Sunday, April 05, 2009

I woke up this morning thinking about a really crazy romance novel I read when I was about fourteen or so. I can't remember the name of it, or who it was by, which is making me sad because I'd really love to get my hands on a copy. It was truly one of the most insane books ever, and I know it's been a big influence on my own writing.

From what I can remember the plot went like this: A good old southern boy with a rednickish type of name (Delbert or Delmont? something like that) decides to leave his shitty southern hometown and make his way to California. While stopped at a gas station he meets the heroine, a trashy girl who's been abandoned there by her last guy. She basically offers Delbert her pussy in exchange for a ride to California. He likes the idea, so he hitches up her rickety trailer to his truck and off they go, fucking their way across the country.

Since it's a romance novel they fall in love of course, and have a lot of strange adventures. At the end they meet up with this really kind preacher and his wife (in Texas?) who are building a roller rink for the members of their church. The preacher feeds them, gives them money, and lectures them both on how they should quit sinning and get married. They argue and squabble about this advice and storm off, and you figure it's only a matter of time before the two are declaring their love in a happy ending, right? But that's when the novel took a completely bizarre turn.

In a very WTF plot twist, the preacher goes completely nuts, gets a high powered rifle, and starts shooting the church members while they are blissfully roller skating around to disco tunes. He also slits his wife's throat. Then Delbert and the chicky (maybe her name was Candy? Sandy?) meet up with him while he is surrounded by cops and convince him to turn himself in.

I think at the very end they do go on to California together but that may be wrong. I can't really remember, even though I must have read it a hundred times or so. Does this book sound familiar to anyone? It was published in the 1970's by some little publishing house, I think. Not Harlequin or any of the other big romance publishers. I found it at a thrift store and the cover was missing.

I loved it because it went against all of the romance novel cliches. The characters were flawed in a delightfully quirky way. The hero wasn't all that dreamy, he had a temper and got into a few fistfights. The heroine was kinda slutty, and not all that bright. Then there was the whole whacked out holy roller/roller rink murder rampage.

I really doubt something like this would be published today, which is a shame. It was a million times better than that stupid piece of shit Twilight book. I'll never understand the appeal of that one. Bella is a boring twit who stumbles around so much she should wear a retard helmet, and Edward is a dull weirdo. Would you really want to be with a guy who spent his nights staring at you while you slept? Ewww.

Of course, maybe I'm hallucinating again and this book I've described is just my dream novel. If it rings a bell though, I'd be eternally grateful to the person who can tell me the title or author.


Bill Stankus said...

The 1970s and romance novels? That's difficult to imagine. We hadn't sunk that low back then as I recall. During the 70s there was still a belief that good literature mattered. Imagine it, writers like Mailer, Vonnegut or Vidal were regularly seen being interviewed on TV.

It wasn't til dopiness and stupidity sort of flowered in the 80s - that's when I think romance novels, like mildew or crab grass, first took hold. I mean, most of the 70s was still lingering from the highs of the 60s. Of course junk novels have always existed but romance novels, ohmygawd!

Then again, your mystery book was probably considered by a different name - maybe it was sold at truck stops or bus stations.

Girl Interrupted said...

Lordy! That sounds totally bonkers! I tried Google and a couple of book-search sites that lets you search by plot, but no results I'm afraid.

I really hope someone can help you out with the title because I'm intrigued now and want to read it lol

Prunella Jones said...

Hmmm maybe it was some sort of truck stop book. Hard to tell without the cover, but I assumed it was a romance because of the love theme. I don't think it was a porno as the sex scenes weren't graphic enough.

How I wish I still had that book! I'm not sure what happened to it. My mom probably threw it out in one of her cleaning frenzies.

Joyless Prole said...


You might be able to find it on google books.

That kind of nonsequiter is sort of why I liked douglas adams so much when I was a teenlet, but I reread it again recently and was like...ok. Kind of sad, to find something I loved so much now falls flat.

Krissyface said...

that just smacks of Janet Dailey...did you ever read her? I used to lock myself in the bathroom with one of my mom's library books and 'do my hair'...

hee hee

xl said...

I'm guessing it was maybe an instruction manual for the Branch Davidians.

Dr Zibbs said...

I just wrote a post declaring my love for your funny ass.

Dominica said...

KInda Wild ?
First thing that came to mind was a dream novel...
like you just said.
Know what ?
Write it down yourself, publish it and who knows...
Tarantino will contact you in person...

All This Trouble... said... know what? I don't know this book you speak of and I don't understand these "truck stop" book references.

But I DO remember MY favorite "trash" novel was called "Doctor's Desires". I found it at my aunt's in a yard sale box. It was just what the doctor ordered and I wonder if it influenced my career choice.

I also read "Job: A Comedy Of Justice" as a yard sale find when I was in my teens and years later, saw it again and was amazed it was Heinlein. I couldn't believe it! That's when I began to associate good authors with good books.

WendyB said...

I like how you're trying to pass of your autobiography as some old novel.

Dr Zibbs said...

And as for the book, I don't think it was Moby Dick but I could never get though that one so who knows.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Why do all the trashy chicks have to be named Candy?

It's gives all us church lovin', law abidin', pure livin' Candy's a bad rap.

Kelly said...

Dr. Zibbs sent me. Awesome post!

Phil Bennett said...

It sounds like a great plot for a LMN movie. I am hooked on those. Then I google the main actress to see all the other crap she played in.

The title should be "Rink of death" or "How to pick up a skank and fuck your way to California".

Either way, I'd watch it.


p.s. love your blog. :)

Prunella Jones said...

LOL, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ryan Reynolds could star, with Mickey Rourke as the whacked out preacher. I see it!