Not-So-Gentle Ben

Shame Mates

By Andrew Shaw

190 pp.

© 1964

Publisher: Corinth Publications

Series: Evening Reader ER 719

Finals can be a tense time for any college student. Most deal with the situation by hitting the books and studying long into the night. Others might temper their cramming with the occasional night on the town. And then there is Ben Wellington, who copes with the stress by raping his professor’s wife.

To be fair, doesn’t really want to rape her. If she greeted him crawling through her bedroom window with open arms, he would be OK with that. In fact, she does seem to come around and even expresses some enthusiasm the third time he forces himself on her.

I’ve found that in books of this caliber, consent is something one earns through persistence.

After finals are over, Ben goes home to New York to see his adopted father Jerome and the new Mrs. Wellington, Laura (the previous one having died some years ago). Laura is an attractive redhead in her thirties who loves Jerome for both his money and his heart condition.

Her plan to inherit everything involves more than just waiting for Jerome to keel over. There are two other heirs to contend with, Ben and another adopted child, Carol. The two have sibling-rivalry issues (Ben tried raping Carol, Carol killed three of Ben’s dogs) so Laura decides to work this to her advantage.

She starts by seducing Ben and then proceeds to seal Carol’s fate with the help of Sheila Holt, a female Jabba the Hut who runs a Greenwich Village brothel and eats peyote buttons like bonbons. After a memorable party, Carol ends up addicted to smack and turning tricks for the enterprising Ms. Holt.

Ben, of course, is a willing participant in the shenanigans but unaware that Laura plans to take him out of the equation as soon as she gets a chance. That chance never comes for her though as she gets brutally raped by an acquaintance of Carol’s and then dumped at the doorstep of a defrocked doctor whose bedside manner involves a lot of stink finger.

Daddy Jerome dies from a massive heart attack while Ben watches and eats a sandwich. It would appear as though the young man has prevailed, but appearances can be deceiving. Professor Addison, the husband of the woman Ben assaulted in college, has come to New York vowing revenge.

After reading this book, one is tempted to feel nothing but disdain for the young Ben Wellington. But try to put yourself in his shoes. He had to endure the first twelve years of his life in an orphanage where he was molested by a housemother who wasn’t even all that hot. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m crying a river.

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