Metro Times gets plenty of unsolicited books in the mail each week, but a recent package caught our eye. Inside was a series of books written in the style of a children’s alphabet book depicting sexual terms from A to Z — or “ass” to “zipper sex.”
The series, A A’int Always for Apple: An Erotic Alphabet Book, was written and conceived by Char Jay, a metro Detroit woman who says she’s on a mission to try to help combat adult illiteracy, especially among men.
“My target audience is the young urban male, because a lot of them fall by the wayside,” she tells Metro Times by phone.
She adds, “I’m trying to trick them into reading by piquing their interest.”
A recent report by the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative at Michigan State University found a widening gap in third-grade reading test scores in the state, with Black students and students from low-income households scoring lower than white students or students from upper-income households.
Jay says the books will appeal to people who can already read, too. She says she got the idea for them after asking five friends if they knew the term “fellatio.” Only one did, and none knew how to spell it.
“My tagline for Volume One was ‘Whether you can read or not, you will learn something,’” she says.
Some of the words are pretty big, like “erogenous zone” and “nymphomaniac.” But Jay breaks them down phonetically, and they’re accompanied by graphic illustrations depicting them. Jay says the illustrations were drawn by an artist from Venezuela who she connected with on the online freelance marketplace Fiverr during the COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020.
There’s already a Part 2, and, due to some sort of dispute with her publisher, a revised “Part 2 ¼.” Part 3 and 4 are also in the works, Jay says.
“My Volume 3 will be A Ain’t Always for Apple: Rough and Raunchy,” she says. “I’m going to kind of take it to the next level.”
Jay says she’s looking for a publicist to help her promote the books. So far, feedback has been positive, she adds, although some have labeled them as obscene.
“Someone did ask me, ‘Well, would you want your grandson or your son, and they were 17 or 18, to read this?’” Jay says. “If he was having sex and he didn’t know how to read, and he was doing the things that are in this book — absolutely!”
She acknowledges that her books won’t solve the illiteracy problem, but hopes they can at least help.
“It’s not a be-all, cure-all,” she says. “It’s just to start them on their learning to read journey.”
The books are available to purchase on Amazon.
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