God Have Mercy on Me!: From the Diaries of a Lost Soul
1941 (c.1931)·New York
by The Author of 'No Bed of Roses' [Marjorie Erskine Smith]
New York: Gold Label Books. Very Good+ in Very Good dj. 1941 (c.1931). Reprint. Hardcover. NOISBN . (price-clipped) [solid copy, minor wear and slight bumping at several corners, light dust-soiling to top of text block; jacket has some very tiny tears and a bit of wrinkling along the top and bottom edges, very slight paper loss at a few corners, lightly soiled but still bright and garishly attractive]. The second book in the "Lost Soul Trilogy" (I don't think anybody's actually ever called it that, but it sounds good, doesn't it?), originally published in 1931 as an opportunistic follow-up to the sensational "No Bed of Roses." The books were written by one-time N.Y. Evening Graphic reporter Marjorie Smith, purportedly based on the "discovered" diaries of one "O.W.," a prostitute and drug addict. (In fact, in the final chapter of this volume, the narrator/diarist relates how she was tracked down by the woman (presumably Miss Smith) who had found three of her diaries; she proceeded to sell her the rights to her sordid story, along with another fifteen(!) notebooks.) This wealth of material allowed the author to document another five years' worth of "drunken brawls, maniacal paroxysms, poverty, disease, suffering, and raving viciousness" that ultimately drove O.W. to commit herself to "narcosan treatment" (i.e. drug rehab) at New York's Welfare Island....which basically led her to conclude that she "didn't want to be saved." The book's conclusion is about as bleak as can be imagined: with the windfall from the sale of her diaries, she buys herself a banana split, briefly contemplates upgrading her wardrobe (figuring if she looks prosperous she can get $4 for a trick instead of a measly $1.50), then admits to herself that all she really wants is "decks and decks of dope." And that, it seems, would have been that -- except that nearly twenty years later, Ms. Smith made another fortuitous "discovery," i.e. that O.W. had had a daughter, given up for adoption in infancy. And before you can say "Trilogy," there was another book, "With My Eyes Wide Open: The Story of Another Lost Soul," chronicling THAT poor ignorant girl's doomed struggle against the curse of her wretched mother's "bad blood." Ah, for the good old days, when sluts were scorned and degraded, instead of being given their own reality shows. . (Inventory #: 23714)
Unusual, Uncommon and Obscure Books in many (but not all) fields, with particular interest in American Culture (Popular and Unpopular), Art, Literature, Life and People from the 1920s through the 1960s.
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