Even in 2015, interracial relationships are still likely to illicit an emotional response from members of all races. Regardless of what people say publically, many individuals tend to be secretly possessive of members of their own race, and are shocked to the core, when somebody close to them steps out of that boundary. This happens over and over again in the book, “Palm Avenue.”
When Brady comes to town unannounced he is desperately afraid Ashley might have hooked up with another man, and especially, a black man. He and Ashley grew up in the mostly white community of Colby, Kansas, and for Brady, the thought of Ashley being with a black man is more than he can handle. A passage in the book describes it: “What if she went with a black man? He shuddered to think about it. They would be all over her here, just like the basketball players were at the university. He thought he might be capable of killing someone. Just pummeling them to death with his bare fists.”
After Brady is ultimately rejected by Ashley, he has an unsuccessful encounter with a Filipina he meets in Barney’s Beanery. He is unable to rise to the occasion, because he is either too drunk, or too devastated from Ashley’s rejection. Shortly after that, Brady hooks up with Crystal, his first African American sex partner and promptly moves in with her. Interracial relationships are fine, as long as it is you that is partaking. Brady indulges in his biggest fear when it comes to Ashley.
Ashley tests the various waters too. She ends up having a short affair with a married Latino LAPD officer. Efrain is Ashley’s first Latino sex partner and she is impressed by his sexual prowess. Efrain, like most people who have sex with Ashley, becomes instantly and completely obsessed: “He was conflicted about what he was doing, but also getting a rush from it. He had cheated on his wife for the first time and he felt a little guilty about it, but at the same time felt like he had really scored. This girl, Ashley was the finest white girl he had ever laid eyes on…”
Ashley ends up with her first Jewish man as well, the agent Michael Levin. He is also older than her father. Ashley rationalizes her fling with the married Levin almost forty years her senior: “ Ashley felt like she had just crossed some invisible line that bordered on prostitution. She felt a little guilty about it, but at the same time invigorated. She was going to make progress one way or another. The man showering in the other room had the power to make things happen for her with one phone call.”
The characters in “Palm Avenue,” cross all kinds of emotional and sexual boundaries. Interracial sex, bisexuality, and borderline prostitution are all part of the collective Hollywood story.