Campus Tramp (Kozy, 1962)

hitt - campus tramp

Hitt - Campus Tramp 2

Like Naked Model, another Hitt tale about a young woman lured into the nude photo and “camera club” racket (like his book Trapped); this time, however, there’s meat on the bone: Hitt uses the form to digress on politics, labor,  and socialism.  Plus, the heroine, Ann Preston, is a more rounded and three-dimensional character than his other wayward girls lost in the shabby streets of sin and slum.

Ann wants to get far, far away from Bell Avenue, the stretch of tenement slums, whores, drugs, and booze she grew up in.  Like many Hitt women, she is gifted and burdened with 40 inch boobs that, for her, are more a curse than an asset, because it’s all men seem to look at and care about.  She can’t walk down the street without catcall and luring; she can’t go anywhere in public without men making lewd remarks and propositioning her.  Her mother is a drunk and sleeps with her boss, too cheap to buy her a bra in high school that her jangling boobs were an embarrassment growing, and she was once sent home to put on a bra, one she never owned…

Ann is 19 when the book opens, and she has her gun sites on college. She has bee working and saving her money since she was 16.  There were no Pell Grants and government-backed student loans in them thar days– at least not for women — and only men could go to college on the GI Bill.  For a woman, one would have to have parents who could afford it or the gal have to pay her own way — Hitt does expound on the travesty of this, how most families with 3 or more kids could only send one kid to college, and had to choose and play favorites, hoping one day that kid would get a great job and support the family.

Hitt also uses Ann’s musings and the rantings of one of her professors to criticize the structure of labor unions, of capitalism and socialism, and the fallacy of pop psychology.  Ann thinks more than your common Hitt female; she’s always debating right and wrong, forgiving people when she shouldn’t, never blaming the men who try to make and rape her because she feels they are a product of bad upbringing and unfortunate social and financial influences.

Her mother’s boss, a ugly guy with yellow teeth, raped her when she was a teenager; now he has gotten her 38-year-old mother pregnant.

She has a boyfriend, Paul, the only other man she’s been with besides her rapist.  She loves him but he’s going nowhere as a gas station manager.  She needs to get a college education; she wants to teach K-12 and make something of herself.

She heads out to Pleasant City, where the community college is; only thing,  the town around the campus is known for its seedy red light district, a town where the only way a girl can make decent money is to be a dancer or hooker or both.

She is rooming with Janice who, Ann finds out, puts herself through college by hooking, and has gotten A’s by sleeping with certain professors.  They rent from this hulky, bulky blonde-haired stud, Bert, who is Janice’s pimp and runs a camera club operation in his cellar.

When Ann ‘s tuition and books check bounces, she wonders how could it be, she had saved a grand…she goes to the bank and finds out her mother forged a check to take money for an abortion  and skip town.  Ann has $40 left to her name and she’s going to be kicked out of school.

Her own mother…stealing…taking her future from her…

Ann has no other choice to to model nude for Bert’s camera club at $15/hr….but Bert has more plans for her; he wants a stable of girls to pimp out to the men and convention goers in Pleasant City.

And there is her psychology prof, Mr. Carl Jordan, 35, who has a yen for Ann, and sexually blackmails her: if she wants an A, or even a passing grade, in her class, she has to give in to his wishes; he might even go to the dean and say she forced herself on him for a grade.  He’s one of the teachers Janice slept with for an A.  Prof. Jordan will not take no for an answer — Ann is conflicted: she thinks he’s a pig, but she also thinks he’s intelligent for all the soap-boxing he does in the class about her generation having a responsibility to take action and change the political and social climate in America.

It’s all doomed to end in death and bloodshed…

Her mother dies from a botched abortion.

Prof. Jordan crashes his car while drunk and dies.

Paul beats the shit out of Bert when he finds out about the pictures and the blackmail.

Janice murders Bert, just to finish the job.

Ann?  Does she continue college?  Nah, she marries Paul and they live happily ever after.

That’s it.

Sorry for the spoiler but this book isn’t easy to find.

On the Hitt Scale, an 8.5.

Next up…Trailer Tramp?  Girls’ Dormitory to keep to a theme?  Burlesque Girl?  Or maybe Dolls and Dues, for some politics…

Or maybe an obscure and early Hitt, Love in the Arctic...

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