Underground Reading: Suburban High School by George Savage
Monday, January 12, 2009
Suburban High School, by George Savage, was published in 1962 by the Beacon-Signal publishing line. Beacon-Signal also gave the world Commuter Widow, Frigid Wife, The Office Game and Virgins No More.
Suburban High School, if you'll forgive the pun, is predictably classless. Set in the fictional Anytown, USA suburb of Freemont, it tells the amorous adventures of Frank Miller (no relation), the new match teacher.
Frank quickly learns that the affluent suburb is a hotbed of scandal. There's quite a bit of good-old fashioned political intrigue going on in sleepy Freemont. Affluent parents are bribing and threatening teachers and coaches into giving their children good grades and the starting QB's slot. The aging principal is about to retire, so the (male) teachers are all viciously jockeying for position, often by spreading poisonous rumors.
And then there's the sex.
Frank roughly adheres to some sort of flexible moral code that allows him to condemn the community of Freemont while inserting his penis into a goodly proportion of the town's population. His only tip of the hat to acceptable behaviour is that he sometimes thinks twice before doing so. This sort of half-hearted commitment to keeping his zipper closed does - narrowly - allow him to avoid banging any of the ;students. Ultimately, this is what elevates, relatively speaking, Frank above all his peers.
However, when it comes to forcing himself on the English teacher, Jane, Frank has nary a second thought. What with her come-hither stare and her agreement to have a 'ride home' after their first faculty party, the tease was clearly begging for it. Frank's actions are later post-rationalized (and any potential guilt - not that he suffered any - alleviated) when Frank makes the discovery that "brutality arouses a terrible desire within her". Cue "silken thighs", "fluid legs" and "palpitating buttocks". Frank's violent relationship with Jane eventually culminates in a long night in the front seat of his car, in which he goes at her "like a juvenile delinquent" (?!), before ignoring her for the rest of the book.
Frank's more 'wholesome' relationship is with the 'good girl' art teacher that lives across the hall. Poor shy Dora. She experienced something nasty in the woodshed at age 15, and has become (gasp) frigid ever since. Frank is reluctant to talk to her (because she's seemingly ugly), but ultimately chivalric enough to lower himself to share a pot of coffee with her. And thank god he did - in-between cups of coffee, Fran discovers Dora's secret hobby of painting herself in the nude.
Frank doesn't have much time for psychoanalysis, so he quickly whips out the slappenfuk. Not literally (one presumes that his arms were still tired from pinning down the English teacher), but he gives Dora a good long talking-to. Frank explains that, just because she was raped doesn't mean that she should feel victimized, and, g'dammit, it was probably her fault that she didn't enjoy it anyway. Dora starts nodding along pretty rapidly, and before long, she's "meeting his thrusts with fiery buttocks". Slappenfuk. However did people used to solve problems without it?
This is an inarguably loathesome little book, which, despite the many interesting possibilities of the setting merely settles for a lackluster regurgitation of all the era's pornographic cliches. Fiery buttocks and all, there's not much happening in Freemont.