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Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir Paperback – May 13, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From AudioFile

Exquisitely written and eloquently read, Christopher Buckley's memoir reflects upon the bittersweet final year of his parents' lives. As is to be expected from a member of one of America's first families of prose, not only does Buckley demonstrate his dexterous knack for turning a phrase, he also recounts many of his famous father, William F. Buckley's, artful witticisms. Thanks to Buckley's wry yet vulnerable narration, this is an example of an audiobook bearing even more resonance than the written word. With superb pacing and an engaging style of storytelling, Buckley resists sentimentalism but occasionally hovers at the brink of revealing the depth of his loss. He finds humor in the most unlikely places--a funeral home, for example--and presents laugh-out-loud imitations of famous voices, such as Henry Kissinger. Delightful. N.M.C. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Christopher Buckley is the author of fourteen books, including Supreme Courtship, Boomsday, and Thank You For Smoking. He is editor-at-large of ForbesLife magazine, and was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence. He lives on the Acela train between Washington, D.C., and New York City. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Pub; Reprint edition (May 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446540951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446540957
  • ASIN: B0051BNURI
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on May 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I found this memoir by Christopher Buckley quite unlike any other book I have read. It recounts some of the life and a great deal about the deaths of his parents, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Patricia Taylor Buckley, which occurred within 11 months of each other during 2007-2008. It is at times hilarious; moving; and cuttingly sad. But mostly it celebrates their lives and his life with both of them. In the process it gives us some really inside views of Bill Buckley and his famous wife, and adds to our understanding of the human dimensions of this "Godfather" of the right. I think also anyone who has parents still living, or has gone through the experience of bidding "Adieu" to one's parents (as I have), will find much to learn from and identify with in this short book (251 pages). The book certainly sparked my interest in Buckley (not exactly an ideological compatriot of mine) and I look forward with great interest to the forthcoming biography by Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review and author of a fine book on Whittaker Chambers.

Christopher Buckley celebrates the lives of his parents, but also shares his mourning with us. He recounts with total frankness his disagreements and prickly relationships with both parents. Anyone who has buried their parents will recognize the combination of mourning, regret at not having straightened everything out (aka as "the talk"), and just the sense of being truly alone (not to mention, as the author points out, you become next in line in this endless procession of death). Buckley calls himself "an orphan" and I think we all fall into that designation. There certainly are very sad moments--I for one never imagined I would ever shed a tear for Bill Buckley but came close a couple of times.
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I usually cringe when I see that an author has decided to read his book. Writing is such a solitary task, and while research and other ancillary endeavors involved in writing are interesting, most authors cannot, for any length of time, read their own books well. This isn't always true, you have ones like Jean Sheppard or John Le Carre doing such a great job, others try. With Christopher Buckley, you get a good reader, who, because of his slight tongue-in-cheek manner sometimes, one wonders where I got that from, makes the book more humorous than the subject, losing ones parents, would normally be.

For me, LOSING MUM AND PUP: A MEMOIR stands as a testament to his parents, William F. and Patricia Buckley, and as such it is also a testament of himself: his parents were grand people standing on the grand stage of life, and while he has a certain amount of notoriety in the publishing world, he lives in shadows of them somewhat, especially his father.

With LOSING MUM AND PUP: A MEMOIR, their only son, Christopher, has given us, in this case the listener or reader, an excellent account of what he went through when he lost both of his parents within a year. This account, while perhaps too personal for some, is nonetheless honest and forthright. It speaks of the flaws of the author as much, if not more, than the subjects of his writing, his parents. And, what I find so remarkable was how his loss was so much more expressive when the words sometime came out of his mouth somewhat reluctantly, often skating to the edge of quivering (in the audio version), but never quite doing so, at certain points, such as reading his father's letter to others after his mother's passing.

I only knew William F.
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Christopher Buckley's "Losing Mum and Pup" joins Philip Roth's "Patrimony," Geoffrey Wolff's "Duke of Deception," and Alexander Waugh's "Fathers and Sons" (there are a number of other examples) as a masterpiece of the contemporary parent genre. Is there a happier way to grieve than to write a book?
His loving memoir of two difficult parents, the account at times hilariously funny, at times outrageously irreverential, draws his outsize father and mother, Bill and Pat Buckley with the eye of a portraitist uniquely in a position to know.
Both parents were at times difficult for Christopher Buckley. As his mother comatose lay dying, he said, "I forgive you." Much as Geoffrey Wolff lovingly said, "Thank God," when informed of his father's death.
What is so interesting is that the very style of his parents is reflected in the style of the portrait. The account is breezy but incisive reminiscent of his mother. One can almost hear her saying, "Pul-eeze, excuse me while I go out and buy a Stradivarius" in parrying some filial jeremiad. The outside-the-box thinking is vintage Bill Buckley. I paraphrase: "I wanted to tell each eulogist at my mother's memorial service at the Temple of Dendur that I had snipers hidden in the Temple with orders to shoot if any exceeded four minutes." Who, but a Buckley, thinks like that? It's what makes them so exasperatingly delightful. You can almost see the arched eyebrows. The ideation is of a piece with the father's famous quip during the 1965 New York City Mayoral election. "What will you do if you win, Mr. Buckley?" "Demand a recount."
The book particularly resonanted with me since, like Christopher Buckley, I am an only child who in his fifties lost both parents (mother first) within a year of each other.
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