that I had provided a complete answer which could be applied to every woman.

In this regard, much of the impetus for this blog devoted to discussing Hitt’s book is justified: Orrie Hitt did indeed believe he was writing serious studies of human nature in the guise of sleaze paperbacks, and many times, this case is true…

While Kay’s relationship with Ann is good for three books’ worth, she soon realizes that she too will find a cure for her perversions with a virile male: Al.

Al is now a successful young insurance salesman and he always saw Kay as a potential mate, until she published her lesbian novel. He confronts her, drink, one night, when he finds the photos she posed nude for.  His anger becomes passion, they make love, and Kay knows she must give up pussy and surrender to the cock.

And then Ann slashes her up with a razor…

Kay almost dies from loss of blood…

Ann is arrested and sent to an asylum…

Kay married Al.

In finishing her memoir, Hitt takes some funny jabs at himself again, in true self-reflexive fashion:

Of course he [Orrie Hitt] didn;t devote all his time to me. He wrote in his hotel room during the day, drank too much beer in the afternoon and came over too see me every evening.

“Look,” he said one night, “Pull out the stops, will you, Kay?” (p. 145)

It ends with Kay finding happiness in the arms of her husband, having given up her inner dyke and off to write her next novel…

hitt - addams - my secret pervs

And then comes the sequel, published the same year, My Secret Perversions! Not sure what the deal is with the trans-sexual on the cover — or a woman with a man’s face. But…a lot of the photo covers from Novel and Merit often featured some strange-looking ladies with manly features…what was this say about a publisher “for men” with tough guy hero fiction as its niche?

There’s a foreword by Orrie Hitt, explaining that there was more to her life than that first book. There was something in the papers, a new twist, a new tale to tell…

The first book ends with her and Al happy, in bliss forever…this second one, we find that bliss was short and her marriage has gone to the dumps: their sex life is nil, Al is selling less policies and drinking a lot, they are living off her royalties more than his salary, she suspects he’s cheating on her, and she has writer’s block.

Her husband, his mother,  her father, and her 26-year-old step-mother  all discourage her from writing any more lesbian or sleaze books. They want her to write a serious literary novel, perhaps an historical novel about Port Sand’s which history in the birth of America.  She says such a novel wll take a year or three, whereas she can whip out a lesbian novel in two months and get paid $600 plus royalties.

Another comment Hitt makes, subtle mode: just because a writer has a few books out and has fans and makes royalties, doesn’t mean that writer is rich.  $600 isn’t much, and Kay is just getting by.  For all the millions of copies that Orrie Hitt sold, why did he pass away destitute and nearly forgotten?  Why did every advance and royalty check count? Believe me, I get the same: all those books and you don’t live in a mansion?  Outsiders don’t understand that unless you’re Dan brown or John Grisham, the book writing biz is not rich and glamour.  The term “working writer” may as well be the same as “professoonal plumber.”  We work hard, too, folks, and ever check is spent before we get the damn things.

Money running tight, and to afford time for the Big Novel, Kay and Al move in with his invalid mother but Kay soon finds she hates it, having to wait hand and foot on her mother-in-law, clean the large house weekly, and cook dinner every night.  She barely finds time to write and when Al comes home, he’s drunk and drinks more and they argue, usually about her career.

He doesn’t want her to publish trash anymore because his clients couild find out, ditto with her father. She refuses to publish under a pen name — what does she have to hide?  Again, this seems more like Orrie Hitt commenting on his own career: he published most of his books under his own name, and people inhis life probably egged him to write “serious” books.

Kay finds that she cannot force herself to write in a genre she has no passion for.  Writing books is a passion, and she prefers to write about reality, about people coping with sexual issues and poverty and bills and pregnancy and cheating.

As for Kay, she’s miserable: her failing marriage, her wasted time on the historical novel, the fact that she knows her husband slept with her step-mother and the second baby she’s carrying is probably his…and then there’s the young hot maid, Flora Jenkins, whom Kay starts to feel that old lesbian itch cropping up…not t mention Al also has her eyes on her too.

It’s all very seedy, sleazy, and tawdry.  Grist for Kay’s new novel!  Lesbian wanting, fridgid wives, cheating husbands — sounds like many Orrie Hitt/Kay Adams books.

This book should have been titled My Tawdry Life in Shabbyville!

He makes fun of himself again:

No, he [Orrie Hitt] assured me, I hadn’t disturbed him.  He began writing at seven in the morning, because his kids drove him nuts in the afternoon, and he was just having a glass of iced coffee while he glamced at the local paper.

“Seven in the morning?” I was amazed.

“Yeah, I stumble out of bed and fall over the typewriter.” (p. 54)

He has sent her a check for her portion of the sale of her memoir, much needed money so she can hire the maid and have more time to work on her next book, which Novel Books will give her an adavnce if they approve the first 50 pages.

She knows she has to end her marraige. They aren’t happy. “I could contin ue wth my writing and support myself, live as I pleased” (p. 91)

Of the two books, this second one is the best: the characters are more desperate, more lonely, more scared and uncertain, turning to booze and infidelity to soothe their pain.  Her father and mother-in-law are horrid curmudgeons who never stop to criticize her lifestyle as if they have the answers. Everyone wants to tell her how and what to write but she finds it best when she writes what she pleases, when she pleases, and how she pleases.  Her (or Hitt’s) insights on the writer’s life are informative and true.

Kay also finds out that nothing in her life is what it seems — her husband, her young mother-in-law, the sexy maid…it’s all been one big con, to get at her father’s fortune…all one big lie.

One big (meta)fiction.

3 Responses to “The Kay Addams Autobiographies: The Secret Perversions and My Secret Perversions! as told to Orrie Hitt (Novel Books, 1963)”

  1. […] The Secret Perversities of Kay Addams by Kay Addams as told to Orrie Hitt Reviewed here. […]

  2. […] Makes me wonder who Hitt is basing this character on, some other writer he heard saying the same in a bar somewhere.  The asides on the craft of novel-writing are similar to those in Taboo Thrills and The Atobiography of Kay Addams. […]

  3. […] story-line also mirrors The Secret Perversions of Kay Addams, where Kay Addams  reveals her life and how she came to write her first novel, Warped Desire, a bestseller in paperback lesbiana. In […]

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