The Boys Are
Signet paperback sixth printing.
Click here to read the first chapter of Glendon Swarthout’s bestselling spring vacation classic, Where the Boys Are, which spawned a huge hit film for MGM in 1960, Connie Francis’s #1 hit theme song, and too many “beach pictures” to follow. This is the novel which first humorously documented the annual migration of Midwestern and East Coast college students to the beaches of south Florida, which has since become celebrated every year on MTV’s spring break broadcasts from the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale and Daytona, with their drinking and mating rituals herein described.
For a radical change of pace, Glendon next took off with a bunch of his English honors students from Michigan State University as they motored south from the winters' chill to the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to soak up some sun, sand, suds, and sex. What he found there during two weeks of "research" became the basis of one of the funniest collegiate novels of all time. But let's leave it to the narrator, Merritt, who describes herself as five feet nine in heels, weighing in at 136 lbs. "My statistics are 37-28-38. I wear an eight and a half B shoe. I may not be feminine but I am damn ample. We all are. It is ridiculous nowadays for girls to be seductive. Companies go on about advertising creams and mists and gossamer underthings when what we should really be in the market for is stuff like electric razors and Charles Atlas courses and jock straps, etc."
Merritt further describes what her book is about -- "Why do they (college kids) come to Florida? Physically to get a tan. Also, they are pooped. Many have mono. Psychologically, to get away. And besides, what else is there to do except go home (for spring break) and further foul up the parent-child relationship? Biologically, they come to Florida to check the talent. You've seen those movie travelogues of the beaches on the Pribilof Islands where the seals tool in once a year to pair off and reproduce. The beach at Lauderdale has a similar function. Not that reproduction occurs, of course, but when you attract thousands of kids to one place there is apt to be a smattering of sexual activity."
Where The Boys Are was much more than a novel, it became a national phenomenon! And another top ten bestseller which was well-reviewed in almost every national publication, who then sent their reporters down to south Florida the next spring break to cover this annual college pilgrimage and beach bash they'd somehow overlooked. MGM quickly snapped up the rights and turned it into the biggest grossing, low-budget film in the history of that fabled studio. That really set off the media stampede. The title Where The Boys Are moved into the national lexicon; Connie Francis' theme song became her biggest selling record ever; and novel and film became the granddaddy of all the week-long MTV Live Spring Breaks to follow. Countless college memories were made from this classic. Just try it and see if you can get through any chapter without laughing. A Book of the Month Club Main Selection.
"This brilliantly funny book is not recommended to lovers of Florida, parents of college-age daughters, devotees of conservative prose style and Yale men. But virtually everyone else will enjoy it. Do you recall Margaret Mead's famous anthropological study, Coming of Age in Samoa? Well, this is Coming of Age in Florida -- with complex initiation rites, ceremonial costumes, nocturnal festivals, fertility dances and all. The important difference is that Florida is far funnier than Samoa. The moral of the book is best summed up by the slogan which was once displayed by a Florida real estate dealer: Get Lots While You Are Young!" Gilbert Highet, Book of the Month Club News.
"Swarthout's mastery of the contemporary college argot is complete, and he apparently knows what students think and feel. This quite possibly will be the funniest new book by an American this year. In fact, Swarthout may be the long sought new American major humorist. Like most major humorists he has a sense of social satire." Kansas City Star
"A comical and exuberantly exaggerated investigation of a subject most parents prefer not to think about." Time Magazine
"A perceptive comic novel . . . both good comedy and first-rate social anthropology. Merritt, the Midwestern co-ed narrator, is funny and appealing." Saturday Review
"The girl narrator of Swarthout's story is a sensitive and knowing, if highly unstrung, young woman, and this story is a striking one." Newsweek
"Where The Boys Are is a savage, brilliant, screamingly funny satire." Diana Gillon, Sunday Times of London.
"The author of the serious They Came To Cordura has written a funny, shocking, weirdly different novel that mirrors with devastating accuracy the thinking and mores of this younger generation . . . Swarthout's prose is fantastically readable. He has his people doing oddball things, spouting ridiculous beliefs, engaging in immoral frivolities, but the reader is caught up in the excitement, loving every word, every situation, every delicious piece of dialogue." Bob Powers, Huntington, West Virginia, Herald-Advertiser.