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 seen.
The 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 quite familiar with and whose magic disappeared for me a very long time ago.
Like 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.