Thursday, October 20, 2016

NAKED CAME THE STRANGER

"Naked Came the Stranger" by Penelope Ashe is about a so-called perfect couple who live in New York. When the wife (Gillian) discovers her husband (William) is having an affair, she decides to pay him back by cheating on him with a variety of men.

If you are a writer, you have probably heard about this book, although you may not know its title.

In 1969, everyone was talking about this great new book, so I bought it, read it, and then wondered WTH? I thought it was worse than terrible, but who was I to criticize something that everyone else thought was the best thing to come along since "Lady Chatterley's Lover"? It spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, so it must be good--right?

To me, it was nothing but a compilation of sex scenes broken into chapters with a non-existent plot. I have nothing against explicit sex scenes, but I do need a story to go with them. This book was just boring. Disappointed, I shoved it onto a bookshelf and forgot it.

In October 1969, "Naked Came the Stranger" was revealed as hoax meant to poke fun at the American literary culture of the time. (Especially fans of Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls.")

Author and Newsday Columnist, Mike McGrady, organized the project on the premise that any book could succeed if it had enough sex thrown in. To assure the story line was inconsistent, a group of twenty-four journalists was chosen to write different chapters of the book. The authors were told to create terrible manuscripts that contained a lot of descriptions of sex. Anything well-written had to be edited to make it deliberately inferior.

"Naked Came the Stranger" became even more popular after the hoax was revealed and has since become a cult classic. All-time sales have topped 400,000+ copies.

Have you heard about or read "Naked Came the Stranger"? 



10 comments:

  1. I remember the title, but I was very young in 1969. I didn't know what it was about. Interesting that it was a hoax.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I felt much better after finding out it was a hoax. Since everyone except me seemed to think the book was great, I thought maybe I had no taste. ha ha

      Delete
  2. I have never heard of this. 1969 was a couple years before I was born. I think perhaps it's time for another hoax like this, but I doubt it would have the same impact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a time of social change and free love. I was a teenager. The same type of book would probably not even cause a blip on the radar today, but a hoax on a different topic is open for grabs. You should give it a shot. ;-)

      Delete
  3. I haven't heard of this, but I find it hilarious that they would edit good writing to make it worse and it still sold tons of books. Maybe we should take a lesson from this! Then again, isn't 50 Shades of Grey the same kind of deal--terrible writing but lots of sex? I have no interest in reading that one either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't think of that (50 Shades of Grey). I feel the same way about indiscriminate sex and/or violence. If it furthers the story, fine; if not, leave it out. But building a story (or lack of one) around sex or violence is boring.

      Delete
  4. That's hilarious!!! I immediately thought of 50 Shades of Gray, too, when I read this! Only in that case it was just that the author had a following writing Twilight fanfic and those fans followed her to bookstores. She could've written anything with all those fans and it would've been a hit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still haven't read 50 Shades of Gray. If it's like Naked Came the Stranger, I'm really not interested. Did it have a story line?

      Delete
  5. I have not heard of this book- but I find the story behind it fascinating. How crazy that it was given such praise when it was purposely written by so many different people to be "bad". THanks for sharing this story with us!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To me, one of the funniest parts is that some of the writers were published authors and journalists and their work required several edits to make them bad enough to be acceptable for the book!

      Delete