Book Report: Happy Days: Ready to Go Steady by William Johnston (1974)

This is the first book in a series based on the television series Happy Days. As such, you can expect that there will not be a number of icepickings.

Instead, the book gives me a weird timewarp sense. I grew up in Milwaukee when the television series was actually on television, so it (and Laverne and Shirley provided a bit of pride for the city (which now sports a Fonzie statue in a prominent place, if I am not mistaken). So I am reading a book about a television series from my youth which depicted my hometown in a bygone era. Needless to say, that’s some weird nostalgia.

The book is a thin, teenish high school thing about Richie meeting a new girl and getting his first job over the summer. Things progress until he’s actually engaged to her, and then they break it off and agree to be friends.

The book gives no sense of Milwaukeeness; instead, the Cunninghams live in some nameless and smallish-seeming town. Chuck, the older brother who disappears from the television series, appears, but the book focuses on Richie and Mr. and Mrs. C. with brief appearances of Potsie and Ralph Malph. You will recognize some of the names, but not really the tenor of the series, in this book. Of course, I might not remember the series well.

It’s definitely a book for people who, 35 years later, are interested in the niche into which the book falls. Otherwise, you’re better suited reading something else.

Books mentioned in this review: