Books: Rich Little Poor Boy

THE O'HARA CONCERN by MATTHEW J. BRUCCOLI 417 pages. Illustrated. Random House. $15.

For a failed preppie from Pottsville, Pa., John O'Hara did not turn out so badly. He published 13 novels and 374 short stories during his 65 years. His Pal Joey sketches inspired the book for one of Broadway's landmark musicals. He was celebrated in New York and Hollywood and enjoyed an income of millions. He was even lucky in love: after the death of his beloved second wife,

Belle, he married another woman equally devoted to him and his work. He was also the most miserable, self-sorrowing author in the...

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