I think I agree with this completely, but I single this out:
John Updike, John Cheever, and Richard Yates may be famous for nailing mid-century America, and especially the upper-middle-class Northeast. But -- though his style is dizzy and satirical where they were solemn and literary -- Patrick Dennis was as acute as any of them. That's merely my judgment, of course, but what the heck: If a young friend expressed interest in this era, I'd tell him to read Patrick Dennis (and John O'Hara) before Updike, Cheever, and Yates. He'd get as vivid a picture as he would from the LitBoys, and he'd probably have a much better reading time of it.Remember: Auntie Mame was published in 1955, right smack in the middle of those oh-so-dour- and conformist '50s - and was a smash!
Then, among the bonus links that follow, is one to the incomparable Joseph Pujol (I'm not going to link to it from here, though). Do read about this extradordinary figure. I learned about him from his grandson Henry, who is a friend of ours.
Finally, right in the middle of this piece is a link to a piece by Chip McGrath about John O'Hara. It's a good read, though I wonder about this: "The O'Haras lived on Mahantongo Street, the town's fanciest address, in a mansion that formerly belonged to the Yuengling brewing family ..." Here is the house. Mansion doesn't seem the right word. The true mansions are on the other side of the street. That aside, McGrath's judgment of O'Hara's work is altogether sound.
But enough. Go read about Patrick Dennis.