05 September 2006

Groucho and people who aren't me

Memoirs of a Mangy Lover by Groucho Marx (ISBN 0-306-81104-9)

Ogden Nash's cover blurb expresses considerably more enthusiasm than I felt having completed this work. The work gives the impression of having been stretched to fit a 200 pp minimum imposed by the publisher; the first 100 pages for me were filled with bah-humbug
philosophizing that seemed self-pitying to the point of losing any comic interest and not plumbing the pathos of the situation either. However, the last half of the book is filled with wonderful vignettes of Groucho's experiences over time, in Hollywood and Vaudeville performances, with his brothers and without, and with his endearing wife who surely was a
patient soul. My favorite of these was the tale of Groucho's visit to a Southside Chicago psychic, and how he escaped from this imposed visit with élan. Overall, I'd recommend this read - skip to page 97 to avoid the early tedium.


Anonymous said...

The Groucho book is great, but I really recommend his autobiography "Groucho and Me". The one you read is probably a bunch of leftover stories that didn't make in into "Groucho and Me".