Obtuse H. M. Pulham, Esquire Is Delight for Readers

In H. M. Pulham, Esquire, novelist John P. Marquand provides readers with one of the greatest delights open to fiction readers: feeling superior to the characters.

Harry Pulham is a genuinely nice, average guy. He’s not too smart, or too rich, or too talented. He does his work, avoids the spotlight, never intrudes. Above all, he’s loyal.

But is he happy?

After his father’s death, Harry moved back to his small hometown, leaving the girl he loved in New York City.  He married a girl he’d known for years. Harry and Kay have two children.

As his 25-year reunion nears, Harry’s college pals pop up again, especially Bill King. Bill and Kay go way back. Bill knows all about Harry and his old flame, too.

Readers see Harry’s marriage is on the brink of disaster, but Harry never sees the clues. It’s not that he’s just dense. He habitually thinks the best of people. He credits others with as much personal integrity as he has. To Harry, doing the right thing is more important than being happy.

Can this marriage be saved?

You’ll have to read the novel to find out.

H. M. Pulham, Esquire
By John P. Marquand
Little, Brown, 1941
431 pages
1941 Bestseller # 7
My Grade: B-

© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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