Pal Joey (novel)

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First edition
(Duell, Sloan and Pearce)

Pal Joey is a 1940 epistolary novel by John O'Hara, which became the basis of the 1940 stage musical comedy and 1957 motion picture of the same name, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart.

Pal Joey was written as a series of letters—or short stories—in the magazine The New Yorker in the late 1930s. O'Hara's stories tell of Joey Evans, a second-rate nightclub entertainer in 1930s Chicago, in which he meets and falls in love with the woman "Linda." In a series of letters to "dear Pal Ted" from "Pal Joey," he reveals himself to be an amoral, calculating heel whose venality is cloaked by an amiable persona. Joey's letters are written in literate but uneducated English:

Dear Friend Ted

That is if I can call you friend after the last two weeks for it is a hard thing to do considering. I do not know if you realize what has happen to me oweing to your lack of consideration [sic]. Maybe it is not lack of consideration [sic]. Maybe it is on purpose. Well if it is on purpose all I have to say is maybe you are the one that will be the loser and not me as I was going to do certan things for you but now it does not look like I will be able to do them....