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Campus Sexpot

A Memoir

David Carkeet

Publication Year: 2005

She tipped her head sideways, her lips offering themselves to his. He remembered the fire those lips contained, the promise her kiss held. . . . In 1962 David Carkeet's drowsy hometown of Sonora, California, snapped awake at the news that it had inspired a smutty potboiler titled Campus Sexpot. Before leaving town on short notice, the novel's author had been an English teacher at the local high school, where Carkeet was a hormone-saturated sophomore. Leaving was a good idea, it turned out, for most of the characters in Campus Sexpot had been modeled after Sonora's citizens.

Carkeet uproariously recaptures his stunned, youthful reaction to the novel's sleazy take on his hometown. The innocent nowhere burg where he despaired of ever getting any "action" became, in the pages of Campus Sexpot, a sink of iniquity echoing with "animal cries of delight." Blood pounded, dams of passion broke, and marriages and careers--not to mention the basics of good writing--went straight to hell.

As Carkeet relates his own romantic fumblings to the novel's clumsy twists and turns, he also evokes the urgently hushed atmosphere in which the book circulated among friends and neighbors. Eventually, Carkeet stumbles into adulthood, where he discovers a truer definition of manhood than the one in the pages of the pulp fiction of his youth. A wry look at middle-class sexual mores and a witty appreciation of the art of the hack novel, Carkeet's memoir is, above all, a poignant and hilarious coming-of-age story sure to revive our own bittersweet teenage memories.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction


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p. vii

I would like to thank the early readers of this memoir for their suggestions and support: Barbara Carkeet, Laurie Carkeet, Anne Carkeet, Carole Carlson, Ross Carkeet Jr., John Dalton, Roger Hart, Gwen Hart, Gerry Corneau, and Jessica Corneau. For enriching my memories of these events with their own, I give special thanks to Roger Francis...

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pp. 1-11

Linda Franklin had not been to bed with every boy in the junior college of Wattsville, but at nineteen she had known physical intimacy with a high percentage of those boys who knew enough to appreciate her amply endowed body. As first sentences go, it’s a good...

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pp. 12-22

Nelda Kaufield greeted Don with, “You’re late,” when he walked in the front door. Her tone was harsh, nasty. She was a trim, slender woman, dressed in a faultless suit, her make-up perfect. She offered no warmth. “It’s almost as though you

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pp. 23-33

The following afternoon, when Linda stopped by his desk, Don said, “Can you baby sit for me again tonight?” Don adheres to the view once solemnly expressed to me by a college roommate: “Dave, never pass up...

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pp. 34-45

“May I speak to you for a moment, Mr. Kaufield?” Bill Alleyn’s rich baritone voice broke in on the bitter thoughts Don Kaufi eld was thinking as he watched Linda Franklin leave the classroom with Vern Tolliver. For the past three weeks, Linda had ignored Don. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Who the hell is Bill Alleyn?” Bill was introduced...

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pp. 46-54

The facts of life as first told to me: Source: Alex Neumann, age 11 My age: 11 Place: On the roof of my clubhouse The Facts: “The man puts his thing inside the woman’s hole and goes.” I was appalled, yes, but I accepted it. I knew it would be something like this. But why? I had to ask. Why would the man piss inside the woman? Alex said, “Be...

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pp. 55-65

Let’s go back to the Friday-night dance for a moment. I attended every one of these after-game affairs over a four-year period, but I never gave any thought to the faculty chaperones or their conversations. I should have, judging from...

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pp. 66-75

What is a small town? Let’s turn to the local newspaper for an answer — the Union Democrat, est. 1854. We’ll pick a date and see what tendrils the stories send out. January 4, 1962, is a good one, for in that issue’s Campus Letter

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pp. 76-87

In Campus Sexpot, there are no magazines or newspapers. In Campus Sexpot, there is no money. In Campus Sexpot, there are no sports. Porn happens in a vacuum. Just as sexual arousal chases all other considerations from the mind, a writer with sex as his subject neglects the rest of human experience...

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pp. 88-98

There is no teaching in Campus Sexpot. This surprises me since Koby evidently worked hard at it. Many former students remember him positively, talking about his classroom enthusiasm and his knowledge of literature. On one weekend he drove a group of seniors to U.C. Davis for a reading enrichment program, so that they could hear university professors lecture on Henry James and Joseph Conrad. One...

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pp. 99-108

When Bill Alleyn entered Campus Sexpot and sprinkled virtue dust all over the place, those readers who asked, “Does this mean no more good parts?” were right to be concerned. Linda’s rape in the chapter immediately following her date with Bill is certainly not a good part. In the next chapter...

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pp. 109-121

“Just Wondering,” says the headline of a light piece in the Sonora High Wildcat of February 17, 1961. Among the whimsical questions posed in the article is “Just wondering who’s sorry that Mr. Koby left.” This could be a lament (He brought Beowulf to life!) or a Koby-neutral question for...

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pp. 132-148

“The boy wants to be a minister and he doesn’t give a damn about people.” Judge Carkeet handed down this opinion early in my college days, when I was considering this calling. He spoke the words to my brother, who waited several...

E-ISBN-13: 9780820330761
E-ISBN-10: 0820330760
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820327556
Print-ISBN-10: 0820327557

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction
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OCLC Number: 156909570
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Campus Sexpot

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Sonora (Calif.) -- Social life and customs.
  • Fiction -- Authorship.
  • Novelists, American -- 20th century -- Biography.
  • Carkeet, David -- Homes and haunts -- California -- Sonora.
  • Carkeet, David -- Childhood and youth.
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