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Memoirs Of A Mangy Lover Paperback – February 5, 2002

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Memoirs Of A Mangy Lover + Groucho And Me + The Groucho Letters: Letters from and to Groucho Marx
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The one and only Groucho turned his razor wit to the subject of love as well as remembrances of his brothers and some general "Marxist" philosophy in this 1963 volume. Groucho's observations are buttressed with illustrations by Leo Hershfield. You can never go wrong with Groucho.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"I read it with delight in one gulp." -- -Ogden Nash

"You can practically see him leer as you read." -- -Washington Post
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reissue edition (February 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306811049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306811043
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on July 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's almost impossible to read MEMOIRS OF A MANGY LOVER without hearing the distinct voice of Groucho Marx echoing in your head. The writing style in evidence here is very close to Groucho's unique manner of speaking that was so prevalent in his movie, radio, and television careers. His train of thought weaves dangerously, one moment he'll be discussing romance in the dark ages, the next he'll be looping back to earlier sentences, picking apart his own grammar or dragging a double entendre from the brink of reason. The narrative moves quickly and easily, but the reader should be careful, as speedy perusal will cause you to miss some of the subtler jokes.
The subject matter is very much a product of its era and its author. Most of the jokes revolve around how terrible it is to be married, how much of a pain one's wife is, and how much men like to sit around playing poker. Not to say that the anecdotes and remembrances aren't hilarious, because some of them are painfully funny, but the subject matter is fairly limiting. Fortunately, Groucho is clever enough to keep the jokes moving so that it doesn't feel like the same story repeated endlessly. The book is just the right length for the amount of material. Any longer and it would have seemed repetitious, any shorter and it would have been insubstantial.
Not surprisingly, my favorite stories of the bunch were the ones that included cameos from the author's famous siblings. Harpo and Chico do put in short appearances here, which would give one the impression that some of the stories that are written about here actually happened. To be honest, most of the anecdotes seem to have been fairly embellished, so to differentiate between what is reality and what is the result of Groucho's mad mind is a game that simply can't be won.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Fans of the Marx Brothers know that chasing women was a part of their comedy routines. Though Groucho didn't go "honking" after them like Harpo, he got the job done with rich widows (Margaret Dumont). In this book, Groucho tells about his own real life amorous adventures and gives us his priceless look at the history of love.
I'm a relatively new fan of the Marx Bros. and I absolutely fell in love with this book. Its a quick read, but extremely entertaining. Of course, there is plenty of humor throughout the book and I laughed out loud several times. Groucho's view of the opposite sex would be considered politically incorrect today, but it is hilarious (and I'm a woman!). He recounts a few stories about anonymous friends and their exploits, a few of his own exploits, as well as a few stories that aren't related to love but are still funny.
I recommend this collection to anybody that loves witty books (and isn't afraid of a few puns) and has an absurd sense of humor. Its a must for any Groucho fan.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Groucho Marx's Memoirs of a Mangy Lover, originally published in 1963, is a collection of more than 25 essays loosely themed around the subject of love or, more accurately, the pursuit of sex. Groucho writes about unfaithful husbands of his acquaintance and the perks of polygamy, about a potentially amorous evening spoiled by pigeons, about an act of martyrdom that involved his courtship of the homely daughter of a Mexican cook. But there are also stories about his brothers cheating someone at cards, for example, and about the impositions of unwelcome dinner guests.

Groucho doesn't open up much in these essays. We're not given a sense of the man behind the moustache. But to the extent that the author is humanized in the stories it is, well, a little strange: Groucho is such an iconic figure that I've never imagined him as flesh-and-blood human. It is surprising to think of him doing anything so banal as driving a car. The essays are interesting for this reason and because they are the product of a world that, some fifty years on, seems very foreign. Much of the book is arguably sexist, and it contains some racial references that wouldn't escape an editor's pen nowadays. More surprising are the author's casual references to trips with his brothers to brothels, as if such a thing were completely unremarkable, or his account of essentially ordering up a woman from an old acquaintance while in town:

"What I was looking for was a companion--a dazzling, pulchritudinous wench who would hang on my every word and eventually obey my every command."

The essays are interesting as social history, then, but I'm afraid they're not very funny. I did laugh once, when Groucho described getting lost in Bel Air with Clare Boothe Luce, then U.S. Ambassador to Italy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
Groucho regales us with hilarity in intimate snippets from his life and his career. You don't have to be a Groucho fan to enjoy this collection. You simply just have to be alive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brent Butler TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Memoirs of a Mangy Lover" is an episodic look at some funny moments in the life of Groucho Marx. Could he possibly have pushed beyond the bare facts of each story? Almost certainly. If you ever watched many Groucho interviews where he launched into funny stories, it was easy to tell that many were more comedy monologue than faithful recitation of events. Who cares? In speech and in print Groucho never failed to entertain and amuse, and this book falls right into his success in those goals.

Many of the stories may require you to remember or imagine what lifestyles were like back in the days in which these stories took place. In a very amusing story about a romantic assignation ruined by an invasion of pigeons, you must realize that at one point hotels were not air conditioned, and open windows on warm days was not only common, but required for survival!

I was actually informed of the existence of this book while viewing an old interview with Groucho, possibly by Dick Cavett, though its been several years so I'm not certain at this point. However, in the interview Groucho was asked about some of the books he'd written, and in his answers he mentioned a couple and told a story from each. I was amused enough in the interview that I decided to try to find the books ... now of course decades out of print. At one time that would have been a difficult and very random process, and I might not have even attempted it in the first place. With the advent of Amazon Sellers and eBay, such searches today are almost trivially easy.

"Memoirs of a Mangy Lover" is a light, amusing read, just what Groucho intended it to be. It's perfect for a story at a time each evening in bed before you go to sleep.
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