Title: Something’s Got to Give
Author: Hargrove, Marion
Publisher: William Sloane Associates, Inc., New York
Publication Date: 1948
Edition: First Edition
Book Condition: VG
D-j Condition: Poor
Comments: D-j worn and torn. Edges soiled. Writing on front pastedown.
Synopsis: This is Marion Hargrove’s first novel and his first book since See Here, Private Hargrove. With the same gay approach to disaster, he tells the story of two young couples who, of their own free will, become involved in a radio program. Why they broke the pattern of their tranquil lives was a matter of personality – female personality according to both husbands.
Joe Dobbs and Chuck Bartlet were refugees from the world of advertising and radio, especially radio. They had saved a little cash and both had made a clean break. Joe was earning a modest income writing murder stories, and Chuck was learning to write short stories. They had homes in the country, each equipped with an indoor den for work and an outdoor hammock for avoiding it. They had cars, slightly battered but still mobile, wives and babies they loved, food in their larders, and a bottle or two for chilly weather. By and large everything was straight from the dreams of anyone who likes the simple life. Occasionally their wives spoke wistfully about “more security” and the high-salaried radio jobs both had turned down. But devices such as Chuck’s phony ulcer were as persuasive an argument against a radio career as anyone could produce.
Unfortunately, Joe’s wife Carolyn stayed in bed too long one morning and an idea came to her. It included Chuck’s wife, Betsy, their babies, and eight million mothers throughout the country. It would, according to Carolyn, be easy and would make lots of money for all of them. It ended with Joe and Chuck in radio, or at least with their being dragged, screaming, back into it by a pair of young wives who were going to do a show called Airing Our Children.
It appeared that Joe was to write the script and Chuck was to manage the program. Carolyn and Betsy were to broadcast from Joe’s home. They would keep the show simple, just a chat with the mothers of the nation about bringing up babies. Of course there would be guest stars (any glamorous woman who had a baby would do), contests and other complications to keep it lively. Carolyn said Joe could whip up scripts for all this in an hour or so. That would be all there was to it.
The program went over with a bang. It did produce deep-freeze machines and other luxuries, including a great deal of cash. But it also reduced the Dobbs home to a spiderweb of power lines through which a mob of engineers, electricians, and announcers constantly tramped. Before it was over, the country life of the Dobbs and the Bartlets was a mess of jangled nerves, neglected babies, chromium fixtures, and long yellow automobiles. Of course neither Joe nor Chuck could write a word. Their children bit each other, and their wives showed symptoms of genuine ulcers. The solution of this problem was, like the beginning, a matter of personalities.
Here is a lively story about four modern Americans, told with contagious good humor and a refreshing note of satire.