Looking GlassBy MOLLY FLUTE (Dell; 1976)

A novelization of the seventies porn flick THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS-although perhaps a more accurate description would be a novel based on themes from THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, as the text departs from the flick in several key aspects.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, directed and co-scripted by Jonas Middleton, was pretty flimsy from a narrative standpoint, being about Catherine, a rich heiress whose compulsive masturbation conjures up a sex demon who eventually drags her–literally–to Hell. Author “Molly Flute” (actually Eileen Lottman) runs riot with the material, fleshing out a backstory about Catherine’s father molesting her at a young age, and also those of Catherine’s servants, an incestuous brother-sister duo, and her daughter Jennifer–upon whom Catherine demonstrates a decidedly unorthodox version of motherly affection, thus ensuring that Jen is certain to grow up just like mommy. Not to worry, though, because Catherine more than gets her comeuppance in the final pages, set in an especially sordid Hell-scape in which, among countless other indignities, “she experienced, for the first time since her birth, the distinct feeling of being unattractive.”

Catherine’s narcissistic bent and self-destructive behavior are consistent with the demeanor of real-life incest victims, and dramatized in unblinking fashion by Eileen Lottman, who is nonetheless straightjacketed by the exceedingly dumb script she’s tasked with adapting–but I wouldn’t want to give this ridiculous novel too much credit, as its author’s primary concern seems to have been to make sure to include one or more minutely described sex acts in each chapter.

Still, the writing on display here is certainly above average for that of a fuck book (thus justifying its publication via the mainstream paperback outfit Dell), with some genuinely erotic passages and a depiction of Hell that’s as strong and disturbing as nearly any I’ve read. The result is a novel whose author, in contrast to those of most adult novels and movie novelizations, might have actually cared about what she was writing.