The Chapman Report Is Not Worth a Yawn

The 1960’s saw a profusion of headline-grabbing reports by sex investigators. Public reaction to the reports was a bewildered, “What kind of people study that stuff?”

Irving Wallace set his imagination to answering that question. The result is The Chapman Report. The novel leaped  number 4 on the 1960 bestseller list before falling into well-deserved obscurity.

George G. Chapman’s research team is in California wrapping up interviews for its forthcoming sexual history of the married female. A local women’s club has committed to getting all its members to volunteer as subjects.

Investigator Paul Radford falls for one of the club members, Kathleen Ballard. Her late husband had been brutal but she doesn’t dare tell anyone until she meets Paul.

Love blooms.

Paul’s fellow investigator Horace meets his ex, a dipsomanic lush.

Love rekindles.

A third investigator, fatally asaults one of the women subjects before driving off a cliff.
The suicide reveals to Paul that Dr. Chapman is no saint.

Respect dies.

With The Chapman Report,   Wallace caught the tide of public interest in sex studies at just the right moment. Today his disjointed, cliché ridden plot and sterotyped characters would not win him a yawn, let alone a perch on the bestseller list.

The Chapman Report
By Irving Wallace
A Signet Book, 1960
383 pages
My grade: C-
© 2010 Linda Gorton  Aragoni