What’s New Pussycat: A Book Review

Printed in 1965 What’s New Pussycat is probably no longer available in book form although the DVD remains available to purchase. I found this copy in a charity shop and remembering my Father reading it and having seen the film (years ago) I decided a bit of light reading wouldn’t go astray. It has since sat on my bookshelf for a few years before I finally got around to reading it.

What’s New Pussycat written by Marvin H. Albert based on the screenplay by Woody Allen is a farce. This made it interesting for me as I think it is probably the first farce I have read that isn’t in play format and possibly the first book that followed a film rather than a film that followed a book.

It is a sex romp set in Paris where the main character Michael has the unfortunate problem that every girl who sees him falls for him. He is desperately trying to stay faithful to his fiance Carol and to assist him he attends group therapy with Dr Fassbender who himself has an addictive personality and is stalking one of the female patients in the group. Naturally she has her sights set on Michael, along with several other women.

This was a fun read, very funny in parts and for a sex romp very clean and virtually sex free. I had thought we had started to be a bit more liberal in the sixties.

The story behind the film is almost as interesting as the book. Warren Beatty wanted to do a film about male sex addiction and wanted Charles Feldman to produce it. They argued over numerous things one being the actress to play the main female role – Beatty wanted his girlfriend but Feldman wanted someone else. They also struggled to agree on a screen writer but Feldman, after seeing Woody Allen perform offered him $30,000 to write the play. Allen agreed with the added proviso that he could write in a part for himself to play. As Allen’s part became larger, Beatty got grumpier and finally left the project altogether, not thinking it go forward without him. As we know he was wrong and it became a success with the music being nominated for an academy award (1965) and the screen writing nominated for WGA award (1966). Critic Andrew Sarris wrote, ” I have now seen What’s New Pussycat? four times, and each time I find new nuances in the direction, the writing, the playing, and, above all, the music. This is one movie that is not what it seems at first glance. It has been attacked for tastelessness, and yet I have never seen a more tasteful sex comedy.”

Would I recommend this book: If you can find a copy I’d give it a go. It gave me a laugh and hopefully would do the same for you.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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9 Responses to What’s New Pussycat: A Book Review

  1. oneletterup says:

    We could all use a laugh these days. What an interesting find – a book (originally) for 50¢ no less! I always appreciate backstories and thanks for this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So that’s where the Tom Jones hit came from? I remember the song from childhood, it was often on the radio but i did not know about the film, or the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew about the film and have seen it but can’t remember when. I doubt it was when it came out as I would have been nine and I doubt in those days it would have been permitted. I can remember my Dad guffawing over the book. I used to love watching my Father read as anything that amused him he laughed out loud and that would make us laugh. I tend to be a silent laugher when reading and I miss hearing a chuckle coming from nowhere.


  3. JT Twissel says:

    I caught the movie the other day and it was one of those seventies movies you should see while stoned as I believe most of the actors were stoned!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marsha says:

    I love that you write book reviews about books we can’t even buy! That is hilarious in itself. I can hear “What’s New Pussycat?” playing in my head. I don’t remember the movie, but I was still in junior high school, so that probably wasn’t an option at the time. I think I’d better rent it. 🙂 Thanks for another great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: What’s New Pussycat: A Book Review – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write

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