Wild Lovers (Kozy #145, 1961)

James Reasoner recently reviewed this one at his blog, so I decided to give it a gander here. It’s one of ol’ Orrie’s backwoods novels, Erskine Caldwell territory with perhaps a tad of Faulkner, and I have not yet discussed any of those, but will soon — such as Ellie’s Shack, Pleasure Ground, and Untamed Lust.

Reasoner suggets this one could have been titled Shany Road and he’s right, and would have been a better title, since all the action pretty much takes place along Shanty Road in Mechanicsville (a town in several Hitt books), the slum area of the poor, the day laborers, the loose girls who sell what they have for booze, food, or money.  All white trash tramps and heels, really, like Pug and Joy.

Joy lives in a shack. Her home burned down in the past, killing her parents; she gets by with her chickens, selling eggs to passerbys and in town.  She’s 22 and the usual Hitt gal with a 38 inch bust and 19 inch waist. She’s also a virgin — she “dates” Pug, a 21-year-old auto mechanic and gas station attendent, but she refuses to sleep with him, she refuses to be like all the other girls on Shany Road, like Pug’s pregnant sister who has no idea who the father is.

A corporation wants to buy Joy’s property; they have been buying land around the lake for some big project. She has refused the $20K offer, waiting for more money, while the guy from the company keeps trying to make her, suggesting they go to a hotel and seal the deal.

Everywhere she turns, men  come on to her and she thinks they are all pigs.

Along come Slim, a big man, an atist, son of the local rich family.  He’s come back to the house and farm with a girlfriend from New York, Cherry.  He takes a yen for Joy, and offers her $20 a day to pose in the nude for his paintings, more for photos — once again, Hitt delves into the nudie pic racket.

Like all of Hitt’s novels with a female protaginist, the girl gets sucked into taking her clothes off (and more) because she needs money.  She certainly does not want to marry Pug and get stuck in the small town for the rest of her life.  Pug is okay, but she doesn’t love him.  He gets frustrated one night and takes Joy by force, pops her cherry by rape, something that happens in a number of Hitt books, like Sin Doll or Campus Tramp. After, Pug is ashsmed of himself and Joy says he’s lucky she doesn’t have him arrested.

Posing for Slim, she feels desire and since she’s no longer a virgin, she sleeps with Slim — the day after her rape!

There’s also Slim’s girlfriend, Cherry, who is turning into a lush and playing around with.  It can all only lead to bad shit.

This one, unfortunately, is not as engaging as Hitt’s usual work.  The characters are not that interesting or redeeming, and the situations predictable and over-used in other Hitt books.  Why should we care about Joy?  She’s not too bright, she has no future beyond Shanty Road, and she doesn’t really fight off Pug’s forced sex much, as if she expected it to happen one day.  The fact that she sleeps with Slim the next day makes her no less a Shanty Road slut than any other.

On the Hitt Scale, a 6.5.

One Response to “Wild Lovers (Kozy #145, 1961)”

  1. […] Wild Lovers by Orrie Hitt Reviewed here. […]

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