Man Hungry Female (Novel Books, 1962)

Hitt - Man Hungry

Novel Books sure built up the hype on this one, with a blurb on the back stating how when they got the manuscript for Man-Hungry Female

we knew this was a great book but it also looked like it might be too-hot-to-handle.  Before publishing it we decided to seek the opinions of some experts in the ‘men’s’ reading field.

Followed are blurbs from Best for Men, Men’s Digest, and Rascal, all owned by CamerArts Publishing, which owned Novel.  They were good at the phony hype, based on copy on other books by Hitt and various writers…

How this one is “too hot the handle” is beyond me. It has a good cover — at least this woman looks like a real woman, but there’s barely any sex in the novel. There is a lot of poliical sioap-boaxing, so maybe that’s the hotness for 1962.

This one is set in Hollywood, so a little different from the usual Hitt setings, like Run for Cover is set in Los Angeles.  But Hitt never says the book takes place in L.A., we assume this because it’s about the flm industry, filmmaking, and film people.  There’s Boiling City, that seems to be Century City, and the mansions of the stars on Hungry Hill, which seems to be Beverly Hills, or perhaps Bel Air, or both.

The narrator is 27-year-old Shad Bell, studio head of Bell Productions, a mega empire built by his now deceased father and left to him to run. Like the narrator in Frustrated Females!, also a Novel Book, Shad has inherited a company worth millions and doesn’t have the experience to run it, yet tries.

“I womdered about the busty blonde in bed,” the book opens (p. 5).  Everything in this one is based on quantity of size — Shad is six-four, “a frame that came in plenty handy on the football field in College,” and the busty blonde is 42 inches, sometimes 44!

She’s Pat, a screenwriter come to work for him. They didn’t have sex — she had helped up to his hotel room (he lives in a posh hotel instead of a home) when he was too drunk to function, quite similar to the opening of Hitt’s other (wonderfully great) novel, Warped Woman.

Shad doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps and make blockbuster entertainment for the masses that the studio’s wealth is built on.  He doesn’t want to create fiction; instead, he wants to make a movie on the current political, social, and economic climate in America, tackling unions, labor, insurance, poverty, unwed mothers, juvenile gangs, war, the rich vs. the poor, and any other injustice he sees.

Thus he hires Pat to write the narrative, based on the “honesty” he found in her romantic comedy screemplay.  Eventually he falls for her, too: her intelligence and her giant bosom, which they muse on when Pat is frustrated about wearing a bikini:

“I’m hard to fit. I’m too big.”

[Shad:] “Some men want a girl big where you’re big.”

“That I don’t understand.”

“Actually, most men don’t understand it either. They just know what they like and they see no reason to explain why this is so.” (p. 82)

There are other moments of revelation from Shad:

“Unions. A lot of people will yell, but I want a close study of them. Money under the table, big shots taking dough to settle a strike that from the very beginning was as useless as a pair of falsies on a whore.” (p. 75)

“The power of money is getting into too few hands. Corporations. Giants. They strangle the man on his way up. And how far is up anymore? Incomes increase, but so does unemployment.” ( p. 116)

[Man in bar:] “Equality only means that each of us has an equal chance, an equal opportunity, in the beginning, to make ourselves what we wish.”

[Shad:] “Yes, but are we equal? Does the son of a doctor have an equal chance with the son of a milloniare?  Or the son of a carpenter with the doctor’s son?” (p. 116)

This all sounds good; alas, Man-Hungry Female — a title that makes no sense other than to sell it on the newsstands — falls flat.  There’s too much going on in the mere 128 pages or 40,000 words.  We never see the actual filing of Testimony, USA, Shad’s documentary that he burns after the first screening it’s so bad. There are severl subplots that veer off course:

Shad’s secretary’s son gets hit in the face with a vollyball at school and lapses into a coma, then mysteriously dies.  He could have been saved but there was a question of insurance.  The elementary school doesn’t have insurance on kids for thus, despite having health insurance for teachers and liability for visitors.  Shad goes on a tirade about the lack of equality and fairness, that the children should be taken care of for this. The matter goes on for pages and pages.

His business manager, Hal, has not only embezzled millions from the studio (we later find out he moved it to a safe account, because he knew Shad would blow it all on his docu-project) but was married, now divorced, from a starlet who had some othr guy’s child — turns out Shad’s father fathered the kid and the baby is his little brother.

I’m not sure what ol’ Orrie was trying to accomplish with this one — a Hollywood novel?  He seems to know the inner workings of producing film.  A social novel?  Politucal? The waste of money in Hollywood?  This is not a sex novel, albeit the occasional boobs and drunken romps with little detail, and there is no man hungry female, per se. I’m not sure if Novel re-printed this one under another title, as they were want to do.

A disappointment.  On the Hitt Scale, a 5.



One Response to “Man Hungry Female (Novel Books, 1962)”

  1. […] Man-Hungry Female by Orrie Hitt Reviewed here. […]

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