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An honest, explosive novel that turns conventional ideas of 1950s life and femininity upside down, The Girls in 3-B reveals in heart-breaking detail the hidden world of mid-century America, where women live on their own in seedy apartments, have premarital sex, get illegal abortions, yearn to be artists, experiment with drugs, and, if they are so inclined, discover a mannered, thriving lesbian underworld.
Valerie Taylor's focus on themes of class as well as gender and sexual identity provides an unusual perspective on the myth of the American Dream. With poverty never more than a paycheck away, the girls in 3-B inhabit a world in which their bodies are sometimes their only currency, and their artistic and career ambitions are limited by both their meager resources and the blatant sexism of their time. The characters in the novel are, surprisingly, far more self-aware and daring than most contemporary images of 1950s America - and then offers a defiantly subversive alternative. A classic pulp tale showcasing predatory beatnik men, drug hallucinations, workplace intrigues, and secret lesbian trysts, The Girls in 3-B approaches the theme of sex from thestiffened vantage point of 1950s psychology.