Ten North Frederick by John O’Hara

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Ten North Frederick

John O'Hara

Pages: 408 pages / Audio: 17 hrs 48 min

The National Book Award–winning novel by the writer whom Fran Lebowitz called “the real F. Scott Fitzgerald”

Joe Chapin led a storybook life. A successful small-town lawyer with a beautiful wife, two over-achieving children, and aspirations to be president, he seemed to have it all. But as his daughter looks back on his life, a different man emerges: one in conflict with his ambitious and shrewish wife, terrified that the misdeeds of his children will dash his political dreams, and in love with a model half his age. With black wit and penetrating insight, Ten North Frederick stands with Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, Evan S. Connell’s Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge, the stories of John Cheever, and Mad Men as a brilliant portrait of the personal and political hypocrisy of mid-century America.

Novel Gobblers Perspective

Carol's Rating:  ★★

Ten North Frederick was the 1956 National Book Award winner. It's easy to understand why, as the writing is beautiful. The diverse characters are given depth and personality. Even so, I found the story to be rather slow and dull. Born into wealth and taking on all the "proper" societal mores, Joe Chapin leads a rather lackluster life. There is the desire to live his life more fully and he has opportunities to do so, but he yields to what he believes is appropriate for the person others deem him to be. In the end, Joe never truly experienced lasting love, passion, or happiness. It is sad to think of what could have been but never was; a life lived with purpose and few regrets.

Happy Reading!


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