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Big Laugh Paperback – Oct 1 1997

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (Oct. 1 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880015756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880015752
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 426 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
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Format: Paperback
This book started off really well. The first part with Hubert Ward conniving the people around him to make ends meet and his growing stardom in the theatre were all electrifying--O'Hara at his very best--but it all goes downhill after that. First of all, O'Hara writes in exposition in the beginning and in the epilogue that Ward was a heel, but I never got that impression throughout the narrative, and Ward even came off as rather honest, blunt, and down-to-earth. Second of all, his marriage to Nina Stephens was absolutely unbelievable; and I think O'Hara may have been reading a little too much Hemingway; some of the dialog between Ward and Nina were starkly reminiscent of several early Hemingway novels. And there were even two suicides, AGAIN recalling Gatsby. Overall, "The Big Laugh" is substandard O'Hara, but a pleasurable quick read utterly without pretension and profundity. As usual, O'Hara wrote brilliantly and never wrought a boring line of prose, and he was a speed reader's dream come true.
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Format: Paperback
John O'Hara wrote in several geographies: Gibbsville, PA; Manhattan, NY; and Hollywood. The Big Laugh is one of his Hollywood novels. In his entire body of work (and it is prodigious), I would put this in the bottom 25%. It begins with a nobody forging a career in hollywood by blackmailing the first person to give him an acting job. A weak premise not usually found in O'Hara's plots. It ends with a twist -- hence the Big Laugh. This is the type of novel that is only enjoyed by someone who is a diehard fan of the author. The plotting is weak; it's missing the dialogue and little details that are a hallmark of O'Hara's outstanding work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0ded2dc) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0c78d20) out of 5 stars O'Hara's Hollywood Story June 7 2000
By Common Sense ViewPoint - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
John O'Hara wrote in several geographies: Gibbsville, PA; Manhattan, NY; and Hollywood. The Big Laugh is one of his Hollywood novels. In his entire body of work (and it is prodigious), I would put this in the bottom 25%. It begins with a nobody forging a career in hollywood by blackmailing the first person to give him an acting job. A weak premise not usually found in O'Hara's plots. It ends with a twist -- hence the Big Laugh. This is the type of novel that is only enjoyed by someone who is a diehard fan of the author. The plotting is weak; it's missing the dialogue and little details that are a hallmark of O'Hara's outstanding work.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0c78d74) out of 5 stars starts of rocking, but dissipates Sept. 22 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book started off really well. The first part with Hubert Ward conniving the people around him to make ends meet and his growing stardom in the theatre were all electrifying--O'Hara at his very best--but it all goes downhill after that. First of all, O'Hara writes in exposition in the beginning and in the epilogue that Ward was a heel, but I never got that impression throughout the narrative, and Ward even came off as rather honest, blunt, and down-to-earth. Second of all, his marriage to Nina Stephens was absolutely unbelievable; and I think O'Hara may have been reading a little too much Hemingway; some of the dialog between Ward and Nina were starkly reminiscent of several early Hemingway novels. And there were even two suicides, AGAIN recalling Gatsby. Overall, "The Big Laugh" is substandard O'Hara, but a pleasurable quick read utterly without pretension and profundity. As usual, O'Hara wrote brilliantly and never wrought a boring line of prose, and he was a speed reader's dream come true.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0c78f48) out of 5 stars John O'Hara is one of the greatest writers in my reading experience April 24 2016
By Thomas Todd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John O'Hara is one of the greatest writers in my reading experience.

I cannot believe he wrote "The Big Laugh.'"

It is truly terrible and without any redeeming qualities that I could discern. For a reader new to O'Hara's work try "Appointment in Samarra,"
Butterfield 8, or "Sermons and Sodawater." His short stories are also splendid.

I haven't read "10 North Frederick."--yet. I am thrilled that Penguin has released a new edition. I also plan to revisit "Elizabeth Appleton"-the best novel I have ever read about the academic world.

I feel very certain these books will take away the nasty taste left by "The Big Laugh;" a sickeningly disappointing work if ever there was one.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0c78e4c) out of 5 stars Dreadful June 14 2014
By Robert Weir Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What a terrible novel. And I say this as an O'Hara fan, sort of. His stories are quite wonderful, especially the three novellas collected in "Sermons and Soda-water." And "Appointment in Samara" is fast, terrifically well-written, and bitter. Bitter, but not cynical. O'Hara wrote "The Big Laugh" from what he thought was some sort of disdainful Olympian narrative heights, but he's faking it. His dialogue is brilliant, his conversations are baleful. We see far too clearly his misogyny, his homophobia, his anti-semeticism, all drenched in that poor-loser snobbism he perfected. This thing isn't even as good as his door-stops from the Fifties he thought would win him the Nobel.

Fran Lebowitz says that this is the greatest Hollywood novel ever written. Ms. Lebowitz needs to get out more and read some Gavin Lambert.
HASH(0xa0c795ac) out of 5 stars A very worthwhile read! Jan. 5 2016
By Percy Dovetonsils - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this O'Hara book as any O'Hara fan will. And any fan of Hollywood will enjoy it too. We are taken back to a Hollywood that does not exist now and we are in for a wild ride of surprises. Lot of sex in it too, but remember this is not pornographic and consider the age it was written in. Pour a single malt Scotch and enjoy!


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