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Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade Paperback – September 11, 2001
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"I reread and study Auntie Mame like a hilarious, glamorous bible where, among other wise lessons, one learns that true sophistication and innocence are two halves of the same glittering coin."
--Charles Busch, author of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom
"Auntie Mame is the American Alice in Wonderland. It is also, incidentally, one of the most important books in my life. Its witty Wildean phrases ring in my mind, and its flamboyant characters still enamor me. Like Tennessee Williams, Patrick Dennis caught the boldness, vitality, and iridescent theatricality of modern American personality. In Mame’s mercurial metamorphoses we see American optimism and self-invention writ large."--Camille Paglia, author of Sexual Personae
"Mame Dennis is the grande dame of grand dames and I, for one, am thrilled that she’s back among us. She is still hilarious, sparkling, and utterly indestructible despite the best efforts of time, neglect, and Lucille Ball."
--Joe Keenan, Emmy-Winning Writer/Producer for Frasier, author of Blue Heaven and Putting on the Ritz
"Auntie Mame is a unique literary achievementa brilliant novel disguised as a lightweight piece of fluff. Every page sparkles with wit, style andthough Mame would cringe at the thoughthigh moral purpose. Let’s hope Patrick Dennis is finally recognized for what he is: One of the great comedic writers of the 20th century."
--Robert Plunket, author of Love Junkie
From the Inside Flap
ssful when it was first published in 1955, Patrick Dennis Auntie Mame sold over two million copies and stayed put on the New York Times bestseller list for 112 weeks. It was made into a play, a Broadway as well as a Hollywood musical, and a fabulous movie starring Rosalind Russell. Since then, Mame has taken her rightful place in the pantheon of Great and Important People as the worlds most beloved, madcap, devastatingly sophisticated, and glamorous aunt. She is impossible to resist, and this hilarious story of an orphaned ten-year-old boy sent to live with his aunt is as delicious a read in the twenty-first century as it was in the 1950s.
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Modern Family: Nine-year old Patrick’s hands-off father drops dead unexpectedly leaving young Paddy in the new-age, swinging twenties hands of his father’s sister…Auntie Mame. Mame is a lovable socialite who somehow manages to be both flighty and genuine at the same time. She’s a rich, charming, free thinking, life-of-every-party type of gal. So she has tons of “friends” and a party every night, but despite all this she takes a genuine interest in her orphaned nephew Patrick…and comes to love him…and visa versa. The greatest irony in this books (which rings true in real life as well) is that Patrick’s father took very little interest in the boy while he lived…and after death had all these stringent rules and regulations about how he was to be raised, educated…right down to what religion he should practice…WTF? While the dad was alive he never saw the kid except at breakfast. Why wasn’t he concerned then about Patrick’s future?? So, long story short, Mame is saddled with the responsibility of raising Patrick, but is given no decision-making power…go figure. The bank manages his money…and his future. Its basically a tug-of-war until he turned eighteen. Paddy gets a equal amount of the sensible along with the ridiculous during the course of his upbringing.
The Love Bug: Mame is bitten multiple times…as is young Patrick. Some minor characters get into the fray as well. Most of the the ensuing romances are all kinds of inappropriate: May-December, Class mix-matches, unwed pregnancies…engagements, flirtations, elopements, casual affairs…you name it, Mame, Patrick, Vera, or Agnes have done it. But the melee that follows each of cupid’s arrows is quite hysterical…and for the most part no one is harmed during their numerous forays into romantic disaster. Or at least, not in any irrevocable way. LOL.
Minor Beefs: It was really nice of the author to make the effort to do the myriad of different accents, speech patterns, and whatnot….but it slows down the flow and gave me a headache after a while. And one other thing…the whole scenario with the Maddox sisters came off as a bit mean-spirited on Mame’s part. I’m not sure why she would take Patrick through that long wild-goose chase..especially with the perfect woman (Pegeen) literally right there. I didn’t quite get what the point was…Patrick was pretty much already his own man by then anyway. I’m really glad that the screen-writer left that part out of the movie. I simply adored all of Mame’s other antics. These are really my only two beefs.
Random Grey Matter: Keep your Wikipedia App at the ready (as well as Google search). There’s tons of obscure references and dated name-dropping. I mean, if I were alive in the fifties when the book was originally published I probably wouldn’t have to look it up, but as it happens my birthday fell a few decades later. Its great fun though because many of the offhand remarks Mame/Patrick makes, the parallels she draws, or metaphors she uses were quite spot-on once I knew who or what she was talking about.
Trigger Guard: A warning…Some ethnic slurs abound, as Mame and Patrick have a run-in with a horde of nasty anti-semites. There were also a few soft-core anti-minority attitudes, more indicative of the time period than any hardcore bigotry. Keep calm and read on.
Cliff Notes: There was a mild bit of unfinished-ness at the end, but I think it stopped at a good point. A natural end to this leg of the story.
The Verdict: I‘m lovin’ it. Bring on the sequel.
The circumstances of the adventures are ridiculous. The depth of the emotion are a constant current that sweeps you through the story and leave you, alternately, breathless, elated, distraught, joyous, grief stricken, and, ultimately, satisfied.
I worried, after decades of watching the movie, would the book hold up.
Dear God, yes.
I've passed a love of his movie on to my children and friends. You should do the same.
Most recent customer reviews
Rereading this classic brought giggles and some insight into the darker side of Patrick Dennis' satiric classic about a...Read more