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The Complete Book of Aunts Hardcover – November 2, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: 12-Hachette Book Group; 1st edition (November 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446580740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446580748
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,455,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British journalist Christiansen (Paris Babylon) offers a curiously dry, encyclopedic look at the evolution of aunts (as in mother's and father's siblings) in this slender gift volume illustrated by Stephanie von Reiswitz. Starting with a short history of the aunt from her barest mention in classical literature to her finest hour in the Victorian era, the author moves into specific examples, from famous people raised or heavily influenced by their aunts (Tolstoy, Coco Chanel, Truman Capote, John Lennon) to famous aunts in literature (Aunt Leonie in Proust, the four Dodson sisters in The Mill on the Floss and Jane Eyre's malevolent Mrs. Reed). Alternating with brief bios of iconic and brand-name aunts are italicized testimonies by nieces and nephews of real-life aunts who've made a lasting impression on young lives, from places as far apart as Canada and Pakistan. Most interesting are the occasional in-depth accounts of heroic or eccentric aunts such as learned astronomer Caroline Herschel, whose relationship with her nephew defined her later years; and Aunt Jessie in Cecil Beaton's My Bolivian Aunt. Aunt Ginny, aka Virginia Woolf, earns a well-fleshed study, as does Aunt Jane Austen. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"'Christiansen brings grit, determination and verve to his subject... Give this delightful concoction to any and every aunt you know.' Times Literary Supplement" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By D. Foote on January 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I heard an interview with the author on NPR and thought this would make a good Christmas gift for my aunt - who's been like a 2nd mom to me.

Looking through it before wrapping it, I found a chapter on Aunts who seduce their nephews - which I thought might be kind of embarrassing for my dear aunt to read. I ended up giving it to her anyway - and just making it clear that there were aunts in the book that didn't remind me of her at all. :-)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Headin' Home on December 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I also found this book a bit eccentric, but occasionally charming. The section on John Lennon's aunt was particularly moving. I bought this for a woman who was my mother's best friend (my mother was an only child) -- and was like a sister to her, even through her long illness. When Mom died, my "aunt" became like a second mother to me, and loved attending me when I brought babies home from the hospital, etc. Many of the descriptions of the special role of "aunt" sounded very much like her. Like another reader who commented, I also found the chapter on sexual-predator aunts completely unnecessary and almost didn't give the book to my aunt because she has tender sensibilities. But I told her it was worth reading "around" that chapter.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tiger Lily on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While I have to agree with the reviewer above, the rest of the book is absolutely charming in its fond celebration of aunties, both factual and fictitious. For everyone who has an aunt straight out of a storybook, buy two copies. One for yourself and one for her. This is a rare compendium, as there's not too many books on the subject!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a clever book with some very interesting segments.
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