Downs in the nightclub singing business and with his girl friends the mouses The re creates a character a time 1940 s and a place Chicago I enjoyed it for what it was I wish I could say that I loved this book especially since the last four books I ve read by Mr O Hara I considered classics but that s just not the case Pal Joey was originally serialized in the New Yorker and it became famous as a Broadway play a separate part of this book and the lyrics by Lorenz Hart are simply fantastic and later a film starring Frank Sinatra which I have not seenThe novel is a series of letters from Joey to his pal or occasional ex pal Ted signed Pal Joey He recounts his exploits people he has met pretty women who he is seeing who he affectionately calls mice and shady business deals he is involved in while making a name for himself as a nightclub singer in the bitter cold city of Chicago At times just barely surviving but always just a step away from being back in New York and on top The letters are filled with error littered slang which I am uite familiar with and whose magic disappeared for me a very long time agoLike I said I did not really like this book but then that is just my opinion It is undoubtedly one of Mr O Hara s most popular works but simply not to my liking humorous but ultimately tiring. His shady escapades run ins with the mob and easy affairs with the prettiest mice in the busines.
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Y enjoyed reading about the details of the musicentertainment scene of the era I love John O Hara This book took me forever to finish but only because it s easy to pick up again after ou ve put it aside It s in the form of letters from a shallow mildly self involved nightclub singer to his successful friend To get writerly about it it s an experiment in voice O Hara knows the character through and through down to what misspellings he ll use I lost my composer what sayings he ll misappropriate and what sort of transparent lies he ll tell Each letter finds the anti hero in a different kind of scrape It bears little relation to the film of the same name except for the main character s lingo and his hard cynical self involved line of thinking The taped on Hollywood ending of the film seemed oddly touching to me in retrospect after reading the ending of this book I ve wanted to read this book for many ears because I love the Frank SinatraKim Novak movie of the same name Of course the two are completely different except for one scene in which Joey buys a dog Skippy to impress a mouse This book is mostly about style the half literate newsy self absorbed mooching mostly joking style of Joey who writes a series of letters to his much successful friend Ned Joey s letters tell Ned about his ups and. On his luck but always on the make In his letters to a pal in New York he gives the lowdown on.
I read this book Gee whiz kid What a heel At the end there is a review of John O Hara that says pretty much what I would say to anyone reading this that perhaps enough time has passed that these stories will be novel again It seemed very modern to me despite all the era s argot Charming with a capital C Novella of the 1930s built from a cad crooner s letters to a pal in New York Libretto and score of the musical are included in the volume I possess The comparison of the one to the other makes for a temporary interesting contemplation O Hara meant this book to be a kind of social record of the lives of people who freuented and played in nightclubs and hotel blue rooms in the thirties The lingo the music the hard scrabble to make a living is all conveyed through letters written by a down on his luck crooner to his successful band leader friend in New York Not a likable character at all but very authentic If ou like old black white movies and 30s jazz i recommend this book Hip cool and uick readAs another reviewer said like watching an old black and white movieAlthough our hero struggled through some problems none of them seemed really that bad He made out all right and had some adventures to bootI can t decide if that s due to his optimism or people whine too much these daysI particularl. On the seedy side of Chicago Joey Evans is a poor man's Bing Crosby a wise cracking crooner down.
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John Henry O'Hara was an American writer born in Pottsville Pennsylvania He initially became known for his short stories and later became a best selling novelist whose works include Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8 He was particularly known for an uncannily accurate ear for dialogue O'Hara was a keen observer of social status and class differences and wrote freuently about the social