The first of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s Pat Hobby stories was published in the January 1940 issue of Esquire magazine. Pat Hobby is a hack writer in Hollywood, long past the glory days when he was writing for silent movies and being very well paid for it. Twenty years on he’s scraping a living getting a week’s employment now and again from a studio, mainly because people feel sorry for him.
His red rimmed eyes say it all, after having had several wives it’s the bottle which is the most important thing in his life now, and everyone in the movie industry knows it. In the past he earned thousands a week for his work and he’s down to getting $250 a week, if he’s lucky. He’s gone from having his own house with a swimming pool and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ronald Colman to living in his car.
This is a funny book but at the same time is sometimes unbearably painful to read, when you realise that the author is writing about his own experiences. He became very famous and wealthy, too young to appreciate how lucky he had been. The money ran through his fingers, booze, drugs and general high living had taken their toll on him. Early in his career he had been hailed as a brilliant writer for The Great Gatsby, and since then he had been trying to write something as good, never quite managing it. This book is well worth reading though, and it has a gorgeous cover.