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BUtterfield 8 (Modern Library Classics) by…

BUtterfield 8 (Modern Library Classics) (original 1935; edition 2003)

by John O'Hara (Author)

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5981124,790 (3.42)24
Title:BUtterfield 8 (Modern Library Classics)
Authors:John O'Hara (Author)
Info:Modern Library (2003), 228 pages
Collections:Your library

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BUtterfield 8: A Novel by John O'Hara (1935)



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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
The book wasn't really that bad, but it is getting a 1 star review from me for the reckless use of "irregardless." Might as well have been nails going down a chalkboard!!! ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
In many ways "BUtterfield 8" reminds me of the 1920s pulp fiction. The plot is fast-paced, the characters are fast-talking, and the primary character Gloria Wandrous is what used to be referred to as a “fast chippie”. The story jumps from character to character, in tawdry locations like the back seat of a taxi cab, cheap hotel bedrooms, and more often than not, mid-Manhattan speakeasies where Gloria hangs out to pick up a man for the night.

Pity the man that falls in love with Gloria. She is young, beautiful, and every man’s dream of the perfect woman. And she’s not in it for the money. She just loves men… a large variety of men. And in turn, they all love her. Get in line fellas!

As "BUtterfield 8" begins, Miss Wandrous is waking up in a strange man’s apartment and realizes it’s not a bachelor pad. This guy is married- with children. Nothing new in the general scheme of her life, but she finds herself there alone and realizes the guy has gone off to work and his family must be away for the week-end. And with her evening dress of the night before ruined in the throes of passion, Gloria helps herself to the wife’s beautiful full-length mink coat.

This sets off a chain of events that keep the reader in suspense until the very last page. BUtterfield 8 is certainly not intellectual literature, but it was a best seller in it’s time and is an American classic. O’Hara wrote BUtterfield 8 in 1935 and it was made into a movie in 1960 starring Elizabeth Taylor and her scandalously new husband- Eddie Fisher- who she literally stole from her best girl-friend Debbie Reynolds. Ironically, Eddie’s role in the movie was as Gloria’s only male platonic friend... not “Mr. married man who’s wife has been robbed of a valuable mink coat.”

O’Hara excels at writing realistic dialogue and uses it to build his characters into colorful, dynamic individuals. His biggest weakness is the abrupt conclusion of his novels. It seems once the main event of the plot is over, he’s in a real hurry to wind it up and has a habit of leaving a lot of unanswered questions.

By the way, the capital BU in Butterfield stands for those old fashioned 1930s rotary dial phone numbers that could be as small as 3 digits- in this case B (as in 2) and U (as in 8)- always described with some clever name like Butterfield. Gloria’s phone number was BU-8.

"Butterfield 8" is a relic from the past written purely for entertainment- candy for the brain, indeed. ( )
1 vote LadyLo | Mar 20, 2018 |
"On this Sunday morning in May, this girl who later was to be the cause of a sensation in New York, awoke much too early for her night before...."

Set in the early 1930's in New York City, this is the story of the downfall of "party girl" Gloria Wondrous. After a night in his apartment with her married lover Weston Liggett, Gloria awakens alone and finds her evening dress torn. She takes off in her slip with Liggett's wife's mink coat covering her.

We learn Gloria's history, from a childhood in which she was sexually abused. She's promiscuous and conniving, using her sexuality to gain power, but she is not unsympathetic. The novel is permeated with the atmosphere of New York City during the Depression, and during prohibition--there are speakeasies, and unspoken class distinctions, and prejudice against Jews. You know it can't end well.

I enjoyed this book, and would like to read more by O'Hara, who Fran Liebowitz describes as "the real F. Scott Fitzgerald."


3 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Dec 18, 2017 |
An interesting book that tells the tale of Gloria Wandrous and her life. The time is 1930, post stock market crash, the depression is looming and speakeasies are the place to be. Gloria is a young woman who the narrator describes would have been a flapper had she been born a mere ten years earlier.

This is a sad tale, no one seems particularly happy or successful. There are people with money, but there are also men cheating on their wives, getting beaten up in bars, a high probability of alcoholism...Ahh, New York City in the 1930s.

Definitely an interesting read! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Complex exploration of the life of a young woman who chooses a life of sexual freedom in the 1930s. Through a kaleidoscopic mixture of the kinds of techniques that novelists were exploring in the first third of the century (flash backs, quick cross cuts from scene to scene, stream of consciousness) O'Hara turns what could have been a sensationalistic shocker into a complicated psychological story. While largely sympathetic to the Gloria in her complicated relationship to sexuality and the men in her life, the conventions of the period require retribution, which comes horribly and gruesomely in the end. ( )
1 vote sjnorquist | Jul 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John O'Haraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bruccoli, Matthew J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Note that the title refers to a telephone exchange, so the "u" is properly capitalized in the Canonical Title as BUtterfield.
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Book description
A story of hookers and wealthy alcoholics in early 1930s New York city, and the self-destructive lives they lead.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812966988, Paperback)

A bestseller upon its publication in 1935, BUtterfield 8 was inspired by a news account of the discovery of the body of a beautiful young woman washed up on a Long Island beach. Was it an accident, a murder, a suicide? The circumstances of her death were never resolved, but O’Hara seized upon the tragedy to imagine the woman’s down-and-out life in New York City in the early 1930s.

“O’Hara understood better than any other American writer how class can both reveal and shape character,” Fran Lebowitz writes in her Introduction. With brash honesty and a flair for the unconventional, BUtterfield 8 lays bare the unspoken and often shocking truths that lurked beneath the surface of a society still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression. The result is a masterpiece of American fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:04 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"A bestseller upon its publication in 1935, BUtterfield 8 was inspired by a news account of the discovery of the body of a beautiful young woman washed up on a Long Island beach. Was it an accident, a murder, a suicide? The circumstances of her death were never resolved, but O'Hara seized upon the tragedy to imagine the woman's down-and-out life in New York City in the early 1930s."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Average: (3.42)
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