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Girls in 3-B

Annice, Pat, and Barby are best friends from Iowa, freshly arrived in booming 1950s Chicago to explore different paths toward independence, self-expression, and sexual freedom. From the hip-hang of a bohemian lifestyle to the sophisticated lure of romance with a handsome, wealthy, married boss to the happier security of a lesbian relationship, these three experience first-hand the dangers and limitations of women's economic reliance on men. Well-known lesbian pulp author Valerie Taylor skilfully paints a sociological portrait of the emotional and economic pitfalls of heterosexuality in 1950s America -- and then offers a defiantly subversive alternative. A classic pulp tale showcasing predatory beatnik men, drug hallucinations, and secret lesbian trysts, this book approaches the theme of sex from the stiffened vantage point of 1950s psychology.
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About the Author

Valerie Taylor is the pen name of Velma Young, author of the lesbian pulp classics Whisper Their Love (1957), The Girls in 3-B (1959), World Without Men (1963), Journey to Fulfillment (1964), and Ripening (1988). With the $500 proceeds of her first novel, Hired Girl (1953), Taylor bought a pair of shoes, two dresses, and hired a divorce lawyer. After leaving her husband, she kicked off a prolific career as the author of pulp fiction novels, poetry (under the name of Nacella Young), and romances (under the name Francine Davenport). A long-time activist for gay and lesbian rights, she was a co-founder of Mattachine Midwest and the Lesbian Writers Conference in Chicago.


Originally published in 1959 and reissued as part of the Feminist Press's new Femme Fatale series of pulp fiction by women writers, this is genre literature with a few twists. Three young women move to Chicago and room together; each wants to emancipate herself from smalltown mores. Annice, a would-be poet, dreams of associating with the intelligentsia; Pat is a secretary in a publishing firm who develops a powerful attraction to her engaged boss; and Barby is a stunning shop clerk whose sexual desire for her supervisor-a female-takes her by surprise but ultimately enriches her life. Searching for their true identities in an era that values sanitized, middle-class, heterosexual conventions, the girls are faced with the classic choice between "good boys" and "bad boys." Annice is torn between nihilistic artist Alan and stable Midwesterner Jackson, who is studying to be a physicist; Pat must weigh Blake, her philandering boss, against Stan, a junior company man with a longstanding crush on her. The book's insights into issues like sexual abuse, infidelity, the corporate glass ceiling, drug experimentation (there is a wild three-page peyote trip that rivals some Beat writers' renditions) and sexual double standards (and how to manipulate them) are surprisingly modern, though two of the three protagonists eventually drift toward conventional happiness. This is a refreshing entry for the genre, mercifully devoid of the moralistic and cautionary elements common in much 1950s pulp. (Nov. 3) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"A remarkable slice of bohemia from the 1950s. Valerie Taylor gives 'pulp' a good name and weaves a wondrous tale of love, lesbianism, poetry, and sex around three young women who leave their small town for the allure of the big city." --Jack Halberstam, author of Female Masculinity "The Girls in 3-B will give you a sense of the dangers and delights of passion between women in another era. . . . Valerie Taylor's much-loved story has achieved well-deserved classic status in the lesbian pulp canon." --Ann Bannon, author of Odd Girl Out

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