According to author Kirby Doyle (1932-2003), Happiness Bastard, his only published novel, was "written on a sojourn that my lover post-wife and I took to New York in 1959-1960." Similar to Jack Kerouac's On the Road, the novel was composed on a single scroll formed from taped-together sheets of paper. The novel was submitted to, and rejected by, several publishers before it was finally released in 1968 by Essex House in North Hollywood, California.
Poet Michael McClure described the original manuscript of Happiness Bastard as "the most grotesque and hilarious novel I'd ever seen." Charles Bukowski called the novel "good stuff." In the only known review of the novel (Los Angeles Free Press, Sept. 6, 1968), Lawrence Lipton, author of The Holy Barbarians, the classic 1959 study of the Beats, wrote: "The most important innovative breakthrough in wordcraft since Howl, Naked Lunch, The Free-Lance Pallbearers by Ishmael Reed, Informed Sources by Willard Bain and Mailer's Why Are We In Vietnam? . . . Read Happiness Bastard by Kirby Doyle. Then, if you still don't know where it's at, the hell with you."