Thursday, October 28, 2010

Speaking of Auntie Mame

Auntie Mame: An Irreverent EscapadeAuntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED this book!

I first discovered Auntie Mame while flipping through the channels one day. I landed on AMC (American Movie Classics) and saw this extravagant woman with all her jewels and fast talk. The Rosalind Russel version of the movie is one of my all time favorite movies. I just love it. I think it's because, in a weird way, I relate to Auntie Mame. After seeing the movie for the first time, I decided I was going to do everything possible to be like the Auntie Mame in the movie - charismatic, outgoing, crazy. But not a lush, I can't hold my liquor at all. And I'm still working on being more outgoing. Luckily, I've got the crazy down pat.

Anyway, I learned that the movie was based on a book. Finally at the last Friends of the Library Book Sale, voila I found it in the 25 cent book section! I just about jumped out of my skin - the best find ever!!

The book is fabulous. Auntie Mame is tame in the movie compared to her book personality, which makes the book that much more interesting. "The book is a work of fiction inspired by the author's eccentric aunt, Marion Tanner, whose life and outlook in many ways mirrored those of Mame. In real life, Dennis was raised by his parents." (, I think)

Anyway, this is a great book. Beware it does have some non-21st Century comments and views by some of the antagonists. But they're antagonists so we expect crap from them.

There is a lot more interaction between Patrick and Mame in the book beyond the jolly stuff we see in the movie. Patrick and Mame have their rough moments the older he gets. Patrick seems caught between Mame's outlandish and arty farty world and the uber-conservative community he is forced into by the trustees of his father's estate. We know he loves Mame but that struggle many of us feel - wanting to fit in but being individual at the same time - puts a strain on their relationship from time to time. We really only see this one or two times in the movie version - when Patrick introduces the annoyingly "restricted" Gloria Upson to Mame. I'll give Patrick some credit though. It must have been hard on him living the majority of his life in super-white-suburbia and balancing out the circus that was his Aunt's life, sometimes making him mad that he couldn't figure out his own place in the world and taking that anger out on Mame.

Of course, his character does have some snotty male pig moments, but if you can overlook that there is a great story to enjoy.

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