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Our Hearts Were Young And Gay Paperback – March 15, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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About the Author

After completing a Bachelor's degree in journalism, Celeste completed her cadetship at a regional newspaper. She then joined the Queensland Police Service and served as a police officer for 14 years. She completed a Masters of Professional Communication in 2000 and began lecturing part time in journalism, public relations and professional communication, in addition to police work. Celeste became a full time academic in 2011 at Central Queensland University. This move allowed Celeste to complete her Ph.D. studies in the field of community policing and communication. Her research interests include organisational communication, organisational culture and policing history. In 2012, she was voted by the students as one of the University's best lecturers, receiving a Student Voice Award. Celeste is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From AudioFile

Celeste Lawson does a fine reading of this classic memoir. First published in 1942, it tells the story of two innocents abroad in the 1920s. Nineteen-year-old Cornelia Otis Skinner and twenty-one-year-old Emily Kimbrough set out on the adventure of a lifetime, first on the high seas and then in England. From ships running aground, to hiding a case of the measles to avoid quarantine, to unwittingly taking lodgings in a brothel, the young women experience one madcap adventure after another. Without excessive ingenuousness, Lawson keeps her reading on an even keel, allowing clever dialogue, comical situations, and witty repartee to carry the story forward. Nostalgia for a time when the most expensive item on a chic restaurant's menu was $2.95 will keep listeners engaged. S.J.H. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Pringle Press (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1406742821
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406742824
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,498,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jenni Grubb on February 6, 2001
Format: Library Binding
A long time hobby of mine has been to watch classic films, then scour used bookstores looking for the original work on which the films was based. When I first saw the film "Our Hearts Were Young And Gay", I knew I just had to find the book! Little did I realize that the European adventures of these two girls in the 1920s was actually not a work of fiction! There is even a line at the introduction of the book that reads "Lest the reader should be in any doubt, we wish to state that the incidents in this book are all true and the characters completely non-fictitious." I recently took this book on my first trip to Europe and found it delightful and funny. Great for those long hours waiting for and flying on planes. I must admit that this is the first book that ever had me literally laughing out loud.
Of course with any story turned into a film, it was kissed with a bit of Hollywood glamour and parts were left on the cutting room floor, but the story is truly witty, charming and fun and follows very closely to the book. See the movie if you can catch it on a classic movie channel! It hasn't been released on video or DVD yet. As for the book, the pages are worn and the dustjacket is ripped but it will always be in my library and I look forward to reading it over and over again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"We were poisonously young." - Co-authors Skinner and Kimbrough

OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY is a travel essay that appeared in 1942. Within, co-authors and best pals Cornelia Otis Skinner from Bryn Mawr, PA and Emily Kimbrough from Indiana share the experiences of an independent trip to Europe made in 1920 when young, footloose and relatively free of parental oversight. Skinner's parents were traveling on a parallel but more or less separate itinerary.

The charm of this delightful narrative lies in the fact that it's a recollection of girlish innocence, naivete, and silliness told from the perspective of a more mature adulthood that achieves an engaging, self-deprecating wit. Had the two travelers been teenage boys, I doubt that such a retrospective tale would've been conceived and told by their grown-up counterparts; it's just not a Guy Thing.

From Montreal to London to Paris, our heroines' misadventures are myriad. Their passenger ship runs aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Cornelia contracts measles in the mid-Atlantic and must be virtually smuggled ashore on reaching England. The two get lost in the maze at Hampton Court. Misdirected to recommended lodgings in Rouen, they spend the night on the top floor of a brothel, to the bemusement of the house madam, and never have a clue. (Teenage boys would've noticed, you think?) At the Rouen railroad station, Emily's overstuffed purse looses its contents onto the tracks just as a train pulls in. Bedbugs attack Skinner in the City of Light. Lunch at the Paris Ritz proves mortifying. A treacherous hair net ("Venida double-mesh") manifests itself during Cornelia's introductory acting lesson with a French stage idol.

Of course, not all of the mini-Grand Tour was comprised of frivolous mishaps.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book in the tiny public library of my small Texas town in 1946 when I was ten years old. Years later I hunted down a used copy for my four daughters to read and still more years later I'm hunting copies for my 8 granddaughters.

One of those granddaughters has her 14th birthday in a couple of weeks, and I came to Amazon today expecting to have to buy a used copy, not realizing that it has been reissued.

(OOPS! I see now a few months later that it's once again out of print. A used or remainder copy shouldn't be hard to find.)

So few books of this genre are truly interesting or truly funny. Most of them consist of anecdotes that leave you thinking, "I guess you had to be there". Not this one. Those two girls were disaster-magnets. I think only David Niven's "The Moon is a Balloon" has made me laugh out loud as many times, and it's a much longer book.

The writing is seamless and authentically witty, the line drawings are almost Thurberesque in the way they stay in your mind's eye forever after.

This is a true American classic. Don't miss it.
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By A Customer on January 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I purchased a paperback copy of this book when I was in elementary school and have cherished it ever since. Even though I have read the book many times, I still laugh at the girls' many adventures. It's a joy to read a well-written book, and these two ladies know how to turn a phrase. Even the most incidental characters come to life - from Miss Mary in Canada to the French madam who is befuddled by the fact that her establishment has been recommended by a publication listing safe accomodations for well-bred young ladies. Cornelia and Emily, lifelong friends, will seem like your longtime friends after you read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
'Our hearts were young and gay' was the funniest book I had read for a long time when I came across it some ten years ago. Cornelia otis Skinner's adventures with her friend, Emily Kimbrough were really hilarious. I had always wanted to travel and this book (amongst others) only increased my determination to achieve that ambition which I did a year or two later. I even had the opportunity to visit a few of the places they mentioned such as Rouen and the beautiful seaside village of St Valery. Because of this book I have ended up collecting anything either author has written. Cornelia Otis Skinner has an easy going natural style which relies on the ability to tell a good story well. It is the way she wrote that makes the stories so funny and witty and it was a real shame that she did not write more in this way. Her stories of Paris made that city come alive in such a way that some sixty years later, even with so much social and political change, the Paris she first kne! w of can still be seen if one wants to look for it. I would certainly reccommend this book to anyone who likes to travel and can relate their own funny experiences with these two intrepid travellers. The book is not a conventional account of a journey with long descriptive passages but can be best described as a quirky and silly account that is good for a laugh and which can bring to mind our own quirky adventures.
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