In 1928, someone was “a bad girl” if she had sex before marriage. By that definition, Dot Haley deserves her title role in Vina Delmar’s novel Bad Girl. However, the epithet doesn’t do Dot justice.
A friend sums her up better: “You’re an awful nice kid,” Maude tells Dot, “but you’re a moron.”
Maude got it in one.
Dot meets Eddie Collins at a dance. The first time they have sex, Eddie says he’ll take off work the next day and marry her. When Dot announces her wedding plans, he brother calls her a bum and kicks her out of the apartment.
Dot and Eddie marry. Within weeks she learns she’s pregnant with a child neither she nor Eddie is ready to have.
Dot and Eddie are both back-of-the-room, bottom-of-the-class slum kids. They’ve grown up among adults too worn out from grubbing for a living to even talk to their kids.
If they could talk to each other, there might be hope for Dot and Eddie, but they all they know is lashing out, profanity, and withdrawing into silence.
Delmar swings from Eddie’s thoughts to Dot’s, letting readers see the limits of their adolescent minds. The total effect is morbidly depressing.Bad Girl
by Vina Delmar
Harcourt, Brace, 1928
1928 bestseller #5
My grade: C+
© 2008 Linda Gorton Aragoni