Steffie Can’t Come out to Play Because She’s Hooking on a Street Corner

I posted a while back that, after years of searching, I found a book I loved as a kid. The book is called Steffie Can’t Come out to Play by Fran Arrick. It’s about a fourteen-year-old girl who runs away from the doldrums of her life in small-town Pennsylvania and winds up in NYC hooking for a smooth-talking pimp named “Favor”. As a kid I was completely engrossed and felt Steffie’s plight. (Who doesn’t want to run away at some point when they’re a tween?)

I’m reading the book now, and as an adult, it reads much differently than it did when I was twelve. It’s kind of disgusting. The girl is fourteen and the things she does for her “Favor” are disturbing. I want to shake her and say, “Are you crazy? The guy wears gold chains and calls you ‘sweet face’ and wants to watch you put on pantyhose!”

But it’s hard to put down. The book is well-written and captures early-80s New York so well: the seedy hangouts, the run-down hotels, the discos, the bad furnishings in Favor’s apartment (“The bedroom had mirrors with black streaks like marble running through them. And there was also a tiny fountain built into the floor that had real water running through it.”) And it completely satisfies my love of anything hooker-related. I’m almost done reading it, but I’m slowing down because I don’t want it to end.

On Retrobookshop.com it says the book “springs from [Fran Arrick’s] concern for the fates each year of thousands of young American runaways.” Let this be a warning to any young girls who want to run away into the arms of a guy who has a fountain in his bedroom.

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2 Comments to “Steffie Can’t Come out to Play Because She’s Hooking on a Street Corner”

  1. Read this book as a teenage, required reading at that time. Back then, I could understand why Steffie thought Favor was helping her. Today, I recommended the book to a coworker who’s niece is 23y/o and is not as worldly as she thinks she is. it is with great hope that she reads and benefits from the book. To any young girl looking to escape, please think twice.

  2. I LOVED this book – read it as a 12 year old. It was not required reading, as a matter of fact, the book report I did on it being handed back to me to pick another book and my mother was called to discuss my choice of reading material. Nonetheless, I loved this book and have thought of it MANY times in the 24 years since I first read it. It did open my eyes to how the grass is definitely not greener on the other side. I certainly did want to run away during my tween years. This kept me planted knowing things could be much worse in the cold world.

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