on 13 November 2005
Having read the two Auntie Mame books, The Joyous Season and the superlative Little Me, and being a great admirer of Patrick Dennis the writer, I was surprised and disappointed to find this biography such an uninteresting read.
The biggest problem I have with the book is the cloying narrative style. It has a terrible tendency to drift between bland admiration that borders on obsequiousness (how many times and by how many people do we need to be told that “Pat was the nicest guy I’ve ever met”?) and an unfortunate moralistic commentary about Dennis’ actions and behaviour.
Bad prose aside, it often fails to make much use of the material on offer, particularly falling flat when describing some of Dennis’ humorous antics, and rarely digs deep beneath the surface of the interesting issues such as the terrible depression the man suffered and his fight coming to terms with his sexuality.
Somewhere in here is an intriguing story - both sad and funny - waiting to be told, and perhaps in another’s hands it might one day happen. Until then, there’s always the brilliant novels by the man himself to keep one happy.
on 8 July 2004
It was facinating to read all about Patrick Dennis, his life really was as bizarre as any of the outrageous characters that he wrote about. When I was reading his books in the '60's they always seemed to get published around the time that I was going on holiday. I can remember so well sitting on the plane on my way to Spain rocking with hysterical laughter at the various exploits of Mame, Belle, Vera, Missy, GaGa, Tony etc. I really do think that it was about time that Mr Dennis was redicovered as E.F. Benson was a few years ago. I would love to replace my dog eared copies, and the tatty paperbacks with some nice bound volumes. Lets hope that it will happen soon.
on 16 June 2016
I fell in love with the work of Patrick Dennis from the moment of my first spontaneous chuckle. How appropriate that this complex man whose literary creation, Mame, has captured the hearts and funny bones of millions, should also have led a crazy life of heavenly highs and lowdown lows. Eric Myers captures this beautifully. I absolutely urge you to read, at the very least, Auntie Mame, Around The World With Auntie Mame, Genius and Little Me. You will be enriched.
on 26 March 2001
Back in the long distant 1950's, & early 1960s I first discovered the work of Patrick Dennis. Firstly, through the superlative film of Auntie Mame,with the matchless Rosalind Russell, and then after this the original novel, which I have read and re-read, so that my paperback copy has now become truly dog-eared. It has never ceased to delight me and still does I have read every one of Patrick Dennis/Virginia Rowans novels with the exception of Guestward Ho and What a Wonderful Wedding,and obviously liked some more than others.Particularly the two Mames, Genius, Joyous Season,The Loving Couple and the very under-rated House Party with the wonderful central character of Lily Ames.How firm a Foundation is not without its merits either. Despite all this voracious reading of Dennis' work I knew absolutely nothing of the author so was delighted to discover the biography, and at long last discover the real Patrick Dennis. It was interesting to discover the personal traumas and demons which he underwent,and when I felt that his books began to lose their style,coincided with problems in his own life. Mr Myers has to my mind truly caught the essence of his subject and the quoted extracts are well selected, although I was sorry not to have more about The Joyous Season- and the two wonderfully contrasted Grandmothers Gran & GaGa,but that is just a personal preference not a criticism. This book is a must for all admirers of Patrick Dennis' work.The elegance and style of his prose is sorely missed. Memo to Publishers: Start reissuing his entire works. They should be revered and treasured in the same way that Jane Austen, William Makepeace Thackery are. Patrick Dennis is a giant of 20th Century Humourous Literature and must not be lost. They don't write 'em like that anymore
ut that is just a personal preference.
They sure dont write them like that any more