[Reading] ➹ Ten North Frederick By John O'Hara – Writerscompany.co.uk

Ten North Frederick I came to this novel having seen the 1957 film version and being intrigued with the film and wondering how faithful it was to the novel I was surprised to find that the core of the film was not the main body of the novel, but only covered the final thirty pages or so Yet this was no disappointment I d not read O Hara before, but I will readThis is a rather wonderful novel encompassing decades in the life of the central figure, Joe Chapin, a well to do Pennsylvania lawyer The novel, to I came to this novel having seen the 1957 film version and being intrigued with the film and wondering how faithful it was to the novel I was surprised to find that the core of the film was not the main body of the novel, but only covered the final thirty pages or so Yet this was no disappointment I d not read O Hara before, but I will readThis is a rather wonderful novel encompassing decades in the life of the central figure, Joe Chapin, a well to do Pennsylvania lawyer The novel, told in one 390 page chapter and one 18 page one, skips around chronologically, but always fluidly, organically, as if the characters and time periods were taking turns with the story It is filled with rich characters, some spectacular writing, and sometimes that writing reaches the level of magnificence It is filled with insights into the wealthy of a middling sized city in the first half of the twentieth century, and some of O Hara s descriptions of political thought could have been written today In the end, it made me care deeply about the sort of man one might not particularly care for It is a real work of art, expressed with a wry poetry and an unblinking eye This Is The Story Of A Family Of The Best People, Living In Gibbsville, Pa Three Generations Of The Chapin Family Are Portrayed With Intimacy And Uncompromising Clarity Many Other People At All Levels Of The Social Ladder Are Portrayed As Well, And What They Do And Say To One Another Is Often Shocking I finished 10 North Frederick 1956 this morning on the train to work, and I have mixed emotions about this novel On the one hand, it is very much a John O Hara plot with his penchant for sparkling colloquial dialog among its many characters It is a novel set in his fictional Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, modeled after his own hometown of Pottsville On the other hand, for a novel that was awarded the National Book Award in 1956 my birth year , I felt that the primary protagonist, Joe Chapin, wa I finished 10 North Frederick 1956 this morning on the train to work, and I have mixed emotions about this novel On the one hand, it is very much a John O Hara plot with his penchant for sparkling colloquial dialog among its many characters It is a novel set in his fictional Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, modeled after his own hometown of Pottsville On the other hand, for a novel that was awarded the National Book Award in 1956 my birth year , I felt that the primary protagonist, Joe Chapin, was really pretty one dimensional particularly for a fundamentally flawed individual who develops a desire to run for the presidency of the United States In retrospect, it may well have been O Hara s intent to portray Joe Chapin in this light, but I found myself throughout the novel to be muchinterested in Joe s wife, Edith, and daughter, Ann, as well as several other characters.Simply put, Joseph Benjamin Chapin was safe, maybe too safe Very much a methodical and entirely predictable Felix Unger type of character, who worked diligently his entire life to provide for his family and to keep his real feelings and emotions in check TheI think about it this may be exactly the message that O Hara is trying to convey through the novel that this behavior was dangerous and even unhealthy He contrasts this with Joe s wife, Edith, who starts out as much like her husband and who is seemingly only interested in social climbing in the small Gibbsville society Edith does begin to learn, over time, that life does need to befully experienced But it is through Joe and Edith s daughter, Ann, that we see a fully fleshed out character that has a genuine and honest lust for Life Ann, it seems to me, is the one that ends up teaching both of her parents the most about what life can be or should be about.Frankly, after writing this review I am perhaps coming to realize that there might just beto this novel than I initially thought, and that maybe I need to give it somethought and another read sometime soon and see if there isto the story and moral of Joe Chapin s life in John O Hara s 10 North Frederick For the time being, however, this novel gets 3.5 stars of 5.Finally, it is becominginteresting to me how novels are selected for various literary awards For example, when looking at John O Hara s prodigious output of fiction, I am mystified that novels like Appointment in Samarra, BUtterfield 8, A Rage to Live, From the Terrace, or even Elizabeth Appleton didn t receive any awards In my humble opinion, each of these novels is arguably better than 10 North Frederick, but what do I know John O Hara is a literary descendant of Sinclair Lewis If you like that brand of naturalism, then I highly recommend Ten North Frederick O Hara considered part of a novelist s job to be a social historian, so the novel is filled with significant and, perhaps, not so significant minutiae of life in Gibbsville, PA based on O Hara s hometown, Pottsville from the 1880s to the 1940s, reading which approaches tedium I say approaches, because a very engaging ironic humor is always just below the John O Hara is a literary descendant of Sinclair Lewis If you like that brand of naturalism, then I highly recommend Ten North Frederick O Hara considered part of a novelist s job to be a social historian, so the novel is filled with significant and, perhaps, not so significant minutiae of life in Gibbsville, PA based on O Hara s hometown, Pottsville from the 1880s to the 1940s, reading which approaches tedium I say approaches, because a very engaging ironic humor is always just below the surface One also gradually realizes the presence of an affecting concern for decency and the value of genuine love and friendship.The heart of the story is the life of Benjamin Chapin, who aspires to be President of the United States, a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth who learns too late that he has sidestepped the real sources of happiness.The book is worth reading because we re all confronted with the same danger, and O Hara brings the harsh and poignant reality of this situation home with his convincing, hard edged realism John O Hara s, Ten North Frederick, started off by reminding me of a nighttime soap opera, like Dallas or Knotts Landing, and quickly unraveled into a fascinating psychological sociological novel about a small town, Gibbsville, in the state of Pennsylvania during the 1920 s,30 s and 40 s A town run by the Republican Party, where old money was really old money dating back to before the Civil War, and the Jazz Age that F Scott Fitzgerald wrote about in New York never materialized in this John O Hara s, Ten North Frederick, started off by reminding me of a nighttime soap opera, like Dallas or Knotts Landing, and quickly unraveled into a fascinating psychological sociological novel about a small town, Gibbsville, in the state of Pennsylvania during the 1920 s,30 s and 40 s A town run by the Republican Party, where old money was really old money dating back to before the Civil War, and the Jazz Age that F Scott Fitzgerald wrote about in New York never materialized in this small town.This was the first novel I have ever read by Mr O Hara, but it won t be the last Truly, an amazing piece of writing An absorbing, compulsively readable novel which, at slightly over 400 pages, movesor less like lightning It won the National Book Award in 1956 and remains relevant in the way it explores the human and the American condition Thanks to Dan Leo, O Hara has recently become a favorite of mine I can t offhand think of that many writers who have quite the ear for spoken language that O Hara has He not only unerringly captures the way people really talk but he imbues that ability with the An absorbing, compulsively readable novel which, at slightly over 400 pages, movesor less like lightning It won the National Book Award in 1956 and remains relevant in the way it explores the human and the American condition Thanks to Dan Leo, O Hara has recently become a favorite of mine I can t offhand think of that many writers who have quite the ear for spoken language that O Hara has He not only unerringly captures the way people really talk but he imbues that ability with the necessary component of pinpointing essential character definition It is also often startling what O Hara understands about the recesses of people s minds As well at least in this novel O Hara reveals a microscopic understanding of the class of people he displays In minute detail, he knows how they think and how they operate Ten North Frederick may be a novel about a bygone era but it is not particularly dated Yes, we have moved on from certain ideas about propriety but, to a large extent, people today still behave as they do within the pages of this book especially when it comes to such issues as social advancement and loyalty the latter seeming to be the novel s overriding theme The novel s protagonist the rich and respected lawyer Joe Chapin believes that the road to his dream of becoming a US President will not be all that rocky if he remains true to what he knows about people But he s in for a rude awakening life particularly in the world of politics unravels pinball games that Chapin has not had the opportunity to learn TNF is populated with a large number of personalities Though the emphasis is on the moneyed, O Hara is adept at delineating various class divides, class styles and class maneuverings I have rarely come across a writer whose short stories have quite the power of O Hara s But even top notch short story writers can have difficulty elevating literary accomplishments from small ones to large ones TNF is, in a way, a novel comprised of a large number of inter linked short stories episodic snapshots that nevertheless solidify as one solid piece Oh, what a delicious book This classic novel, written in 1955 but taking place over a 60 year span that is primarily in the early 1900s, focuses on the three generations of the Chapin family who reside in the fictional town of Gibbsville, Pennsylvania The book has very little plot, but the characters are so deeply developed that you feel as if you know them from their likes and dislikes, personality quirks and even sexual proclivities You ll want to keep reading not to find out what happens, Oh, what a delicious book This classic novel, written in 1955 but taking place over a 60 year span that is primarily in the early 1900s, focuses on the three generations of the Chapin family who reside in the fictional town of Gibbsville, Pennsylvania The book has very little plot, but the characters are so deeply developed that you feel as if you know them from their likes and dislikes, personality quirks and even sexual proclivities You ll want to keep reading not to find out what happens, but to find out what the characters do next Joe has ambitions to be president of the United States, his hoity toity wife Edith has two sex secrets she s keeping from her husband and finally confesses one of them late in life , daughter Ann is hustled off to boarding school after a threesome sex incident in a delivery truck, which is only the first of her sexcapades that embarrass her family, and son Joby is a rebellious mess at least in the eyes of his parents Oh yes, and perfect gentleman and upstanding citizen Joe has a mistress and the one night affair is both heartwarming and shocking As I said, delicious It s a great, fun read This is a quiet novel of a social class, a family and a man on the decline The Chapin family has held a position of prominence, occupying the large house on prime realist ate, served by a loyal team of servants, holding places of great significance in the political, economic and social arenas of their communities As the novel opens in 1945, Joe Chapin is being buried with the pomp that a man of his standing deserves But as O Hara retraces the family history and Joe s life in particular, the f This is a quiet novel of a social class, a family and a man on the decline The Chapin family has held a position of prominence, occupying the large house on prime realist ate, served by a loyal team of servants, holding places of great significance in the political, economic and social arenas of their communities As the novel opens in 1945, Joe Chapin is being buried with the pomp that a man of his standing deserves But as O Hara retraces the family history and Joe s life in particular, the facade is dismantled brick by brick to reveal the rot, the decline that makes it clear that not only has Joe passed away, but so has this social order and this once great family This novel deserves its literary recognition The characters are carefully crafted, the turn of the century town is well portrayed, the brokenness is shown with nuance But this is a very slow novel focused on character development, including the character of the town of Gibbsville,than on plot And the pace is slowed further by O Hara s tendency to be a bit wordy In the end, the book dragged for me to the point that I lost interest That may sayabout my mind set than about the book Although it was a 3.5 star read for me, it deserves to be rounded up to 4 stars Who thinks they can, and should, be president Joe Chapin does Why He s born rich, went to an Ivy League College, now is a successful lawyer in high society and free from scandal He hates FDR, refers to him as our friend , and wants to run on a conservative platform to bring America back to its former glory O Hara tells the story of 3 generations of a wealthy small town family He explores wealth and social status is that all it takes to be president and gives a panorama of small town Who thinks they can, and should, be president Joe Chapin does Why He s born rich, went to an Ivy League College, now is a successful lawyer in high society and free from scandal He hates FDR, refers to him as our friend , and wants to run on a conservative platform to bring America back to its former glory O Hara tells the story of 3 generations of a wealthy small town family He explores wealth and social status is that all it takes to be president and gives a panorama of small town early 20th century life He has a reporter style, but it s his characters who share their observations and the meticulous details of their lives two characters reflect that not too many homes have speaking tubes any, a doctor describes the physical changes of cirrhosis, back room politics is not implied it s shown O Hara doesn t say a character is fat, he tells you the character s weight and height, he doesn t use euphemisms or hyperbole to describe a character s drinking habits, he tells you that a character had two martini s at lunch, three before dinner, and then 3 after dinner.and after a few years they became double martinis.O Hara s stories come off as history, and this gives the observations, on aging, society, relationships, the weight of a truth Annie Dilliard said how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives O Hara would expand that thought to include the small details offhand conversations, the hardly noticed trinkets that have been in our kitchen for the past 20 years, and ultimately these details not only make up our lives but our communities, neighborhoods, towns, and country The title refers to the main character s address, a part of town once fashionable but now becoming defunct..a full cycle that concluded almost 100 years ago We are not outside observers in these stories, we recognize we are part of similar cycle and these stories help us recognize our place.Sometimes O Hara as narrator comes off as someone who enjoys being too revealing, or revels in a reputation to shock But overall an enjoyable read I ve come to the conclusion that the safest way to live is first, inherit money Second, marry a woman that will cooperate in your sexual peculiarities Third, have a legitimate job that keeps you busy Fourth, be born without the taste for liquor Fifth, join some big church Sixth, don t live to long..Seventh, figuratively speaking, carry a rabbit s foot Ten North Frederick won the national book award in 1956 I touched on it in my blog It s a book I ve always wanted to read, but it wasn t easy John O Hara wrote it with no chapters, and long paragraphs What was fascinating about this story, was how well he depicted the characters in this small town and their political manoeuvrings As the American election of 2012 just took place, I found what went on back in the 1930s mirrored what went on today Poli Ten North Frederick won the national book award in 1956 I touched on it in my blog It s a book I ve always wanted to read, but it wasn t easy John O Hara wrote it with no chapters, and long paragraphs What was fascinating about this story, was how well he depicted the characters in this small town and their political manoeuvrings As the American election of 2012 just took place, I found what went on back in the 1930s mirrored what went on today Politics is a dirty business, and John O Hara showed some of its complexity As well, he is frank on sexual matters and my understanding is that he was taken to task for the way he did this back in the 50s, which were considerablyrepressed than the age we re living in now


About the Author: John O'Hara

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 frequently about the socially ambitious.http en.wikipedia.org wiki John_O


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *