THE CHAPMAN REPORT by Irving Wallace


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Irving Wallace's second novel and fifth book is almost exclusively devoted to the sex life of its characters and is exceptional in one respect: its method is ideally suited to its matter. Into the Briars, an upper-middle class suburb of Los Angeles, comes a team of sexologists, on the last lap of their national survey of the sex habits of the American married woman. For the two week duration of the interviews the surface case of the Briars is violently disturbed, the sexologist team is thrown into convulsions of various kinds and the reality of the Briars proves to be far different from its carefully nurtured facade. The story is told on two levels, involving some mechanical gear shifting: the internal difficulties of Dr. Chapman's investigation team and the effect of the interviews in the lives of six representative Briars' women: Kathleen Ballard, a beautiful, cool, remote, young widow; Ursula Palmer, a magazine writer who is willing to go to extremes in placating her lecherous employer; Sarah Goldsmith, who, bored with her husband, has taken a lover; Mary McManus, a starry-eyed, vacuous young bride; Naomi Shields, a nymphomaniac divorcee; and Teresa Harnish, a supposed paragon of intellectuality who thinks of herself as all the brilliant courtesans of history. Before it is made clear to Paul Radford, the pipe-smoking hero and member of the ""team"", that Dr. Chapman is more interested in success than science all of the Briars ladies have confronted various sexual crises: Naomi has been raped by five men, Sarah Goldsmith has been murdered by one of Chapman's pathological interviewers, etc., etc. But in the midst of all the turmoil Kathleen and Paul manage to find true love. There's nothing sophisticated or subtle about The Chapman Report. It seems quite silly in fact (if it doesn't give Mr. Wallace away entirely) to be assured by one of the characters, after reams of sexual annotation, that sex is but a part of human life and love. The publishers are comparing this to Peyton Place and will support it with considerable publicity.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1960
Publisher: Simon & Schuster