Girl of the Streets (Midwood #12, 1959)

All of Hitt’s Midwood titles are fairly easy to find and not too pricey — The Cheaters and Two of a Kind will get up there.  For some reason, Girl of the Streets is rare to locate and fetches $40-60 on the market.

All of Hitt’s Midwoods are excellent novels. The weakest is A Doctor and His Mistress, followed by this one and then Unnatural Urge (the best are Hired Lover, The Cheaters, Two of a Kind, As Bad as They Come, Affair with Lucy, and Summer Romance).

There is nothing wrong with this one, per se, it’s just the same sort of story Hitt has re-told in many a cover — such as Sin Doll,and both have the same heroine name, Sherry Collins, and both get roped into the sin world of flesh and photos. Other books with the same: Campus Tramp, Three Strange Women, Sheba, etc.

Sherry grew up on River Street, the town’s seedy part where cheap hookers and booze is always available, and shady characters sell reefer and girly pics on the street.  But she is a good girl, despite her 38-19-34 figured that all men and boys crave for.

She works in a typing pool at an office and makes $70 a week, $30 going to her parents so they can pay rent and her dad can booze it up.  She finally gets fed up and leaves them, moving into a room rented out by the parents of her boyfriend, Frank.  She gives in to Frank, thinking it is true love, and then catches Frank with another girl.

She moves next to a River Street girl’s boarding house that caters to “loose” women who make money in an amoral way consistent with “the street.”  She shares a room with a young woman who paints and winds up getting seduced by her, having a wild lesbian experience.

All the while she is trying to focus at her job but keeps making typing mistakes; the office manager says her job is on the line and one day she is called into the head man’s office, Freddie Parks. She expects to be canned but instead Mr. Parks tells her he has had his “eye” on her and would like her to represent the company in the local country club beauty pageant.

She is flattered, floored, and naive to boot — others try to warn her, and she soon figures out that these beauty contests are rigged and just a way for old married businessmen to flirt and sleep with pretty young girls. Freddie has rigged the contest so the judges will vote for her — this is after he beds Sherry.  She is naive enough to think that dinner and drinks with her married boss is nothing serious — she holds up her guard until he tells her sweet nothings and how he will leave his wife and marry her.  He even makes her his personal secretary, not knowing that there ave been three other secretaries, all whom he impregnated.

Meanwhile, the local River Street smut merchant and pimp, Sammy Gaines, has been hounding her to let him take naked pictures of her. He offers $500. She keeps refusing and he assures her that one day she will be desperate for cash and will come to him…

And the day comes when SHerry’s mother falls down a flight of stairs and breaks her back, needed a $1000 surgery.  So she goes to him, the photos are taken, she stoops below her moral standard…

This is somewhat a depressing story, and Hitt draws a well-rounded portrait of a young lady in the 1950s trying to survive in a world run by men, either in the sex racket or the business world. She finds that she has power using her body but she also loathes it.  All the men in her life are heels, except for Frank, who redeems himself and provides for a sappy, happy ending.

On the Hitt Scale, a 7.5

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