Jessica's Reviews > Steffie Can't Come Out to Play

Steffie Can't Come Out to Play by Fran Arrick
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's review
Jun 09, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: borrowed-from-library, kids

This is one of those "edgy" young adult novels that was quite notorious in the late 70s (not quite the level of Go Ask Alice, but up there) and often cited during that period's "kids are losing their innocence" hysteria cycle. Steffie is a small-town girl who runs away to the big city to become a model and gets picked up at the Port Authority bus station the second she arrives by a pimp named -- get this -- Favor, who feeds and houses her for a few nights before turning her out on the street as part of his stable of teen hookers. For all I know, the details of teen hookerdom were meticulously researched at the time, but the voices -- Steffie's in particular -- ring very false. Not even a small-town girl would be naive enough to think that this guy in a fur coat driving a Cadillac is taking her in because he has fallen madly in love with her at first sight and is going to get her a major modeling contract, and that's just in the first few pages. Adding to the idiocy of it all is the subplot involving a couple of cops who eat at the diner across the street from Steffie's corner and are perfectly aware of the underage flesh being peddled but who sit there for most of the book drinking coffee and eating hamburgers and talking in pseudo-hardboiled cop lingo.

Worst of all, it's just not quite bad-enough-to-be-good. I wish I hadn't re-read it and had just let the memories of sniggering over it in summer camp live in my mind.

Note: the cover design shown here is different from the copy I have. In my copy, Steffie is dressed the same, but is facing front while Favor lurks in the background in profile, with his fur coat pulled up to his chin and his pimp hat with a giant brim and feather pulled down over his eyes. Subtle.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Laura (last edited Jun 09, 2008 12:03PM) (new)

Laura Ok, even though it's not good-bad, I am totally reading this.

All those 70s teen hooker stories, btw, were replete with the overdetermined pimp names. IIRC, in one of the TV movies of week about the runaways forced into prostitution (the one where Linda Purl was the girl and I think poor Cleavon Little was stuck playing the pimp), the guy's name was "Comfort." Oy.

message 2: by Holly (new)

Holly I would swear I read this book, though I don't remember a lick of it.

Melina Oh my god, the badness of this book just came FLOODING back to me. I had completely blocked it out.

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