When I try to figure out which books I’m going to write about for this series, one thing that comes into consideration is whether or not a particular book is actually, you know, any good. I think quality does have something to do with it, and I’m not going to do a Forgotten Books post about a book that I think is a real stinker.
However, some books do have a certain historical or nostalgic value that’s separate from their actual quality. And so it is with this week’s selection, MY BRIDE FOR YOURS, by Curt Aldrich.
You see, nearly forty years ago when I was a freshman in college, we had a circulating library of several dozen porn novels of this vintage in the dorm where I lived. In those pre-Internet days, in Texas anyway, pornography wasn’t that easy to find, although being 18-year-old guys, mostly living away from home for the first time, we did our dead-level best to find it anyway. (Some of us, of course, spent more time looking for the real thing, rather than a printed facsimile, but that’s another story.) Anytime somebody bought a new porn novel, after reading it went into the large cardboard box in Scooter’s dorm room (Scooter may have been the name on his birth certificate, for all I know; I never heard anybody call him anything else) so that the rest of the guys on the third floor could enjoy it, too. Over the course of the year I spent there, I read several dozen of these books, and I came across others here and there over the next few years.
We know now that just like ten or a dozen years earlier than that, when authors such as Lawrence Block, Robert Silverberg, and Donald E. Westlake were turning out Nightstand Books, in the late 60s and early 70s some other authors who went on to have significant careers in more respectable genres were producing epics like RAJAH and LITTLE DONNIE’S MOTHER for Liverpool Library Press, Greenleaf, and other porn publishers.
The house-name Curt Aldrich originated as part of William Hamling’s porn enterprise and appeared on Nightstand, Leisure, Pillar, etc. Books. An early Curt Aldrich, maybe the original one for all I know, was Richard Curtis, who went on to become a well-known literary agent, which I believe he still is. By the time MY BRIDE FOR YOURS appeared, Curtis probably wasn’t Aldrich anymore, but who knows, maybe he was.
To finally get around to saying a few words about the book itself . . . well, it’s a sex novel, pretty plain and simple. Several young couples go on a honeymoon cruise to a secluded Florida resort. On the yacht taking them there, and once they reach the resort itself, much graphic swapping of newlywed spouses goes on. That’s it for the plot.
But the book does have a few things to recommend it. The writing in the non-sex scenes is consistently good. Admittedly, there aren’t many of them and they don’t last very long, but they’re there. And the prose in the sex scenes has a considerable amount of goofy humor to it, as if the author wasn’t taking things very seriously and wasn’t expecting the reader to, either. Whoever wrote MY BRIDE FOR YOURS was talented enough that he or she might well have published fiction in other genres, too. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.
So why have I written a lengthy Forgotten Books post about an obscure (no copies listed on ABE), forty-year-old sex novel? So I could wallow in nostalgia about my freshman year of college, of course, but also because these books, like other sex books before them, served as a training ground for a number of talented authors who went on to do other things. Looking at it now from the perspective of a bibliophile and all-around nosy guy, I find that interesting. But here’s the real reason I picked this particular book.
You can get a Kindle edition of it on Amazon for a buck.